Hirshhorn Museum Design Study

Washington DC, 2006
Olafur Eliasson
This project was initiated prior to the founding of Studio Other Spaces.

Commissioned by the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, in Washington DC, this proposal extends a roof over the museum’s circular plaza and wraps the facade of Gordon Bunshaft’s iconic 1974 building with an undulating glass ramp.

By adding a roof to the courtyard, the museum’s galleries are reoriented towards the interior, activating the fallow space at the building’s centre. The intervention also connects the Bunshaft building with the National Mall by modifying the existing sculpture garden to open onto a sequence of large exhibition spaces and educational and research facilities below street level.

The most visible feature of the proposal, the glass ramp, completes a full circle around the facade and opens up a new way of circulating through the building; instead of travelling vertically, via elevator or escalator, visitors transition smoothly, from floor to floor, outside the museum. As they ascend the ramp, the wavy glass wall affords shifting views of their own reflections and of the city outside.

Commission: Project study commissioned by Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
Location: Washington DC, USA
Date: 2006