Dezeen Magazine

BIG navy museum project

BIG and Frank Gehry among studios with "singular visions" for US Navy Museum

BIG, Gehry Partners and Perkins&Will are among the five studios that have been selected as finalists in a contest to design the future National Museum of the US Navy.

US governmental agency Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) released the winning designs from a competition launched to explore potential designs for the museum, which called for an expansion building for the institution's collections.

Bjarke Ingels rendering for Navy history museum
BIG's design for the National Museum of the US Navy comprises five long and glossy forms

According to consulting firm MGAC, which facilitated the contest, the prompt included requirements that the building be "modern" and "public facing" with six primary design areas including an atrium and marque gallery that include "the use of macro artifacts".

Though it is yet unclear how the design will be selected or implemented, the winning designs were all informed by the US Navy Yards in DC, including BIG's, which features five slender buildings with metallic roofs that will sit on top of the water.

Interiors of BIG's naval history museum concept
BIG's design was influeced by Bjarke Ingel's connection with boats

"As a Dane and a resident of a houseboat – a Norwegian ferry I converted into my family home – to imagine a museum for the United States Navy is a true labor of love!" said BIG founder Bjarke Ingels.

"The five buildings flow together to form an epic atrium cascading from the roof to the ground where all exhibitions will be visually and physically accessible upon arrival."

"This massive space will also serve as the majestic setting for ceremonies honoring those who served," he continued.

Gehry Partners Navy building interior
Gehry Partners put forward a design that has a partly glass roof and a series of boxy interior forms

Also among the winning designs was Gehry Partners' concept. This design comprised a large rectangular structure with a green roof interspersed with a glass ceiling.

Large, boxy forms would fill the interior of the structure like buildings within the primary envelope, protruding from a void in the glass roof.

Perkins&Will design for US navy museum
Perkins&Will designed a "sail-like" structure

Perkins&Will's design includes a series of "sail-like shapes" for the building's envelope.

"Our concept places visitors at the intersection of the three elemental forces—land, sea, and air –that shape the US Navy," said the studio's global design director Ralph Johnson.

"It's a tangible expression of the Navy’s honor, courage, and commitment."

The design includes a ceremonial courtyard and an atrium informed by the "hull of ships".

Quinn Evans design for Navy museum
Quinn Evans' design is a complex of rectilinear envelopes

New York design studio DLR Group's design was also selected and features a sculptural envelope that comes to a dramatic point like the bow of a ship and has a large swathe of glass on the facade that would allow passersby to see suspended airplanes on the interior.

Finally, Maryland studio Quinn Evans contributed a design that comprised a complex of boxy forms.

A spokesperson for the project told Dezeen that the final site for the new buildings has not been decided on.

DLR group design
DLR group conceptualised a building that takes shape from the bow of a modern ship

MGAC also said that the museum is looking into "the potential renovation of existing historical buildings" to go along with the designs.

Other similar museums planned for the United States include Gensler's Flight Test Museum in California, which was designed to look like the wings of aircraft.

More images

Navy Museum Design Competition
Quinn Evans
Navy Design Competition
Navy Museum by Perkins&Will interior
Navy Museum plan by Frank Gehry
Gehry Partners
Rendering of coast guard boat in Navy Museum concept by DLR Group
DLR Group