Publication Date

April 2016


Joseph Siry


General Scholarship


English (United States)


This thesis examines the Guggenheim Bilbao (1991-1997) designed by Frank Gehry and the Hamilton Addition to the Denver Art Museum designed by Daniel Libeskind (1999-2006) with respect to their role in neoliberal urban revitalization plans. Considering the Guggenheim Bilbao as the first and most famous example of this phenomenon as my point of departure, I focus on the Hamilton Addition as an case study of the proliferation of this neoliberal museum building model. To situate the Hamilton Addition, I examine the chronology of Denver’s neoliberal urban and cultural policy before and after the construction of the museum, and examine the museum building and its public spaces in relation to urban landscape. Because these buildings are generally considered for their architects’ style, I offer a new look at neoliberal art museums in context of urban planning, urban landscape, and public space. As a prominent museum building model in the 21st century, this thesis’ contextualization of art museum architecture and critical examination of public spaces is helpful for understanding this newest manifestation of the art museum and the public to which it addresses itself.



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