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Kogod and Flickr
February 1, 2008

Kogod Courtyard by Tom Klancer

Photo of Kogod Courtyard by Tom Klancer via Flickr

DCist observes that the Flickr response to the Kogod Courtyard has been enthusiastic. Judging from a selection of Flickr photographs, the response to the light available in the courtyard has indeed been strong. But a feature at least as prominent in these photographs as the canopy is the courtyard's dark floor.

The courtyard floor, part of the landscape design by Kathryn Gustafson, is made of black granite. An overhead shot of the courtyard shows how the granite of the floor compares with the sandstone and granite of the museum building and the white, aluminum-covered steel architecture of the canopy. The lightening greys the eye encounters as it moves from floor to ceiling and beyond gives the courtyard a vertical lift. Still, some photographers have focused on the dark floor and the even darker shallow water features—for example.

Those skins of water sliding across the stone seem to have been made for the benefit of photographers. The pools catch the light that enters through the canopy; otherwise the shadows cast by the undulating grid aren't apparent on the dark floor. The repeated geometry overhead and underfoot distinguishes this courtyard from the one at the British Museum (which also features a Norman Foster canopy).

Many of the shots posted on Flickr focus on the new canopy itself. Over time I expect that, as photographers grow more accustomed to the quality of light--especially those who return to enjoy the space, they'll use it  as a tool. They won't be coming to look at the space so much as to look through its filtered light.

Posted by Kriston on February 1, 2008 in Museum Opening, Museums & Technology


Beautiful, but why are there no benches? It would be a wonderful place to sit and read or write.

Gigi, there are places to sit in the courtyard as seen in this photo (via flickr). Also, there is a café in the courtyard and they have tables and chairs available.

Hey awesome. I'm working at the Martin Luther King library right now and think I'll stop by to check out the space afterwards.

I love the fact that we can share so many places and artistic works via Flickr. Being in black and white gives it an even more powerful presence.

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