- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has named Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup yesterday to design its eagerly awaited building on the Mall.

The team was selected unanimously by an 11-member jury led by museum Director Lonnie G. Bunch over five other finalists.

Sited on one of the most prestigious plots in Washington, the museum will occupy a five-acre empty parcel on the southwest corner of Constitution Avenue and 14th Street NW. It will offer spectacular views of the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and White House from upper-story windows behind a corona of perforated metal panels.

“We were choosing a design team, not just a design concept,” Mr. Bunch said at yesterday’s press briefing. He noted the proposed architecture will undergo revisions as federal agencies, including the National Capital Planning Commission and National Park Service, review the project over the next few years.

Compared with the five other building proposals, the four-story design by Freelon Adjaye Bond and the SmithGroup is the most understated. It sets the upper-story galleries on a stone-clad plinth, an arrangement similar to the National Museum of American History directly across 14th Street from the site.


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