Freelon Adjaye Bond to Design NMAAHC


The Smithsonian announced Tuesday [April 14th] that Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup [a collaboration between The Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates, and Davis Brody Bond] has been chosen from a group of six architects to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture – to be located in one of the last remaining sites on the National Mall. The project was chosen over those submitted by Diller Scofidio & Renfro, Norman Foster, Devrouax & Purnell and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects, Moody Nolan and Antoine Predock, and  Moshe Safdie and Associates – and will hopefully be on track for a 2015 opening.


Throughout the history of African-American struggle and celebration, there are these moments of praise,” he said. “It’s for us a deeply spiritual and powerful culture.

– David Adjaye on the the project

The building looks to be a metallic crown-like structure, sitting atop a stone base [complete with roof garden, seen below] – with skylights illuminating the interior, creating a sense of openness in the lobby spaces.


I have to say, I was pleasently surprised that this team won – not because of my feelings towards the design, but because I just assumed that this project being in Washington would mean that some Pei Cobb looking project would win, regardless of the ‘competition’. But I mean, who doesn’t like Adjaye’s work? The man is on some 9th dan level status, and this is no exception.

It seems to me that the project functions as an ‘object building’ [like every-other building in DC], without being in-your-face about it’s presence necessarily – or being architecture for architecture’s sake. GO check out the other entries, and maybe you’ll feel me – I’m a fan of Diller Scofidio & Renfro, but give me a break [plus, I’m not letting them off the hook for Boston’s ICA – that thing is not what everyone made it out to be].


I’m interested to see what’s going on with the patterning of this ‘crown’ thing – and of this undulating wooden [I think?] sculptural ceiling in the lobby. That, and maybe a more detailed explanation as to what makes this ‘African American’? I’m not sure it’s important that that plays a role in the actual form / appearance of the building – I’d just like to know how / in what ways it drove the design process.


::images + info courtesy of Davis Brody Bond – AMNP thanks to Jacqueline::

Posted: April 16th, 2009
at 1:13am by orangemenace

Categories: architecture,featured ninjas,competitions,museum

Comments: 1 comment


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  1. Congratulations to ALL involved.

    It looks beautiful and It’s about TIME!
    That was a difficult and small site to solve.

    And I hope the mediocre, provincial design culture of Washington DC does not “dumb it down” the way they do will all architecture and deign (see Norman Foster’s original design for the Portrait gallery space).

    Good luck and I am looking forward to more images as the design progresses.


    24 Apr 09 at 10:07 am



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