6 selected for D.C. museum

Niki May Young
30 Jan 2009

Smithsonian selects architects for historical landmark near Washington Monument

The Smithsonian, an established institution for the dissemination of knowledge in America, has announced the six teams who will compete in a two-month design competition for the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum is scheduled to be constructed on a five-acre plot of land on Constitution Avenue between the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

The shortlist was reduced from 22 that responded to a Request for Qualifications issued last summer. The request asked for key personnel in a variety of areas such as architecture, structural engineering, landscape architecture and life safety engineering; the ability to accomplish the design of the building within the three-year time frame; establish an office within 30 miles of the museum site; and demonstrate an appreciation of African American history and culture.

In addition, the architectural firm will be expected to design an energy-efficient structure so that it can become the Smithsonian’s first museum to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first officially green building on the National Mall.

The design competition teams (in alphabetical order) are:

Devrouax & Purnell Architects/Planners, P.C, and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects, LLP

Diller Scofidio + Renfro in association with KlingStubbins

Foster + Partners and URS

Freelon Adjaye Bond in association with SmithGroup

Moody Nolan Inc. in association with Antoine Predock Architect PC

Moshe Safdie and Associates Inc. in association with Sultan Campbell Britt & Associates

All six teams will send representatives to the Smithsonian Jan. 30 to participate in a design competition all-day orientation session during which the project will be described in more detail, and participants will receive information about the programmatic needs of the museum. Two months later, they will submit design concepts that may include models, schematics, renderings or other representations of the architects’ vision for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The design submissions will be on public display in the Smithsonian Castle later in the spring.

Costs for the design, construction and exhibition installations for the Museum will be shared equally between Congress and the Smithsonian. Construction of the building, which will be about the same size as the National Museum of the American Indian, is expected to begin in 2012 and open to the public in 2015.

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