NMAAHC Opens in DC

John Hill
23. September 2016
Photo: Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC

Tomorrow, 24 September 2016, the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History & Culture will be dedicated in Washington, DC. To celebrate its much-anticipated opening, we present ten facts on the project through photos of the completed building.

1 - The NMAAHC is located on the last remaining plot of land on the National Mall, close to the White House and the Washington Monument; here the museum is seen from the top of the latter. (Photo: Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC)
2 - The building design is the product of a collaboration of four design firms that formed Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroupJJR: The Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates, Davis Brody Bond and the SmithGroupJJR. (Photo: Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC)
3 - Gustafson Guthrie Nichol led the landscape design, establishing the site itself as a critical component of the museum experience. The two entries into the site are marked by a gently curving plinth of highly polished stone and an entry fountain of moving and still water. (Photo: Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC)
4 - The main design feature of the building is the “Corona,” which consists of 3,600 bronze-colored cast-aluminum panels weighing a total of 230 tons. (Photo: Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC)
5 - David Adjaye's design of the Corona draws on imagery from both African and American history: the three-tiered shape is inspired by the Yoruban Caryatid, a traditional wooden column that features a crown or corona at its top; and the pattern of the exterior panels evokes the look of ornate 19th-century ironwork created by enslaved craftsmen in New Orleans. (Photo: Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC)
6 - The angle of the Corona's three tiers closely matches the angled top of the Washington Monument. (Photo: Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC)
7 - As visitors move through the exhibitions, a series of openings frame views of the important buildings along the Mall, including a vertical slot framing the Washington Monument, visible from the exterior in #5. (Photo: Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC)
8 - The escalators connecting the above- and below-grade galleries are located behind the Corona's filigree screen, making for one of the most memorable architectural experiences in the museum. (Photo: Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC)
9 - The best views are had from the roof, where NMAAHC staff offices and board room are located. (Photo: Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC)
10 - The museum's diminutive proportions – no taller than the surrounding buildings – is the result of placing nearly half the building below grade: five stories are above ground and four stories are below ground. (Photo: Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC)

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