It has 85,000 SF of exhibition space housed on five floors. The enveloping lattice also opens the building to exterior daylight, which can be modulated according to the season. The building was designed to achieve LEED Gold Certification, becoming the first museum on the Mall designed to sustainability standards, and serving as the Smithsonian’s ‘Green Flag’.
Our Field Survey Crews identified the location and the extension of the column lines and windows and integrated them into the survey control and structure layout. VIKA also verified benchmark elevations and angles of steel at the top of each level.
From one perspective of the building, its architecture follows classical Greco-Roman form in its use of a base and shaft, topped by a capital or corona. For the museum, the corona is inspired by the three-tiered crowns used in Yoruban art from West Africa. The entire building is wrapped in an ornamental bronze-colored metal lattice that pays homage to the intricate ironwork crafted by enslaved African Americans in Louisiana, South Carolina, and elsewhere.