The making of place and occasion: art school and museum in Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The increasing dominance of technology in everyday life has created a challenge to the role Fine Arts plays in today’s society. The struggle of the Fine Arts to retain and strengthen its role in the culture of a technologically-driven society presented a unique opportunity to explore the reuniting of two major Fine Arts realms the Art School and Museum. The challenge of this thesis was to unite the School and Museum in such a way as to strengthen the part Fine Arts has in today’s culture.

Over time art schools and museums have become separated both physically and psychologically. They are treated as two individual building types in architecture, each with its own functional goals. By synthesizing the two building types, the opportunity is created to both view art and learn the processes by which it is created. The architecture of the school/museum seeks to celebrate these two activities: the school as "Place" where creation of the art occurs, the museum representing "Occasion" - the celebration of the art. The ability for both activities to occur within the same building encourages understanding of the Fine Arts by exposing people to its two realms. Through such encouragement, as presented by the building’s architecture, society may rediscover the important role the Fine Arts have in everyday life and in its cultural legacy.