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Video: President Obama Inaugurates the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

14:20 - 27 September, 2016
© Darren Bradley
© Darren Bradley

“What we can see of this building, the towering glass, the artistry of the metalwork, is surely a sight to behold.”

These were the words spoken by President Barack Obama as he inaugurated the most recent addition to the National Mall in Washington D.C., the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, this past weekend. The opening ceremonies featured musical performances and celebrations, as well as a look at the museum’s place in American history.

“This national museum helps to tell a richer and fuller story of who we are,” said Obama. “It helps us better understand the lives, yes, of the president but also the slave, the industrialist but also the porter, the keeper of the status quo but also the activist seeking to overthrow that status quo.”

Critical Round-Up: The National Museum of African American History and Culture

09:30 - 21 September, 2016
Critical Round-Up: The National Museum of African American History and Culture, © Darren Bradley
© Darren Bradley

A century since the founding of the National Memorial Association and the start of a campaign by African-American war veterans for a monument of African American culture, the National Museum of African American History and Culture will finally be opened on September 24th. The Museum took $540 million and four years to build, resulting in a striking, and refreshingly unorthodox, architectural construction on Washington DC’s National Mall. The Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup JJR team, led by Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye, defiantly broke the white-marble-Corinthian-column convention, opting instead for a bronze-coated aluminum façade bound to provoke a reaction from the critics.

© Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence © Darren Bradley © Darren Bradley +19

Frank Gehry's Eisenhower Memorial One Step Closer to Realization After Finally Receiving Family Support

15:45 - 20 September, 2016
Frank Gehry's Eisenhower Memorial One Step Closer to Realization After Finally Receiving Family Support, Rendering from the memorial's most recent iteration. Image © Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission
Rendering from the memorial's most recent iteration. Image © Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission

After years of steadfast disapproval of the proposed design for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C., the Eisenhower family has finally voiced their support for the Frank Gehry designed park and monument – once a few more minor changes are made.

The 15-year-long process has already seen a multitude of design tweaks and revisions, but it appeared to have been decisively green-lit last summer following final approval by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). In the past year, however, the project has once again stalled, as the Eisenhower Memorial Commission has struggled to find private donors following the withdrawal of congressional funding for the project in 2013.

Studio Gang Selected to Design Next Iteration of National Building Museum's Summer Block Party

14:00 - 4 September, 2016
Studio Gang Selected to Design Next Iteration of National Building Museum's Summer Block Party , Studio Gang’s Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Image © Hedrich Blessing
Studio Gang’s Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Image © Hedrich Blessing

Studio Gang has been selected to design next year’s installation of the Summer Block Party at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. The temporary exhibition will be the latest in the Museum’s annual series, after this year’s ICEBERGS by James Corner Field Operations, and previous installations like Snarkitecture’s The BEACH in 2015, and Bjarke Ingels Group’s BIG Maze in 2014. 

David Adjaye Discusses the Narrative of the National Museum of African American History

09:30 - 30 August, 2016
David Adjaye Discusses the Narrative of the National Museum of African American History, The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), which will occupy the last available site on the National Mall, was a challenge for British architect David Adjaye, who is known for designing buildings that are highly referential to their surroundings. Image © Alan Karchmer
The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), which will occupy the last available site on the National Mall, was a challenge for British architect David Adjaye, who is known for designing buildings that are highly referential to their surroundings. Image © Alan Karchmer

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Constructing a Narrative."

It’s rare for an architect to have the opportunity to design a building in which symbolism and form are as important as function, if not more so. But this was the task given to David Adjaye when he won the commission to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), which, when it opens in September, will be the final Smithsonian institution to take its place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Adjaye, whose work is marked for its extreme sensitivity to context, found himself challenged in ways he had never been before. On the occasion of the completion of Adjaye’s Eugene McDermott Award residency at MIT, Metropolis editor Vanessa Quirk spoke with the architect about the new institution, its symbolic significance, and the blurry boundary between monument and museum.

© Alan Karchmer © Alan Karchmer With no dense urban context to draw from, Adjaye eventually found inspiration in the classical vernacular. Indeed, the angle of the building’s facade matches that of the Washington Monument’s pyramid. Image © Alan Karchmer The three tiers of the building organize the spatial experience of the museum into past, present, and future. Image © Alan Karchmer +8

The Latest LEGO® Architecture Set: The U.S. Capitol Building

11:00 - 15 August, 2016
The Latest LEGO® Architecture Set: The U.S. Capitol Building, Courtesy of LEGO®
Courtesy of LEGO®

LEGO® has unveiled the newest kit in their Architecture series: The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Originally designed by architect William Thornton in 1793, the building has gone through several iterations, including the addition of its iconic white, cast-iron, neoclassical dome in 1866. The 1,032 piece LEGO® set portrays the building in its current form, with its “striking white, columned façade with its famous steps and lawns.”  The kit also features a removable dome, which, when lifted off, reveals “a detailed interior depicting the famous National Statuary Hall, complete with columns, statues and tiled floor.”

Courtesy of LEGO® Courtesy of LEGO® Courtesy of LEGO® Courtesy of LEGO® +10

Gallery: David Adjaye's National Museum of African American History and Culture Photographed by Paul Clemence

14:00 - 11 August, 2016
Gallery: David Adjaye's National Museum of African American History and Culture Photographed by Paul Clemence, © Paul Clemence
© Paul Clemence

Photographer Paul Clemence of ARCHI-PHOTO has shared with us images of Adjaye Associates' nearly-completed Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The building draws inspiration from the nearby Washington Monument, mirroring the 17-degree angle of its capstone in the museum’s tiered corona. Adjaye has described the building’s ornamental bronze lattice as “a historical reference to African American craftsmanship.” The skin can also be modulated to control the transparency and amount of sunlight reaching the interior spaces. The building will open to the public on September 24, 2016.

Continue on for Clemence’s full photoset.

© Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence +34

ODA Designs D.C. Development With Views into Nationals Park

16:15 - 5 August, 2016
ODA Designs D.C. Development With Views into Nationals Park, © Luxigon
© Luxigon

ODA New York has released plans for “West Half,” a mixed-use development for the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood of Washington, D.C., that will offer residents views into baseball games at the adjacent Nationals Park. The 11-story building will also feature two floors of retail space and community amenities as it becomes a new visual complement to the neighboring cultural landmark.

© Luxigon © Luxigon © Luxigon © Luxigon +16

Hou de Sousa Completes Construction on Raise/Raze and Sticks

08:00 - 28 July, 2016
Hou de Sousa Completes Construction on Raise/Raze and Sticks, Courtesy of Hou de Sousa
Courtesy of Hou de Sousa

Hou de Sousa (Nancy Hou and Josh de Sousa) has completed construction on Raise/Raze and Sticks, two competition winners for temporary installations in Washington, DC and New York, respectively.

Through Raise/Raze, the firm reused plastic balls from Snarkitecture’s “The Beach” at the National Building Museum to create an installation in DC’s Dupont Underground, a contemporary arts and culture space repurposed from an abandoned trolley station. Raise/Raze opened on April 30, and closed on June 1.

Located at the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, New York, Sticks is a multi-purpose pavilion space made of standard dimension lumber and accented with scrap wood found on-site. The pavilion opened on July 9, and will close December 31.

Courtesy of Hou de Sousa Courtesy of Hou de Sousa Courtesy of Hou de Sousa Courtesy of Hou de Sousa +20

James Corner Field Operations' ICEBERGS Brings the Chill to the National Building Museum

12:20 - 11 July, 2016
James Corner Field Operations' ICEBERGS Brings the Chill to the National Building Museum, © ICEBERGS at the National Building Museum, by James Corner Field Operations. Photo by Timothy Schenck.
© ICEBERGS at the National Building Museum, by James Corner Field Operations. Photo by Timothy Schenck.

This year’s installment of the National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party Series, James Corner Field Operations’ ICEBERGS, is now open to the public. On display until September 5th, ICEBERGS takes the form of a shimmering, underwater world of glacial ice fields located in the museum’s expansive Great Hall to provide the public with an escape from the hot Washington, D.C. summer.

© ICEBERGS at the National Building Museum, by James Corner Field Operations. Photo by Timothy Schenck. © ICEBERGS at the National Building Museum, by James Corner Field Operations. Photo by Timothy Schenck. © ICEBERGS at the National Building Museum, by James Corner Field Operations. Photo by Timothy Schenck. © ICEBERGS at the National Building Museum, by James Corner Field Operations. Photo by Timothy Schenck. +14

Watch as James Corner Field Operation's "Icebergs" Comes Together at the National Building Museum

12:00 - 8 July, 2016

Building on the popularity of Snarkitecture's popular BEACH last year and BIG's massive Labyrinth in 2014, the National Building Museum's 2016 Summer Block Party installation has returned this year with "ICEBERGS," designed by James Corner Field Operations. ICEBERGS is an interactive underwater environment of glacial ice spanning the museum's Great Hall, and invites in the public to escape the hot Washington D.C. summer by exploring climbable bergs, ice chutes, caves, grottos and more.

Take a look at this time lapse video to see how the project came together.

REX Designs a Concave and Crystalline Office Building for Washington DC

16:30 - 19 May, 2016
REX Designs a Concave and Crystalline Office Building for Washington DC, © Luxigon
© Luxigon

REX has released designs for 2050 M Street, an office building in Washington DC’s Golden Triangle Business District. The 41,800 square meter (450,000 square foot) building evolves and merges two existing typologies in the US Capitol: heavy masonry or concrete buildings, with high relief facades and punched windows – in styles ranging from Beaux Arts to Neoclassical, Art Deco and Brutalist – or modern structures with taut glass envelopes, many with applied decorative treatments. To reconcile these two competing strategies, 2050 M Street provides hyper-transparent, floor to ceiling glass, without view-impeding mullions. From the exterior, the panels appear scooped or concave, establishing that an all-glass building can also have a high-relief facade befitting of the nation’s capitol.

© Luxigon © Luxigon © Luxigon © Luxigon +13

Hou De Sousa Win Two Competitions with Raise/Raze and Sticks Proposals

12:00 - 19 April, 2016
Hou De Sousa Win Two Competitions with Raise/Raze and Sticks Proposals, Courtesy of Hou de Sousa
Courtesy of Hou de Sousa

Hou de Sousa (Nancy Hou and Josh de Sousa) have recently won two competitions for temporary installations in Washington DC and New York, both using salvaged materials. The first, Raise/Raze, is the winning proposal for DC’s Dupont Underground, an abandoned trolley station repurposed as a contemporary arts and culture space. The project reuses the balls from Snarkitecture’s “The Beach” installation at the National Building Museum for a new environment-generating initiative, which opens on April 30.

As winners of the 2016 Folly Competition held by the Architectural League of New York, Hou de Sousa will also soon build a pavilion in Socrates Sculpture Park, in Queens. A simple wooden canopy, the structure is a multi-purpose space made of standard dimensional lumber, but has been accentuated with shingles of scrap wood found on-site. Known as Sticks, the pavilion will open to the public on July 9.

Courtesy of Hou de Sousa Courtesy of Hou de Sousa Courtesy of Hou de Sousa Courtesy of Hou de Sousa +20

OMA Reveals Plans to Redevelop Washington DC's RFK Stadium Campus

12:35 - 6 April, 2016
OMA Reveals Plans to Redevelop Washington DC's RFK Stadium Campus, "Stitch" Layout. Image © Robota
"Stitch" Layout. Image © Robota

Two conceptual plans designed by OMA have been unveiled for the redevelopment of Washington DC's 190-acre Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Stadium-Armory Campus site. Released by Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, the phased design concepts aim to "leverage the District's waterfront, provide neighborhood serving amenities and connect the current site with increased and sustainable green space, flexible recreational fields and natural access to pedestrian-friendly paths."

Finding a Place in History: Joseph Weishaar on His Winning WWI Memorial Design

09:30 - 3 February, 2016
Finding a Place in History: Joseph Weishaar on His Winning WWI Memorial Design, Courtesy of The World War I Centennial Commission
Courtesy of The World War I Centennial Commission

Last week, the World War I Centennial Commission announced architect Joseph Weishaar and sculptor Sabin Howard as the winners of the WWI Memorial Competition held to redesign Washington, DC’s Pershing Park for the 100th anniversary of the conflict. For Weishaar, a 25-year-old project architect at Chicago firm Brininstool + Lynch, the key to the design was to integrate elements of both a park and a memorial into a cohesive whole; his design, "The Weight of Sacrifice," incorporates a raised lawn surrounded on three sides by memorial walls with sculptures designed by Howard. ArchDaily was given the opportunity to sit down with Weishaar to learn more about his winning memorial design, his response to the park’s critique, and what the future could hold for the young architect.

Courtesy of The World War I Centennial Commission Courtesy of The World War I Centennial Commission Courtesy of The World War I Centennial Commission Courtesy of The World War I Centennial Commission +15

Winning Design Selected for the World War I Memorial in DC

10:00 - 28 January, 2016
Winning Design Selected for the World War I Memorial in DC, Courtesy of The World War I Centennial Commission
Courtesy of The World War I Centennial Commission

After announcing five finalists in August of 2015, the World War I Centennial Commission has announced the winner of its National World War I Memorial competition: The Weight of Sacrifice by 25-year-old architect Joe Weishaar and sculptor Sabin Howard. The design focuses on the sacrificial cost of war through relief sculpture, quotations of soldiers, and a freestanding sculpture. Visitors are guided through the memorial’s changing elevations by quotation walls that describe the war from the point of view of generals, politicians, and soldiers.

Re-Ball! A Design Competition by the Dupont Underground

19:56 - 4 January, 2016
Re-Ball! A Design Competition by the Dupont Underground

Re-Ball! is an open design competition to turn 650,000+ 3-inch, white, translucent plastic balls into a site-specific installation in the Dupont Underground’s 14,000-square-foot east platform. The balls were previously part of the National Building Museum’s blockbuster 2015 summer destination The Beach.
The winning concept will take the medium in a new direction, one that responds to the uniqueness of the installation site. From the open, light-filled box of the National Building Museum’s Great Hall to the curving concrete volume of the Dupont Underground's east platform, Re-Ball! entries should transform the constituent materials — and the space itself — into an entirely

Dallas Architecture Forum Presents Kevin McClurkan

02:30 - 31 October, 2015
Dallas Architecture Forum Presents Kevin McClurkan, William J. Clinton Presidential Center by Ennead Architects. Photo by Timothy Hursley
William J. Clinton Presidential Center by Ennead Architects. Photo by Timothy Hursley


Dallas Architecture Forum, a non-profit organization for everyone interested in learning about and improving the architecture, design, landscape and urban fabric of the North Texas region is pleased to continue its 2015-16 Lecture Season with the outstanding architect Kevin McClurkan, Management Partner of Ennead Architects of New York City. McClurkan's many major projects include the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock; the Newseum adjacent to the US Capitol in Washington, DC; and The Standard hotel on the High Line Park in New York City. He will speak on Tuesday, November 3 at 7 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium