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Smithsonian Institution masterplan to be created by Bjarke Ingels Group-led team

A team has been chosen to draw up a masterplan for the Smithsonian campus in Washington D.C., pulling together 19 museums, the National Zoological Park and 9 research facilities. Danish practice Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) will lead a team of Surface Design, Traceries, and Robert Silman Associates with Atelier Ten, GHT Limited, Wiles Mensch, Weidlinger Associates, VJ Associates, Protection Engineering Group and FDS Design Studio.

Speaking on the decision, Christopher Lethbridge of the Smithsonian Institution explained: “BIG designs are innovative, analytical, unexpected and intelligent. We believe they can develop a plan that will enable us over the next decade to transform a disparate group of much-loved buildings and outdoor spaces into a place that is more dynamic, social and active.”

The $2.4m contract will see the team draft the first phase of the masterplan, with BIG’s intention to reinstate the 1855 Smithsonian Castle as the cornerstone building and entry point, and incorporate an entrance to a subterranean museum network into the Central Garden. The first phase is to be delivered in the next 12 months.

Bjarke Ingels, Founder of BIG, details: “The abundance of historical heritage, the diversity of architectural languages and the cacophony of exhibits are tied together by a labyrinthine network of spaces above and below ground - inside and outside. Our task is to explore the collections with The Smithsonian and together attempt to untie the Gordian Knot of intertwined collections to unearth the full potential of this treasure chamber of artifacts.”

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