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National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington D.C, United States 
Wednesday 15 Apr 2009
 
Smithsonian selects winning team 
 
Ken Rahaim, Smithsonian Institution 
 
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Editorial

Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup win National Museum of African American History and Culture competition 

The Smithsonian has announced that Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup is the architectural team chosen to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) 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 one of 22 teams that responded to the Request for Qualifications in summer 2008. Six firms were then selected to participate in the design competition announced in January 2009.

“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.”

The competition follows the 2003 NMAAHC Act that made law of the Smithsonian’s duty to provide the building. The prominent site was subsequently chosen before the design competition was launched.

Philip G. Freelon, FAIA, speaking on behalf of the Freelon Adjaye Bond team, said: “This is an incredible time for us as designers—and this museum represents a unique opportunity to give form and substance to the powerful vision that has been established by the Smithsonian leadership. We are truly honored to have been chosen as the architects from such a distinguished list of competitors.”

Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup pipped Devrouax & Purnell Architects with Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects; Diller Scofidio Renfro with KlingStubbins; Foster + Partners with the URS Corp; Moody Nolan with Antoine Predock and Moshe Safdie and Associates with Sultan Campbell Britt & Associates to win the prestigious competition.

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 interior lobby rendering borrows the ceiling structure from another of David Adjaye's designs, the 'Sclera' pavilion designed for the London Design Festival in 2008, subtitled American tulipwood pavilion.

The team selected by the Smithsonian consists of four firms that have joined together for this unique project—The Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates, Davis Brody Bond and SmithGroup. The Freelon Group will be the architect of record and Phil Freelon will serve as the design guarantor— making sure that the design reflects the values and priorities of the museum and the Smithsonian. David Adjaye will be the lead designer. He designed the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, Norway, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver. Davis Brody Bond is involved in the planning, design and execution of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center in New York. 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.

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.

Key Facts

Status Design
Value 0(m€)
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Editorial

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