National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION

East Building Architectural Tour

Stonepoured concrete


The East building is faced with marble (left), while poured concrete (right) was used for parts of the structure such as the coffered ceilings and the bridges that span the atrium. Architect I. M. Pei took steps to ennoble these surfaces by mixing the cement with the dust of the Tennessee marble, giving the concrete a warmer hue.

The concrete was poured into molds constructed of wooden slats, which left a distinct, deep impression. Each mold was used once and then discarded. Pictured above on the left are molds for the coffering of the concrete ceilings of the East Building. On the right is an example of this coffering in the ceiling of the East Building's Study Center.

Audio: I. M. Pei and Earl A. Powell III
Architectural Concrete

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