Monday, December 19, 2005

In Memorium, James Ingo Freed

..."The most memorable aspects of [James Ingo Freed's] Holocaust Museum are not the polite facades. Rather, they include the brick towers stretching between Wallenberg Place and 14th Street on the building's north side -- in keeping with the red brick of the building next door but also starkly reminiscent of guard towers in prisons or concentration camps.

Whenever I think of this building's architecture, however, I almost always think first of the twisted steel beams just below the interior skylight. Or of the upper interior bridges, supported by steel but with glass walls engraved with names of particular people who were killed.

Steel, twisted by the fire of hatred. Glass walls that profoundly speak to you of the dead and yet remind you, too, of the constant watchfulness of prisons -- and concentration camps. Freed here demonstrated his love and talent for expressive, architectural metaphor....

He also designed a complex yet elegant opera house for the former Woodward & Lothrop site downtown, but, basically, an opera with all its spatial demands just didn't fit the site....

Freed also designed the classic revival Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on Pennsylvania Avenue. The revival style wasn't to his taste, but he did make sure that, with its long diagonal wall, it did shape an important public space and that its interiors were spectacularly up-to-date."

Benjamin Forgey "The Architect of Steel and Glass: James Freed Was a Study in Contrasts Whose Buildings Stood Solid and Clear" Washington Post December 17, 2005.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.

Photo credit: James Ingo Freed/Pei Cobb Freed & Partners


Post a Comment

<< Home