Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Freelon to Design African American History Museum

The Smithsonian Institute announced today (via their insanely popular Smithsonian Channel Blog) that the Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates and Davis Brody Bond in association with SmithGroup have been selected to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture. To be constructed at 15th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, the 350,000 square foot museum will stand on the very last vacant parcel of the National Mall.

Since the prospective designs went public last month, the winning team has gone on to beat out a formidable list of competitors that included Diller Scofidio and Renfro and KlingStubbins;" Devrouax and Purnell Architects, Pei Cobb Freed and Partners; Moshe Safdie and Associates and Sulton Campbell Britt & Associates), Foster and Partners and URS and Moody Nolan Inc. and Antoine Predock Architect.

“[We] set up a poll on the Smithsonian Channel Blog asking readers who they think should win and although the Moody Nolan was the clear favorite, another design took home the win,” said Filippa Fenton of Smithsonian Networks. So much for democracy.

According to the Smithsonian, the selected “bronze-tiered design” (aka “the corona”) represents a “melding of cultural symbols, traditions and movements” from “the working landscapes of the American south to the crowns of Nigerian Yoruba artifacts.”

Construction of the $500 million complex is currently scheduled to begin in 2012. For a detailed look at Washington’s soon-to-be newest museum, check out the swanky virtual tour of the design, courtesy of the Smithsonian.


Lurker #1 said...


I wish they had a 3-D tour like this on view for each of the designs they had on display a couple weekends back.

Anonymous said...

UGLY monstrosity that no one will visit. This is the ONE remaining open park near the Mall from which you can get a nice view of the monument. What a disgusting disturbance to the area.

AND, there already is an African-American museum that no one visits. It's on the southside of the Mall next to the Asian museum. Now we're going to have to find a space for a Latino museum, a Middle-Eastern museum, another Asian museum, and who knows what else.

As Rodney King said, "Can't we all just get along..." and exist in the AMERICAN HISTORY museum?

Anonymous said...

It is really tragic and obvious how some use what might lightly be called "design discussion" to advance their political issues. Comments like "the current design's size and massing in relation to the Mall and the Washington Monument" fail to "maintain 'the integrity of the mall'" are disingenious at best as the building is on scale with most of the other new and older museums. The Washington Monument still sits on a very prominent berm and surrounded by a lot of poorly maintained, narrowly used, though significant open space--that is what compromises the integrity of the Mall and Monument. The politics of the particular type of use are worth stating, but opinions are likely not to veer too far from where they are likely entrenched. The project looks like a great concept which seems to have a lot of interesting components worth honest dialogue with those who really mean to be constructive and not putting forth their own agendas. The mall as is needs a dose of something interesting. Folk will attend in great numbers!

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