Dezeen Magazine

National Museum of African American History and Culture by Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup

Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup - a team consisting of architects Adjaye Associates, The Freelon Group and David Brody Bond Aedas - has won a competition to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture on National Mall in Washington DC, USA.


Their design was chosed from a shortlist of six by the Smithsonian Institution. The other shortlisted architects were Foster & Partners, Pei Cobb Freed, Moshe Safdie, Devrouax & Purnell Architects, Diller Scofido & Renfro and Moody Noland  with Antoine Predock.


Images courtesy of Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup. Renderings by Imaging Atelier.

Here's some info from Davis Brody Bond Aedas:


Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup Selected for National Museum of African American History and Culture

Smithsonian Announces Design Competition Winner for $500 million Addition to the National Mall


Washington, DC, April 14, 2009 —The Smithsonian today announced that Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup has been chosen as the architectural team to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture to be located on the National Mall near the Washington Monument. The selection was made by a jury chaired by Museum Director Lonnie G. Bunch III. Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup was among six architectural firms that entered a design competition in January.


“I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with this talented team,” said Bunch. “Their vision and spirit of collaboration moved all members of the design competition jury. I am confident that they will give us a building that will be an important addition to the National Mall and to the architecture of this city.”


Steven M. Davis, FAIA, Partner of Davis Brody Bond said, "This is an obviously exciting day for us.  The opportunity to design a landmark building on the last great site of the National Mall is something beyond our dreams.  The experience working with this fantastic collaboration of Phil Freelon and David Adjaye has been immensely gratifying.  Considering the strength of the competition, we are truly honored to have been selected."


This project represents the culmination of the career and legacy of J. Max Bond, Jr., FAIA who died on February 18, 2009 in the middle of the design competition phase.  Steven Davis, FAIA, affirms, "The joy of this moment comes with mixed emotions.  Max Bond who was my partner for over 20 years worked tirelessly in conceiving the programming and design of our submission.  We miss him especially on this incredible day."

Freelon Adjaye Bond said in its design concept materials, “The National Museum of African American History and Culture—the institution and the building—embodies the African American spirit. Majestic yet exuberant, dignified yet triumphant, the building will be worthy of the museum’s vision, and its prominent place on the National Mall.”

The core design team selected by the Smithsonian consists of three firms—The Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates, and Davis Brody Bond. The Freelon Group will ensure that the design reflects the values and priorities of the museum and the Smithsonian. The Freelon Group designed the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture in Baltimore. Adjaye Associates will focus on the formal development and refinement of the building design. Adjaye Associates designed the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, Norway, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver. Davis Brody Bond will have the primary role of assuring adherence of the design to the program and vision.  Davis Brody Bond is the Design Architect for the National September 11 Museum and, as Associate Architect, is executing the design of the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center.  The firm also led the restoration and expansion of the New York Public Library.  The Smith Group joined the FAB team to provide the resources necessary for delivering the design documents. The SmithGroup is an international architectural and engineering firm with offices in Washington, D.C., that designed the Normandy American Cemetery Interpretive Center in France.  This unique collaboration combines a multi-generational understanding of African American culture with the ability to execute one of the nation’s most significant civic institutions.

The Freelon Group and Davis Brody Bond led the programming study for the museum which was completed in the fall of 2008 and are intimately familiar with the mission of the museum.

The building design will take up to three years, with construction to begin in 2012. Set to open in 2015, the museum’s total cost is estimated to be $500 million, including design. During the design phase, the Smithsonian will seek approval from the National Capital Planning Commission. In addition, the Institution will continue to consult with other Washington, D.C., agencies and organizations, including the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the National Park Service and the National Coalition to Save Our Mall.

Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup was one of 22 teams that responded to the Request for Qualifications in summer 2008. The six firms selected to participate in the design competition were announced in January 2009.  The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established in 2003 by an Act of Congress. Although it does not have a building yet, the museum is collecting artifacts; conducting seminars and symposia, including a recent two-day program on Black Power; gathering African American oral histories for StoryCorps, a joint program with National Public Radio and the Library of Congress; and creating traveling exhibitions such as “Let Your Motto Be Resistance.” In addition, the museum has its own gallery in the National Museum of American History, which currently is exhibiting “The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington: Picturing the Promise.”

About Davis Brody Bond Aedas:

Headquartered in New York and with offices in Washington, DC; São Paulo, Brazil; and Seattle, Washington, Davis Brody Bond is among the nation’s leading architectural design firms. Known for innovative solutions to complex design challenges, the firm’s work encompasses university facilities, housing, corporate offices, industrial and institutional buildings. The firm has been honored with more than 100 major design awards including the American Institute of Architects Firm Award, the highest honor given to an architectural practice as well as the 2000 Presidential Design Award for Excellence.

Among it’s commissions are such diverse projects as a new infill building and restoration of the historic New York Public Library, the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center at Northwestern University, research facilities for Harvard University, industrial facilities in Central and South America for Valeo, the Data Processing and Administrative Center for the U.S. Census Bureau, and the master planning and design of a new university in Zimbabwe. Davis Brody Bond is the Design Architect for the National September 11 Museum and, as Associate Architect, is executing the design of the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center.