Art, Architecture, and Aesthetics Work Together at SAAM: Experience the Benefits of Nature inside the Kogod Courtyard

Are you lost, and a bit overwhelmed, by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery? The caliber and quantity of the artwork on display lead to visual and mental overstimulation. For a reprieve from the dimly lit art museum, take a step into the natural daylight of the spaciously illuminated Kogod Courtyard.

You’ll be surrounded by the colorful patterns of nature, architecture, and their mashup.

And it’s beautiful. . . just beautiful.

There is art in nature; nature is expressed in art. The colors, patterns, and vibrancy brighten up the space. It feels like you are outside, with the soaring glass roof overhead, joining two facades and creating a stunning courtyard.

I was so taken with the whole experience, gazing up and around, that I walked directly into the water feature – splish, splash! I stopped cold, took a couple of quick steps backward, and stopped to admire the shallow pool of water moving across the floor and reflecting the entire atmosphere. Just stunning!

I love the idea of bringing nature inside . . . and getting ourselves outdoors, out into nature! I stop to reflect – “Only recently have we begun to analyze the reasons why we feel the need to connect with nature.” Indeed! Schools, hospitals, office buildings, and museums join in the effort to keep us connected to nature. And sometimes they succeed. We breathe in the smell of damp soil, we reach out to caress the soft, smooth leaves of a flowering plant, and we are comforted by the nearness of nature. The sunny, sweet rows of yellow sunshine flowers makes me grin.

In a way I don’t have to understand why nature speaks to me; I just know that it does.

But then I sit and reflect, long enough that my fellow travelers have wandered away and into the museum giftshop. The light is so beautiful, the sun beginning to set on the DC landscape of memorials, monuments, and Smithsonian museums . I take another moment or two, to absorb that same light, pouring into the courtyard. Moment-by-moment the light changes – the scene changes – the mood changes. The moment is captured by each of us, in our memories or on our smartphones.

We’ll take it with us, either way! I’m pleased by that.

“The enclosed courtyard with its elegant glass canopy, designed by world-renowned architects at Foster + Partners in London, provides a distinctive, contemporary accent to the museums’ Greek Revival building. The wavy glass-and-steel roof that appears to float over the 28,000-square-foot courtyard lets in natural light but protects visitors from the elements.”

SAAM website

“The Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, a signature element of the renovated National Historic Landmark building shared by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, opened to the public on November 18, 2007. The courtyard is named for Robert and Arlene Kogod, Washington philanthropists and art collectors.” (SAAM website)

Keep an eye out — I first discovered the water feature by walking directly into it.

Join me on my next adventure,

~ Kat

Related Links:

The Kogod Courtyard

One comment

  1. Beautifully written and photographed!
    I’m always amazed at your gift of bringing your adventures to all of us!
    I feel I’m along for the journey and learn so much from your insights!
    BLOG ON! !!


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