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Smithsonian National Museum of African American History Wins 2017 Design of the Year

10:05 - 26 January, 2018
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History Wins 2017 Design of the Year, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. / Adjaye Associates, The Freelon Group, Davis Brody Bond, SmithGroupJJR for the Smithsonian Institution. Image Courtesy of The Design Museum in London
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. / Adjaye Associates, The Freelon Group, Davis Brody Bond, SmithGroupJJR for the Smithsonian Institution. Image Courtesy of The Design Museum in London

Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup’s Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. has been selected as the winner of the Beazley Design of the Year for 2017.

Presented by the Design Museum in London, the award is given to the project that best meets the criteria of design that “promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year.”

See more from the overall winner and each of the category winners, below.

Renderings Revealed for New Residential Building at Hudson Yards in New York

16:00 - 6 June, 2017
Renderings Revealed for New Residential Building at Hudson Yards in New York, Courtesy of Related Companies
Courtesy of Related Companies

How the NMAAHC Became the Greenest Museum in Washington DC

09:30 - 20 January, 2017
How the NMAAHC Became the Greenest Museum in Washington DC, National Museum of African American History and Culture, west facade. Image © Darren Bradley
National Museum of African American History and Culture, west facade. Image © Darren Bradley

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.

How the NMAAHC Carves Out a "Space of Resistance" on the National Mall

09:30 - 4 January, 2017
How the NMAAHC Carves Out a "Space of Resistance" on the National Mall, © Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC
© Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC

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.

Davis Brody Bond and Kieran Timberlake Unveil Designs for NYU Complex in New York

06:00 - 14 December, 2016

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 Propose Chicago Skyline Cablecar

16:00 - 4 May, 2016
Marks Barfield Architects and Davis Brody Bond Propose Chicago Skyline Cablecar, Courtesy of Marks Barfield Architects and Davis Brody Bond
Courtesy of Marks Barfield Architects and Davis Brody Bond

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.

Like Father, Like Son: 4 Famous Architecture Dynasties

08:00 - 21 June, 2015
Like Father, Like Son: 4 Famous Architecture Dynasties, Gateway Arch / Eero Saarinen. Image Courtesy of Flickr CC Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, NPS https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffnps/
Gateway Arch / Eero Saarinen. Image Courtesy of Flickr CC Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, NPS https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffnps/

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. 

Davis Brody Bond to Expand Baltimore's National Great Blacks in Wax Museum

17:30 - 8 May, 2015
Davis Brody Bond to Expand Baltimore's National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, © Davis Brody Bond
© Davis Brody Bond

Davis Brody Bond's plan to expand Baltimore's National Great Blacks in Wax Museum has been approved. As the Baltimore Business Journal reports, the $75 million overhaul hopes to foresee a significant increase in attendance, bringing in more than 500,000 visitors annually. 

A destination for both tourists and locals, the expanded museum will open itself to the surrounding community beyond normal operating hours. It will house a multi-purpose space, retail, orientation theatre, changing gallery and educational programs as well as the museum and a bus drop-off on the main thoroughfare. 

© Davis Brody Bond © Davis Brody Bond Courtyard. Image © Davis Brody Bond Roof. Image © Davis Brody Bond + 15

Davis Brody Bond and KieranTimberlake Chosen to Design New NYU Facility

00:00 - 18 December, 2014
Davis Brody Bond and KieranTimberlake Chosen to Design New NYU Facility, US Embassy in London / KieranTimberlake Architects
US Embassy in London / KieranTimberlake Architects

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. 

Video: A Conversation with the Architects of the 9/11 Memorial Museum

00:00 - 23 November, 2014

"Typically, museums are icons that contain exhibits. This is the inverse: the exhibit is the icon." 

Fourteen Tower Proposals Unveiled for Controversial Brooklyn Bridge Park Development

01:00 - 8 August, 2014
Fourteen Tower Proposals Unveiled for Controversial Brooklyn Bridge Park Development, S9 Architecture's proposal. Image Courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation via Architects Newspaper
S9 Architecture's proposal. Image Courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation via Architects Newspaper

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 AsymptotePelli Clarke Pelli, Davis Brody Bond, and Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).

Asymptote Architecture´s proposal. Image Courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation via Architects Newspaper Pelli Clarke Pelli's proposal. Image Courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation via Architects Newspaper BIG´s + Alloy Design's proposal. Image Courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation via Architects Newspaper WASA Studio's proposal. Image Courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation via Architects Newspaper + 42

Frick Collection to Expand With New 6 Story Gallery

00:00 - 11 June, 2014
Frick Collection to Expand With New 6 Story Gallery, The Frick Collection's existing building in New York. Image © Flickr CC User t-mizo
The Frick Collection's existing building in New York. Image © Flickr CC User t-mizo

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.

Critical Round-Up: The September 11 Memorial Museum

00:00 - 16 May, 2014
Critical Round-Up: The September 11 Memorial Museum, Two salvaged columns from the towers, placed inside Snøhetta's entrance building. Image © Jeff Goldberg / ESTO
Two salvaged columns from the towers, placed inside Snøhetta's entrance building. Image © Jeff Goldberg / ESTO

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.

National September 11 Memorial Museum Celebrates Opening

01:00 - 15 May, 2014
National September 11 Memorial Museum Celebrates Opening, © Jeff Goldberg / ESTO
© Jeff Goldberg / ESTO

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...

9/11 Memorial Museum / Davis Brody Bond

00:00 - 21 March, 2014
9/11 Memorial Museum / Davis Brody Bond, Design Study for Foundation Hall featuring the Last Column. Image © Red Square Design
Design Study for Foundation Hall featuring the Last Column. Image © Red Square Design

With completion in sight (May 2014), Davis Brody Bond has released detailed information on the design of the subterranean 9/11 Memorial Museum in Manhattan. Located beneath the sculptural voids that form the 9/11 Memorial, the new museum has transformed a fixed set of geometric constraints into an emotional journey that gently descends visitors 70 feet below the ground level to the original foundations of the World Trade Center towers. 

St. Elizabeths East Gateway Pavilion / Davis Brody Bond

00:00 - 26 December, 2013
St. Elizabeths East Gateway Pavilion / Davis Brody Bond, © Eric Taylor
© Eric Taylor

© Eric Taylor © Eric Taylor © Eric Taylor © Eric Taylor + 10

  • Architects

  • Location

    Washington, DC, USA
  • Architect in Charge

    Peter Cook
  • Project Advisor

    Will Paxson
  • Project Designer

    Rob Anderson
  • Photographs

Ten Firms Shortlisted to Renovate Mies' MLK Jr. Memorial Library in D.C.

00:00 - 31 October, 2013
Ten Firms Shortlisted to Renovate Mies' MLK Jr. Memorial Library in D.C., Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library / Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Image © Flickr user Elvert Barnes
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library / Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Image © Flickr user Elvert Barnes

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:

Williams Tsien and Davis Brody Bond selected for new U.S. Embassy in Mexico City

19:00 - 24 June, 2012
Williams Tsien and Davis Brody Bond selected for new U.S. Embassy in Mexico City

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.”