Systematic Analysis of a Work of Art

Descriptive analysis of John F. Kennedy Library and Museum

  • Technical and Factual information
  • Formal Analysis

Title: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Museum: The museum is located at Columbia Point in a ten acre park. Its spaces are organized by a two tier design. Apart from preserving JKF’s memory, the museum contains information about the heritage and culture of the US history.
Subject matter
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum provides information about the history of the US under the leadership of John Kennedy. It is dedicated to him as the thirty-fifth president. It is also dedicated to all people who sought a better world through politics. The museum portrays the life of President Kennedy, his leadership, and his legacy, his passion for public service, as well as the nature of the president’s office. Additionally, JFK Library promotes an appreciation of the cultural and political heritage of the US and the importance of public service.
Technical information
Materials: In the construction, glass, concrete, and steel were used as the main materials. The surrounding land is planted with beach shrubs and grass.
JFK Library was originally built on 115,000 square feet. However, this changed to a size of 164,000 square feet after addition of the Stephen E. Smith Center and Museum storage block. The building consists of a nine-story tower joined to a pavilion that is enclosed by glass. Bordering is the Smith center with museum theatre on one side and the storage area and lobby on the other side.
JKF Library is well maintained considering that it preserves the history of JKF as well as the history of the USA. There are efforts to maintain the building in good conditions through various renovations. Presence of new structures indicates that the building will continue to have some changes in an effort to ensure that it is in good condition for the visitors.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum has a sculpture of a free standing figure. It is a stand-alone figure that is observable from all angles. One can walk around the building. Freestanding sculptures are usually not attached to the background. Additionally, they have space all round. JKF Library is unattached to the background and has spaces on all sides. The sculpture is built out of concrete, steel, and glass. These main materials are uniquely used in building the attractive building. Considering that the library is highly maintained it is hard to trace leftovers of the materials used in the building. The fact that the building was also done some years back limits traces of the building tools or materials. The building is however finished with concrete.
The building takes a geometric form that incorporates circular elements and a central cube. They are intersected by a triangular volume. The geometric forms are delineated sharply in contrasting white and black. A triangular tower protrudes from the geometric forms. A long the tower is a cube of steel and glass rising along with it. This represents a simple structure with a large glass pavilion. The circular section is connected to the tower by glass pavilion that is grey in color. The stark precast panels of concrete make up the forms that separate theatre arch, and the triangular library with museum between whose focus is on glass pavilion.
Color is largely used in decorating the building. The dark color of the glass has been considered important in the construction of JFK Library and museum. Other materials have been painted either black, white, or grey. For instance, the square base is painted white while its top has a smaller dark grey volume. The color has special meaning as it is used in contrast as a means to identify sections. The artists use the color for descriptive function. The artists have considered the effect of light on the work. The forms are arranged in a manner that changes the light. The ribbon skylight, which expands to the lobby makes the reception area to be naturally illuminated. In the theatre, the setting is darkened enabling viewers to have a greater experience by being alone in their thoughts. The darkened setting also helps viewers to focus on the film. The black glass provides a view from inside to the waters. Sloping skylight is used in providing natural lighting.
The texture of the surface varies from sections to sections. For the parts built with glass, the surface is smooth considering that glass is usually smooth. However, for the parts built with concrete some exterior parts are rough considering that smooth surface would pose some dangers in bad weather. The additional structures have utilized the available space enabling more people to access the building. The light, texture, color, and shape of the building make it fit in the site giving viewers an amazing experience. Although it may be challenging to access a taxi from the site, traffic is limited in the area making the site more fit for the building. Considering that many people visit the site, having it done in a city or in a highly populated area would increase traffic and slow movement. However, this site supports traffic flow making the building to fit it.
It is fun walking around looking at the building that seems to raise from nowhere. The white and grey color is used in a creative way. The geometric forms keep one moving to get the next shape of the building. The black glass looks attractive from outside as it reflects the white and grey color, the green plants, and the ocean. However, this experience changes with the weather. When it is rainy it would be challenging to walk in the open space around the building. Natural light gives a better experience and therefore walking around the building during the night changes the experience especially with the glass section.
Looking into the glass pavilion from the lobby space gives an amazing experience. One is able to have a view of the ocean. Looking at the building gives a brighter perception of the subject matter. One feels that there is something exciting. However, from inside one gets another feeling, a feeling of beauty and at the same time a feeling of struggle that people go through in life. The interior of the building creates a new perception related to the reasons why the museum was built in the first place. It is from inside that one gets to learn more about politics, about President Kennedy and his leadership. One learns about American culture and history. From exterior design one gets to see the beauty of the building. This perception is enhanced by the interior of the building with the rich history preserved in it.
There are symbolic components in the JFK Library and museum. One of the flag. The flag is used as a symbol of the country. The flag is a symbolic component because it indicates that the building is in honor of the president of the country and in the spirit of President Kennedy, the flag symbolizes the unity of American even if the citizens come from different races and ethnic groups.
The flag communicates the idea of Americanism in the building. Seeing the flag indicates that the building has something to do with American government and with American people. The geometric forms which are part of classical features are employed in the building. The features have been adopted in a modern way making the building to look more attractive. The additional structures have not altered the original design of the building and have been built in a unique design that complements the original design.