Clyfford Still Museum- allied works architecture

The city hums. The sun is out, cars pass, people walk by chatting. The world is alive.

Objects of habitation, work, and play surround me. A cluster of museums with varied character. There is something different here. What is this strange, velvety building before me? It seems so humble standing among its peers. I cross the street.

The grade changes as I approach, rising as I move forward. The landscape is young. How powerful these trees will be when they grow. Through the infancy of this grotto I move toward the entry. There is nothing flashy here, just a clear delineation of materials, a slight setback that signifies destination.

What is this strange, velvety texture? Concrete? Concrete. But concrete unlike any I’ve seen before.

Delicate fins protrude, expressing the methods, the hands, that made them. They create a pattern that dances. A cold surface rendered warm. Here chipped and broken. Now pristine and intact. Perhaps these moments reflect how we often feel about ourselves.

This is somehow nothing like its neighbors, all shiny and impersonal, all nothing but enclosed spaces. This is something different.

A play of textures and materials draws me and I enter.

Here there is a slightly darker than normal space. Have my eyes simply not adjusted or was this the intent? I feel myself rewinding, erasing the moments before. The moments in the city. How surprising. I am ready to experience.

There is light beyond. Above, a lattice work of structure. Concrete again but now placed as smooth as silk, as intricate as lace. What magic created this? The light dapples through, washes over the walls and washes over me.


Perhaps it is here that I arrive. This bright red wall here is the start? This is, after-all, the Clyfford Still show and his pictures are on the wall. Now the building begins to reveal itself. I see the city through the windows, smile, and move on.

The artwork is impressive. Right up my alley in fact. These bold forms, blazing color, and abstracted compositions should be stealing my attention. I find myself staring at the concrete. I touch the walls and people look at me. I look up. My God, the ceiling! The effect of the light on my eyes makes the volume limitless. The fire code brings it down to Earth. Stupid Sprinklerheads. Distracting.

I’m outside now, a small planted terrace set against the backdrop of its forceful neighbors. There is sky above, but somehow it feels closer. A trellis overhead, I can see the clouds and further definition beyond. There are limits here so I move back inside.

This space is different, again. The ceiling in this gallery is solid and I feel squeezed. The artwork here feels more restraint as well. More rules. Are we restrained by our past or propelled by it? This is early work, a foundation.

I move through the remaining galleries, but I don’t see the art anymore. Or the concrete. I close my eyes and feel the world around me become lucid. This city, this space, and myself.

I want to do work like this.

4 thoughts on “Clyfford Still Museum- allied works architecture

  1. Pingback: Shaping space, shaping feeling « AIA Colorado EP Blog

  2. Pingback: Le Se Le Bon Ton Roulette | AIA Colorado Emerging Professionals Blog

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