This program is over.

Hope you didn't miss it!  Find more programs here.

The Architecture of a Vision: Designing the Smithsonian’s Newest Museum

Evening Seminar

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Code: 1W0007

Text Size
- +

When the National Museum of African American History and Culture opens in 2015, the National Mall will have a new landmark. One significant reason will be its design, a bronze-coated structure that resembles a crown rising in three boldly angular sections.

The design rests on several cornerstones: the overall inspiration of the creativity of enslaved artisans in the American south; the corona shape of the building that reflects traditional Yoruban art and architecture; the distinctive bronze filigree envelope; and the grand “porch” that extends the museum into the Mall’s landscape.

The crown form also provides a thematic framework for the building’s interior. Elements of wood, water, glass, metal, and light combine to create an evocative setting for the museum’s exhibits, collections, and activities and give a physical expression to its vision.

How is that expression realized? What are the creative and technical processes that translate a museum’s mission into a physical identity?

Join Lonnie G. Bunch, the museum’s director, in conversation with architects David Adjaye and Philip Freelon of Freelon Adjaye Bond/Smith Group as they discuss the development of the design and preview the building.

Smithsonian Connections

Take a virtual tour of the museum, and get a real-time look at the building’s progress through the “construction camera.”



The New Yorker
A Sense of Place   by Calvin Tomkins
How the architect of Washington's forthcoming African-American museum evolved a new style.
Read article>>


The Wall Street Journal
Architect David Adjaye's World View     by Ian Volner
With his plans for the Smithsonian's African American museum and a host of other groundbreaking projects—from Manhattan to Moscow, Longon to Lagos—WSJ. Magazine's Architecture Innovator of 2013 is forging a new kind of global architecture. Read article>>



S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Drive, SW
Metro: Smithsonian Mall Exit (Blue/Orange)