Within our modern urban landscapes, buildings often serve in the realm of functionality and purpose. Often times the functionality of a building overshadows the architecture; the building serving as a backdrop to the usage of the building as opposed to a piece of art. The Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, Nebraska has set out to erase this stigma through stripping the museum of its purpose, housing art, and showcasing the building as the main focus, the art. In doing so, they have created the “naked” museum.
Fifty years ago architect Philip Johnson’s architectural vision came to life in the form of an opulent museum. When the museum opened in 1963, it was the most expensive building in the United States per square foot with a construction cost of 3 million dollars. The architect chose expensive materials such as travertine marble imported from Italy for the floors, brass used for handrails, and teak for doorways and doorjambs. The finished product resembled a temple like structure, a true work of art. As the art was placed on the walls however the beauty of the building was quickly lost only to be rediscovered fifty years later.
The idea of the “naked” museum has provided a lesson in appreciation and perception. As the Sheldon Director, Jorge Daniel Venciano says “Part of the reason for the exhibition is to shake things up a little, to get people to see the building in a new way instead of walking through the building to get to the art.” In my experience during my time at the exhibition, I found a new appreciation towards our contemporary skylines. So I invite you to do the same, take a step back and smell the roses, or in this case view the architecture. You will truly see the beauty in spectacular architectural design.
How will you create a new appreciation towards the architecture in your city?
Credits: Photos by Lisa Gran. Data linked to sources.