Where's the Front Door?By Frank Sherman (The American Institute of Architects)
I.M. Pei designed the Everson Museum of Art to be a grand sculptural object sitting in a plaza, surrounded by the forms of the modern city. He rejected the traditional notion that a museum needed to be a monumental container for art and decided it ought to be a sculptural work of art itself. This allowed him to design a building that could be experienced as sculpture.We experience sculpture in three dimensions by moving around it. Sculpture is meant to be seen from multiple viewpoints over a period of time. I.M. Pei wants us to see his building from multiple viewpoints, to move around it, and to discover its forms and spaces. He wants us to discover how to enter the building and be delighted by the spaces we find.
This building breaks with tradition. It does not readily tell us how to use it, how to enter it or what to expect. This building does, in a very different way, tell us that it is about art. It tells us we should look at buildings and art from a different perspective. It asks us to explore and question what we think art, or sculpture, or spaces, or buildings should be. It rewards us with engaging art, exciting spaces and a building that is dynamic, sculptural and beautifully crafted. What begins as a search for the front door becomes a journey to experience art and architecture from a new point of view.