Exploring the Architecture of National Gallery of Art’s East Wing

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The National Gallery of Art’s East Building, which was designed by I.M. Pei, houses over 500 artworks and has installations and sculptures that capture imaginations. Its roof terrace overlooks Pennsylvania Avenue and has the sculpture of a blue rooster, which can be seen from far-off making the East Wing of the museum instantly recognizable. Besides, the museum adjacent to the Capitol Building is worth visiting on Washington DC tours for its architectural highlights.

Artworks Housed in the East Building of the National Gallery of Art

The East Building has works of art from late nineteenth century to the present day, and exhibit floors arranged as per artists, themes, and nationality. What is housed inside the building is a spellbinding collection of contemporary works of art, which includes motifs echoing the sketches of the museum by I.M. Pei, and galleries with artworks by sculptors, painters, photographers, modern artists, etc. The East Wing even underwent a renovation in 2016, which helped to expand the artwork collection from 350 to more than 500.

The Architecture of the Museum Wing

The East Building of the National Gallery of Art has one of the most uniquely structured exteriors for any building in Washington DC. The front part of the building is as stunning as the museum wing, which was opened several decades after the museum came into existence. The renovation of the original building took place a couple of years ago, which coincided with the 75th anniversary of the art gallery. However, the layout has retained its original touch as it was conceived by the architects.

The American-Chinese architecture I.M. Pei, who is famous for designing Paris’s Louvre Pyramid, designed the museum as per a sketch where two triangles represent the East Building. The isosceles triangle, with two sides of equal length, has been the mainstay of the building’s architecture.

The ‘Multiverse’

The National Gallery of Art terms ‘Multiverse’ as a light sculpture created by Leo Villareal. Actually, it is a walkway inside the museum for people to move between the East and West wings of the museum. In other words, while passing through the concourse walkway, you come across thousands of LEDs, which create unique patterns that impress viewers. It is said that no two light patterns of ‘Multiverse’ are alike, so its uniqueness is best experienced in person.

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