National Museum of
African American History and Culture

On September 2, 2010 he National Capital Planning Commission reviewed concept plans for the future National Museum of African American History and Culture at its September 2010 meeting. The facility will be located on a five-acre tract of land bounded by Constitution Avenue and Madison Drive, NW and 14th and 15th Streets, NW.

The proposed 315,000 square foot museum will house state-of-the-art galleries, program and administrative offices, a café, and support spaces. It will feature two distinct design elements: the “Porch,” which will function as the entry portico for the main museum entrance on Madison Drive, NW; and the “Corona,” which will rise above the “Porch” and serve as the building’s predominant focal point. The entire building will be clad in a porous, bronze-like material.

NCPC staff updated the Commission on the concept designs by Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup that were submitted for review by the Smithsonian Institution. Following the staff presentation the Commission provided favorable comments on the museum’s concept plans, commending the Smithsonian for coordinating extensively on the museum’s design with NCPC staff and other stakeholder agencies, an effort members said resulted in a better scaled and more efficient museum.

The Smithsonian and design team started with three different design concepts and blended and modified them to develop the current design. The most noticeable changes include a reduction in the size of the Corona and a change in the museum’s placement on the site. These improvements helped retain views of the Washington Monument from Constitution Avenue and improve access across the museum site.

“The National Museum of African American History and Culture will be a significant addition to the National Mall,” said NCPC Chairman L. Preston Bryant, Jr. “This design, although still in concept phase, is a positive example of how modern architecture can be successfully integrated into the landscape of a historic setting. As stewards of many of the most treasured places in the nation’s capital, NCPC looks forward to guiding the project through its subsequent design phases. Upon completion, I’ve no doubt this project will enable current and future generations to celebrate the important contributions of African Americans to the nation.”

The Commission anticipates seeing preliminary plans for the museum in spring 2011, to be followed by final plans at a date to be determined. Construction is expected to begin in 2012 and last for three years. Watch our video to learn more about the presentation and discussion.