How It Stacks Up Architecturally


When he wanted a design for the 21st century, James Stewart Polshek, architect of the Rose Center, went to the 18th. His solid sphere set in a mostly glass cube has its origins in one of the abiding fantasies of the architectural world: the unbuilt ball that French neoclassical visionary Etienne-Louis Boullee conceived in 1784 as a memorial to Sir Isaac Newton. Boullee knew a simple sphere would state with full authority the grandeur of the cosmos. Polshek knew it too.

His firm is best known for subdued historical renovations, but he and partner Todd Schliemann conceived the Rose Center as...

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