On Saturday, I got around to reading Nicolai Ouroussoff's review of the Newseum, a new Washington, D.C. museum promoting the First Amendment and journalism. The review begins: "How many mediocre buildings can one city absorb?" In this excerpt, Ouroussoff describes the building's facade, designed by Polshek Partnership Architects.
"A marble slab etched with the words of the First Amendment is suspended on one facade like an ancient Roman tablet. An expansive window setback in the center of this facade frames a gigantic video screen in the lobby, evoking a TV screen. (An early sketch even envisioned the building as a row of newspaper sections.)
The intent, one suspects, is to conjure the rapid pace at which information is gathered and transmitted in the Internet age. But there’s nothing new or spectacular about this kind of high-tech billboard. And the heaviness of these forms is light years away from the multihued, fluid world of the Internet. Instead, the effect is as cringe-inducing as watching a neophyte nervously trying to navigate a computer screen."
To see a slideshow of the Newmuseum, click here. (Photo courtesy of the New York Times)