Date of Award

Spring 4-22-2022

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Art and Art History

Department Chair or Program Director

McMillan, Jon

First Advisor

Kim, Suzie

Major or Concentration

Art History


The National Gallery of Art is a modern piece of art itself throughout its split galleries; the West Building (the original) and the East Building (the addition). This study seeks to identify the importance of the East Building in relation to modern architecture and modern and contemporary art through three main means: materials, its fit into Washington, D.C.’s research field, and how it is possibly the first instance of the “Guggenheim Effect.” By examining the materiality and spatial atmosphere of the East Building, I discuss the influences for I.M. Pei’s extraordinarily contemporary design. Then, how the East Building has evolved the styling of the architecture of art museums after it like the Guggenheim family of museums.