National Museum of African American History & Culture Washington DC, NMAAHC Building, Image
National Museum of African American History & Culture : NMAAHC
NMAAHC Building News + Architecture Competition Info – design by Freelon Adjaye Bond Smith Group, architects
Sep 24, 2016
National Museum of African American History & Culture Building Opening
NMAAHC Building Opening in Washington D.C.
Davis Brody Bond Completes Design of Signature Spaces at The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, Washington D.C.
Renowned firm creates museum’s centerpieces including History Gallery, Contemplative Court and Oprah Winfrey Theater
New York, NY (September 24, 2016) – Davis Brody Bond announces the completion of The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Davis Brody Bond, one of the founding members of the project’s design team Freelon Adjaye Bond | SmithGroup, has designed over 60 percent of the museum, focusing on the below grade architecture.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture located on the National Mall is the only national museum devoted to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. The Museum will open to the public tomorrow, September 24, 2016.
“We are one firm of many that have contributed to the success of this historic project,” said Robert Anderson, Lead Architect, Davis Brody Bond who directed the design of NMAAHC’s centerpiece, the 50,000 square foot History Gallery and accompanying Contemplative Court.
“We are both humbled and honored to be entrusted with designing a museum in America’s front lawn. High praise goes to the people that lived the history along with its caretaker Dr. Lonnie G. Bunch III, the museum’s Founding Director. We’ve helped translate his words and vision into physical space and material.”
Other key interior spaces designed by Davis Brody Bond include the 350 seat concert class Oprah Winfrey Theater, café, the changing exhibition gallery and the curatorial departments, collections and back-of-house spaces that form the operating core of the museum.
Prior to the design competition Davis Brody Bond established the Master Facility Planning and Program Study for the NMAAHC in collaboration with The Freelon Group, which was completed in 2008 and became the criteria for the building design.
The firm’s late partner J. Max Bond, Jr. worked closely with museum leadership and was instrumental in realizing the design criteria. Soon after, Adjaye Associates joined to form the current design team responsible for delivering the 400,000 square foot building.
The spaces in the below grade scope are incredibly diverse and showcase Davis Brody Bond’s intimate knowledge and capability in navigating complex building program, drawn from the firm’s work on the internationally acclaimed National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center, which naturally inspired the firm in the overall planning and stacking of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Davis Brody Bond – Founding Member of the design team / design and development of 60 percent of the museum’s 400,000-square-foot program, which is predominantly located beneath the grounds of the National Mall
Adjaye Associates – Lead Designer
The Freelon Group – Lead Architect and Architect of Record / Project Manager
The SmithGroupJJR – Associated Design/Construction Architect
Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN) – Landscape Architect
Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA) – Exhibit Designer
About Davis Brody Bond Architects and Planners
Davis Brody Bond, designer of important cultural landmarks such as the National September 11 Memorial Museum, is an architectural practice which has been completing award-winning projects of challenging complexity on five continents since 1952. The firm is recognized for its major contributions in architecture, urban design, master planning, historic preservation and interior design.
Davis Brody Bond is the recipient of more than 200 awards for design excellence including the American Institute of Architects Firm Award, the Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture, the Presidential Award for Design Excellence and the Chicago Athenaeum Award.
The firm’s projects include the Embassy of South Africa in Washington, DC; Saint Elizabeths Pavilion East, Washington, DC; two District of Columbia Libraries; US Embassies in Jakarta, Indonesia and Mexico City, Mexico; and The Portico Gallery at The Frick Collection in New York City. Davis Brody Bond has offices in New York City, Washington, DC and Sao Paulo, Brazil. For more information visit: www.davisbrody.com
Website: President Obama at opening of National Museum of African American History and Culture – The Washington Post, September 24th, 2016
Aug 3, 2016
National Museum of African American History & Culture Opening
NMAAHC Building Opening News
The Dedication and Grand Opening will take place on September 24.
Saturday, September 24, 2016, 1:00pm – 6:00pm
Sunday, September 25, 2016, 10:00am – 10:00pm
The Museum officially opens to the public immediately following the Dedication Ceremony on Saturday, September 24, 2016.
It will keep its doors open for extended hours Sunday, September 25, from 10 am to 10pm.
Entry to all Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. is free. The museum, as well as the Freedom Sounds festival, are free and open to the public.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
44th President of the United States
The Museum is a place where everyone can explore the story of America through the lens of the African American experience.
Winning the competition to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture has consolidated the architecture practice’s US portfolio with arguably the nation’s most prestigious new building, according to the architects.
Located on Constitution Avenue, adjacent to the National Museum of American History and the Washington Monument, the museum will house exhibit galleries, administrative spaces, theatre space and collections storage space for the NMAAHC. As lead designer for the Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup (FAB) team, David Adjaye’s approach has been to establish both a meaningful relationship to this unique site as well as a strong conceptual resonance with America’s deep and longstanding African heritage. The design rests on three cornerstones: the “corona” shape and form of the building; the extension of the building out into the landscape – the porch; and the bronze filigree envelope.
Situated on the Washington Monument grounds the museum maintains a subtle profile in the landscape – more than half is below ground – with five storeys above. The corona is based on elements of the Washington Monument, closely matching the 17-degree angle of the capstone and the panel size and pattern has been developed using the Monument stones as a reference. The entire building is wrapped in an ornamental bronze lattice that is a historical reference to African American craftsmanship. The density of the pattern can be modulated to control the amount of sun¬light and transparency into the interior. The south entry is composed of the Porch and a central water feature. An extension of the building out into the landscape, the porch creates an outdoor room that bridges the gap between the interior and exterior.
The event pays tribute to three important milestones in African American history: ratification of the 13th Amendment, which officially ended the institution of slavery (1865), passage of the Voting Rights Act (1965) and the end of the Civil War (1865).
Featuring state-of-the-art digital projection imagery, the south and west exterior façades were transformed into a five-story-tall, one-block-long 3-D canvas. The video display was seven minutes long and ran continuously on all three nights:
At 50m (49’-2”) deep, the setback is similar to other buildings on the north side of the Mall. The underside of the porch roof is tilted upward allowing reflection of the moving water below. This covered area creates a microclimate where breezes combine with the cooling waters to generate a place of refuge from the hot summer sun. There is also an outdoor patio on the porch rooftop that is accessed from a mezzanine level within the building.
Inside the building, visitors will be guided on a historical and emotional journey, characterised by vast, column free spaces, a dramatic infusion of natural light and a diverse material palette comprising pre-cast concrete, timber and a glazed skin that sits within the bronze lattice. Below ground, the ambience is contemplative and monumental, achieved by the triple height history gallery and symbolised by the memorial space – the “oculus” – that brings light diffused by a cascade of water into the contemplative space from the Monument grounds. Moving upwards, the views become pivotal, as one circulates along the corona with unrivalled panoramas of the Mall, Federal Triangle buildings and Monument Grounds.
Architect: Freelon Adjaye Bond / SmithGroup
Client: Smithsonian Institution
Total Area: 420,000 sqf
Contract Value: $309m
May 16, 2016
National Museum of African American History & Culture
NMAAHC Building News
“Though the scaffolding on the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s new building on the Mall in Washington, D.C. has been down for some time, allowing the public full view of its three-tiered, crown-shaped exterior of bronze-colored cast-aluminum panels, on Thursday (12th May), a small group of journalists was given a tour of its nearly complete interiors, where installation of exhibits has already begun”, reports the Architectural Record.
Occupying the last available space on the National Mall, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will be situated prominently between the National Museum of American History and 15th Street, next to the Washington Monument. When it opens to the public in 2016, the museum will be a centerpiece venue for ceremonies and performances, as well as a primary exhibition space for African American history and culture, according to the NMAAHC.
NMAAHC Building Fly-throughL
Website: National Museum of African American History and Culture Building – article about the NMAAHC.
The primary architectural idea for the museum was derived from the classical tripartite column with its base, shaft and capital. In Yoruban art and architecture, the column or wooden post was usually crafted with a capital resembling a crown. This crown or corona form is the central idea which has driven the design of the museum. The bronze corona also reflects an African American presence that is a permanent part of the American landscape.
Reaching toward the sky, the bronze clad corona expresses faith, hope and resiliency. Internal to the building, the corona forms a perimeter zone which surrounds the primary galleries. Daylight enters this zone through patterned openings in the bronze cladding and through skylights—washing wood-covered walls with light while providing views upward and outward. At night, the corona glows, presenting stunning views of the museum from a variety of vantage points in and around the Mall. The corona sits on a monumental plinth, or base, clad in stone.
Below the plinth, the museum threshold experience begins with a grand “porch” at the South (National Mall) entry point.
As visitors move through the exhibitions, important points in the city are highlighted by a series of openings which frame specific views. These openings or “lenses” offer respite and pause at selected moments along the exhibition experience. These framed perspectives are a reminder that the Museum presents a view of America through the lens of African American history and culture.
While the specific stories of persecution and struggle, resiliency and triumph are presented in the museum’s exhibitions, the building itself stands as a powerful testament to the centrality and relevance of African American culture and history.
National Museum of African American History & Culture building description courtesy of Freelon Adjaye Bond/Smithgroup.
Recent photos of the NMAAHC building under construction are welcome at info(at)e-archtect.co.uk
Website: NMAAHC Construction Camera
Apr 13, 2014 new larger images added on this page
National Museum of African American History & Culture Building
NMAAHC Building Groundbreaking News
Feb 22, 2012 – President Obama speaks today at official ground breaking ceremony for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Designed by David Adjaye
The National Museum for African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) breaks ground on 22 February. President Obama will deliver remarks at an official ceremony celebrating this milestone for the Smithsonian Institution’s new museum on Washington’s National Mall.
The NMAAHC consolidates Adjaye Associates’ growing US portfolio with arguably the nation’s most prestigious new building. As Lead Designer for the Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup (FAB) team, David Adjaye’s approach has been to establish both a meaningful relationship to the unique site as well as a strong conceptual resonance with America’s deep and longstanding African heritage.
Situated on the Washington Monument grounds the museum maintains a subtle profile in the landscape – more than half is below ground – with five storeys above. The design rests on three cornerstones: the “corona” shape and form of the building; the extension of the building out into the landscape – the porch; and the bronze filigree envelope. The museum will house exhibit galleries, administrative spaces, theatre space and collections storage space for the NMAAHC.
David Adjaye said:
“The museum is located on a monumental site and it is truly a monumental project that has been nearly 200 years in the making. We always conceived of this building as a kind of turning point, a knuckle, a joint, which articulates a sensitivity to the original Beaux Arts masterplan as well as an enduring expression of monumentality. That’s the critical issue that we’ve been very concerned about, making sure the museum is not just another building on the mall, but a building that ends the mall properly and begins the monument.”
NMAAHC – Building Information
Lead Designer: David Adjaye
Design Team: Freelon Adjaye Bond/Smith Group
Client: Smithsonian Institution
Structural Engineer: Guy Nordenson and Associates, Rober Silman Associates
Mechanical Engineer: WSP, Flack + Kurtz
Total Area: 313,000 sqft
Contract Value: $500m
Feb 17, 2012
National Museum of African American History & Culture – News
NMAAHC Building Groundbreaking
A symbolic shovel will soon break ground on a five-acre site for the Museum for African American History and Culture, adjacent to the Washington Monument. The museum will underscore the challenge of interpreting the complex narrative arc of the black experience in America.
“The museum’s design is the result of an intense collaboration among Phil Freelon and two other black architects: David Adjaye and Max Bond”.
Apr 3, 2009
NMAAHC Building – Winning Architect
Smithsonian Announces Design Competition Winner
for $500 million Addition to the National Mall
Winner, announced 17 Mar 2009 : Freelon Adjaye Bond Smith Group
The Smithsonian has announced that Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup has been chosen as the architectural team to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture to be located on the National Mall near the Washington Monument. The selection was made by a jury chaired by Museum Director Lonnie G. Bunch III. Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup was among six architectural firms that entered a design competition in January.
“I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with this talented team,” said Bunch. “Their vision and spirit of collaboration moved all members of the design competition jury. I am confident that they will give us a building that will be an important addition to the National Mall and to the architecture of this city.”
Steven M. Davis, FAIA, Partner of Davis Brody Bond Aedas said, “This is an obviously exciting day for us. The opportunity to design a landmark building on the last great site of the National Mall is something beyond our dreams. The experience working with this fantastic collaboration of Phil Freelon and David Adjaye has been immensely gratifying. Considering the strength of the competition, we are truly honored to have been selected.”
This project represents the culmination of the career and legacy of J. Max Bond, Jr., FAIA who died on February 18, 2009 in the middle of the design competition phase. Steven Davis, FAIA, affirms, “The joy of this moment comes with mixed emotions. Max Bond who was my partner for over 20 years worked tirelessly in conceiving the programming and design of our submission. We miss him especially on this incredible day.”
Freelon Adjaye Bond said in its design concept materials, “The National Museum of African American History and Culture—the institution and the building—embodies the African American spirit. Majestic yet exuberant, dignified yet triumphant, the building will be worthy of the museum’s vision, and its prominent place on the National Mall.”
The core design team selected by the Smithsonian consists of three firms—The Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates, and Davis Brody Bond Aedas.The Freelon Group will ensure that the design reflects the values and priorities of the museum and the Smithsonian. The Freelon Group designed the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture in Baltimore. Adjaye Associates will focus on the formal development and refinement of the building design. Adjaye Associates designed the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, Norway, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver. Davis Brody Bond Aedas will have the primary role of assuring adherence of the design to the program and vision. Davis Brody Bond Aedas is the Design Architect for the National September 11 Museum and, as Associate Architect, is executing the design of the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center. The firm also led the restoration and expansion of the New York Public Library. The Smith Group joined the FAB team to provide the resources necessary for delivering the design documents. The SmithGroup is an international architectural and engineering firm with offices in Washington, D.C., that designed the Normandy American Cemetery Interpretive Center in France. This unique collaboration combines a multi-generational understanding of African American culture with the ability to execute one of the nation’s most significant civic institutions.
The Freelon Group and Davis Brody Bond Aedas led the programming study for the museum which was completed in the fall of 2008 and are intimately familiar with the mission of the museum.
The building design will take up to three years, with construction to begin in 2012. Set to open in 2015, the museum’s total cost is estimated to be $500 million, including design. During the design phase, the Smithsonian will seek approval from the National Capital Planning Commission. In addition, the Institution will continue to consult with other Washington, D.C., agencies and organizations, including the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the National Park Service and the National Coalition to Save Our Mall.
Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup was one of 22 teams that responded to the Request for Qualifications in summer 2008. The six firms selected to participate in the design competition were announced in January 2009. The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established in 2003 by an Act of Congress. Although it does not have a building yet, the museum is collecting artifacts; conducting seminars and symposia, including a recent two-day program on Black Power; gathering African American oral histories for StoryCorps, a joint program with National Public Radio and the Library of Congress; and creating traveling exhibitions such as “Let Your Motto Be Resistance.” In addition, the museum has its own gallery in the National Museum of American History, which currently is exhibiting “The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington: Picturing the Promise.”
NMAAHC Building Information
Site: Constitution Avenue
Six Design Teams Shortlisted – Final Design selection due Apr 2009
National Museum of African American History and Culture – Design Team Shortlist
More information re NMAAHC Building online soon
To see all listed projects on a single map please follow this link.
Feb 3, 2009 – Information from Foster + Partners:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Shortlist
The Smithsonian has announced the shortlist of firms for the design of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.
A collaborative architectural and engineering team of architect Harry Robinson FAIA, associate architects Blackburn Architects founded by Walter and Alpha Blackburn, landscape designer Michel Desvigne, engineering firm URS and Foster + Partners will work together on a two-month design competition for the Museum.
The museum is scheduled to be constructed on a five-acre plot of land on Washington DC’s Constitution Avenue between the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Total project cost for designing, constructing and installing exhibitions in the new museum is estimated at about $500 million, of which one-half will be provided by Congress. The Smithsonian will raise the remainder. Construction of the building is expected to begin in 2012 and open to the public in 2015.
NMAAHC Building Design Teams Shortlisted
Adjaye/Associates + Davis Brody Bond + Freelon Group
Diller Scofidio & Renfro + KlingStubbins
Foster & Partners + URS
Moody Nolan + Antoine Predock
Moshe Safdie + Sultan Campbell Britt & Associates
Pei Cobb Freed & Partners + Devrouax & Purnell
Smithsonian Museum Redevelopment by Foster + Partners
image : Nigel Young / Foster + Partners
Newseum Washington DC
Eric Taylor © EricTaylorPhoto.com
Washington DC building : Swiss Embassy
photo © Andy Ryans from Steven Holl Architects
Website: NMAAHC Building by Adjaye/Associates – architects’ post
Comments / photos for the National Museum of African American History & Culture Washington DC Architecture page welcome