English 101, Approaches to Architecture.


The Braunstein Room and the Exhibition Hall


Students from English 101 will be visiting us over the next few weeks, most of them for the first time, and so — mulling over our architecture exhibition — I think of them approaching the building as a building; I imagine them walking over the car park or through the garden towards us.


p2 behind the gator board


Years ago they would have been coming to a natural history museum. Before that they would have been about to use a gym. With divergent expectations they would have been walking towards the same set of walls and ceiling. Our appearance now is not the appearance that the original architect would have designed for us.


p3 this door


Who was our architect? Off the top of my head I’m not sure. I could look it up. What were the sketches like?


p4 Braunstein and hall again


What did the client say to them?


3 thoughts on “English 101, Approaches to Architecture.

  1. The first time I visited the Barrick Museum was not during our class time. The first time I took a visit was last semester, before a business event that was hosted there. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the lonely presence of only about three people. I walked in the wooden floors and saw art, beauty, but mostly empty space. If a tree falls in the middle of a forest and no one is around to hear it, did it make a sound? It did, but it did not count. The sound was meaningless because there was no one to witness it, react to it and make a judgment about it. Same goes for the Museum, the art needs an audience and I feel it is something that has been missing. I would imagine that when it was initially built, it had exponentially as many visitors as it does now. I believe that not because the art lacks quality, but because the people in surrounding areas lack creativity, imagination and meaning. A gym hardly compares to a Museum. In particular, a basketball gym is used to play basketball, volleyball, and many other sports, but playing a sport is completely different from viewing art. Watching a game does not obligate someone to think, while art does. They both derive emotions but the difference is that the emotions in a game are dependent of the game while the emotions derived from art are dependent on one’s ethnocentrism. Of course, sports are an art of their own but I believe that the reasoning behind the initial purpose of the structure was due to the shyness of the students. It is definitely something that has not gone away overtime as I have experienced.

  2. My first time visiting the Marjorie Barrick Museum was last semester for a business showcase. Upon entering the museum, I was slightly confused as to what purpose the building truly served. I was intrigued by the serene garden outside of the doors. Once you’ve entered that garden it feels as if you’re no longer on campus and creates a new world type of feel. I knew right away that it was not any kind of normal museum. The building had clearly served a different purpose at some point; I just wasn’t sure exactly what yet.

    When they had told us that it had been two different spaces previously, I began to notice smaller details that gave it away. The water fountains, vaulted ceilings, the lighting, and of course the glossy hardwood floors all gave it away that it had previously been a gym. My first thought was that it was a significantly smaller gym than what I am used to and especially compared to the gym that UNLV has now. The architect clearly had reasons for the decisions he made. At that time, the population in Las Vegas and at UNLV was much smaller compared to what it is today and therefore the space was smaller. Location wise, it was placed in the center of the campus and made to be the heart of UNLV and of the city essentially. The gym did not only serve as a place to play basketball but also a place where a community could come together and celebrate a common interest which is what makes the space itself so unique and special.

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