Arts Desk

Vitamin A: Kevin Roche’s “Study for a Pillar”

In which one of our art critics highlights a favorite work on view in a local gallery.

Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo's design for the IBM pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair realizes some of architecture's goals beyond basic function. Coupled with a video explaining the process, the designs on paper illustrate the architects' thought process when conceiving the space. They looked to nature: The form moves from pillar to tree to abstraction of a tree. Roche's company (KRJDA) has been criticized for embracing the conventions and clichés of modern corporate architecture, but these pillars reveal that the architecture firm thought about, and attempted to realize, a design that integrated with its natural surroundings.

"Kevin Roche: Architecture as Environment" is on view 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 2 at The National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW.

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