This article, originally titled "DC’s Museum Of African American History Is The City’s Greenest," was originally published on Lance Hosey's Huffington Post blog. It is part of a four-part series about the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Fifteen years ago, when I worked on the design of a high-performance museum, the concept was considered so unusual that the media questioned the very idea. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) had only very recently introduced its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, so much of the public wasn’t familiar with the concept. Over the following decade, it became more and more popular in every building type, including museums. A watershed year was 2008. The Water + Life Museums in Hemet, CA, became the first LEED Platinum museum, quickly followed by the California Academy of Science, which has been called “the world’s greenest museum.” The same year, the Grand Rapids Art Museum became the first LEED-certified art museum. By 2016, International Museum Day could highlight ten LEED-certified museums in the US alone.
Now the Smithsonian has completed its first LEED Gold project, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). (The Silver-rated National Museum of the American Indian [NMAI] was the first Smithsonian project to become a certified green building, although it wasn’t designed to this standard and didn’t achieve it until seven years after opening in 2004.) By many measures, the NMAAHC is easily the greenest museum in Washington.
This article, originally titled "The Space of Resistance," was originally published on Lance Hosey's Huffington Post blog. It is part of a four-part series about the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The city can be a powerful form of political myth, and Washington, DC, is the premier example.
Political myths dramatize historical events for ideological purposes, in order to strengthen the authority of the status quo. For example, America’s Founding Fathers often are portrayed as motivated only by a virtuous desire for universal freedom and equality, a simplistic depiction that ignores the complex socioeconomic forces behind the Revolution. The National Mall, its buildings, and its monuments, are America’s foundation myth writ large in stone and space. Manfredo Tafuri called the image of the District of Columbia “a timeless, indisputable, completely ‘positive’ Olympus” whose creation “presupposed great optimism and was thoroughly opposed to any polemical doubt.”
In this sense, the city as political myth is ripe for protest, and the National Mall has been the site of many of the most important protests in American history. Most often, these events consist only of people gathering for demonstration. Sometimes, however, they involve building.
The architectural team comprised of Davis Brody Bond and Kieran Timberlake has unveiled its newest updates on the design for 181 Mercer, a 735,000-square-foot complex for New York University that will replace a 35-year-old gym facility and become NYU’s largest classroom building, as well as a space for performing arts, athletics, and students and faculty housing.
Marks Barfield Architects and Davis Brody Bond have revealed plans for the “Chicago Skyline” an aerial cable car attraction spanning from the Chicago Riverfront to Navy Pier and through Downtown along the Riverwalk. The project, still seeking permission, is meant to enable visitors to experience the fabled Chicago skyline in a new way, viewing the city and lakefront from custom-designed pods or “gondolas”. The design shares many similarities with the pill-like capsules surrounding the London Eye, which was also designed by Marks Barfield Architects. The Skyline is being marketed as a practical solution to link Navy Pier to the transit network within the Chicago Loop.
While Eliel and Eero Saarinen may be the most well known father-son architect duo, they are certainly not the only pair to have left their mark in the field. As far back as the 1700s, the Gabriel father and son dynasty (Jacques V and Ange-Jacques) constructed much of Versailles, and more recently both I.M. Pei and Lewis Davis have passed their legacy onto their sons. In honor of Father's Day, we look at four father-son architecture dynasties and their lasting influence on the profession, after the break.
As the culmination of a five-month selection process, New York University (NYU) has announced that Davis Brody Bond and KieranTimberlake will be designing its major new facility along Mercer Street between Houston and Bleecker in New York. The facility's many uses will include classrooms, teaching spaces for performing arts, a state-of-the-art sports facility, and student and faculty housing.
"Typically, museums are icons that contain exhibits. This is the inverse: the exhibit is the icon."
New York City have released images of fourteen tower proposals as part of a controversial scheme to bring affordable housing to the 85 acre Brooklyn Bridge Park, originally designed by Michael van Valkenburgh and realised in 2004. The schemes, designed to be located on “two coveted development sites” on Pier 6, have been actively met with strong opposition from local community members. The park and surrounding area has seen a number of interesting recent regeneration proposals, from an 11,000ft² beach beneath the Brooklyn Bridge to a triangular pier proposed by BIG. Read on to see the proposals in detail, including those by Asymptote, Pelli Clarke Pelli, Davis Brody Bond, and Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).
Yesterday the Frick Collection announced its plans for a 6-story extension to its gallery in New York, designed by Davis Brody Bond. This article by Robin Pogrebin in the New York Times outlines the details of the extension, as the Frick adds itself to the list of post-recession cultural building projects - a list which includes the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Miami's Pérez Art Museum. The article also outlines the challenges the Frick will have in expanding its landmarked 1914 building. Read the article in full here.
Set to open to the public on Wednesday after a highly controversial and contested journey from idea to reality, the September 11 Memorial Museum has inevitably been a talking point among critics this week. The museum by Davis Brody Bond occupies the space between the Memorial Plaza at ground level and the bedrock below, with an angular glass pavilion by Snøhetta providing an entrance from above. A long ramp, designed to recall the access ramp with which tons of twisted metal was excavated from the site, descends to the exhibits which sit within the perimeter boundaries of the twin towers' foundations, underneath the suspended volumes of Michael Arad's memorial fountains.
The content of the museum is obviously fraught with painful memories, and the entrance pavilion occupies a privileged position as the only surface level structure ground zero, in opposition to the great voids of the memorial itself. The discussion at the opening of the museum was therefore always going to center on whether the design of the museum - both its built form and the exhibitions contained - were sensitive and appropriate enough for this challenging brief. Read the critics' takes on the results after the break.
Today marked the ceremonially opening of the National September 11 Memorial Museum. Set to officially open to the public next Wednesday (May 21), the subterranean museum has already made headlines for its emotional 70 foot decent to the bedrock of the World Trade Center Towers.
Prior to entering the museum’s interior, visitors must first walk past the footprints of the Twin Towers, commemorated by Handel Architects’ cascading granite voids, before entering a Snøhetta-designed stainless steel and glass pavilion that is the museum’s entrance.
As Snøhetta’s founding partner, Craig Dyker describes, the pavilion’s main purpose is to serve as the “threshold between the everyday life of the city and the uniquely spiritual quality of the Memorial.”
More about the pavilion from the architects, after the break...
In August, we reported a Request for Qualifications for the renovation of Mies van der Rohe's Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Memorial Library in Washington D.C. - Mies' only library and the only building in D.C. A few days ago, the District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL) narrowed down the list of potential firms from 26 to 10 and revealed that it was looking for community input on the library's future spaces and services.
The ten firms that made the cut are:
The Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has announced the selection of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects and Davis Brody Bond to design the New Embassy Compound (NEC) in Mexico City, Mexico. After an intense round of presentations and interviews, the duo was selected from a talented shortlist of nine architectural/engineering teams. As reported on the Latin American Herald Tribune, the jury believed that “their portfolio of work is compatible to the local culture and shows sensitivity that highlights their connection to the character of the site.”
National Mall Winning Design Proposal for Union Square / Gustafson Guthrie Nichol + Davis Brody Bond
Seattle-based landscape architects Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN) and New York-based architects Davis Brody Bond (DBB) were recently selected as the winners of the National Mall Design Competition for Union Square. Organized by the Trust for the National Mall, a jury of eight esteemed professionals selected a design team for each of the three re-design sites of the National Mall through a three-stage process. The winning design was judged on flexibility, sustainability, and creativity of their design and how well it reflects the established vision and design influences of this historic setting. More images and architects’ description after the break.
After an intense and highly publicized competition, the Trust for the National Mall has announced the three winning teams selected to redesign the neglected sites of America’s front yard. As reported by the Washington Post, Rogers Marvel Architects & Peter Walker and Partners will redesign Constitution Gardens east of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, while Weiss/Manfredi & OLIN will bring new life to the Sylvan Theater, southeast of the Washington Monument. The Union Square will be forwarded to the Architect of the Capitol and transformed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol & Davis Brody Bond.
Continue reading for more on the winning proposals.
The ten finalists competing in the final phase of the National Mall Design Competition are dreaming big. Proposals to restore the National Mall include flourishing lakeside gardens, contemporary cafés hovering over water, grassy new amphitheaters and underground pavilions exposed at the foot of the Washington Monument. Since the announcement of the finalists, the teams have been refining there proposals behind closed doors.
Now, the Trust for the National Mall has released the highly anticipated proposals to the public. From now until Sunday, at the Smithsonian Castle and the National Museum of American History, you can view each proposal in its entirety. If you don’t live in the D.C. area, no need to worry. Continue after the break to catch a glimpse of each submission and learn how you can help the jury decided who will revamp America’s “front yard”.
We have been covering the progress of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture over the last several months, our most recent being President Obama’s speech at the ceremony for the official ground breaking. Adjaye Associates recently shared with us some insight into the inspiration for the design and its grounding principles. We also have several new perspective renders illustrating the internal experience. More details after the break.