6 Breathtaking Designs For The New African-American Museum On The Mall

Plans for the final museum on the National Mall in Washington D.C. are beginning to fall into place! Yesterday the Smithsonian Institution opened an exhibit of the six architectural designs being considered for the new National Museum of African American History and Culture... and they are all breathtaking!

This past February, the Smithsonian chose six architectural firms to create concepts for the $500 million museum, which will be built on 5 acres between the National Museum of American History and the Washington Monument. With apologies to the Smithsonian, I've messed up its map with a blue circle (left), so you can see where the new museum will be built.


Map of National Mall w/ blue circle by TobyMap of National Mall w/ blue circle by Toby



The six models proposed to the Smithsonian are on display at the Castle Building, at the Information Center on the Mall. Both 3-dimensional models and drawings are included for observation.



1. Devrouax + Purnell Architects & Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects


View from the Washington MonumentView from the Washington Monument



View from the MallView from the Mall



2. Diller Scofidio + Renfro In Association With Kling Stubbins





3. Foster + Partners / URS Group, Inc.





4. Freelon Adjaye Bond / Smith Group





5. Moody Nolan Inc / Antoine Predock Architect PC





6. Moshe Safdie and Associates, Inc.




The new national structure will be Smithsonian's first museum designed to conform to the U.S. Green Building Council's sustainable building practices and it will attempt to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating from the Council.

These architectural designs will be on exhibit only until April 3, 2009. The winning design will be chosen by a jury of 11 members and the winning team will be announced in mid-April. Groundbreaking is expected to take place in 2012, and the new museum is targeted to open in 2015.

Which design do you think is most suited to house the National Museum of African American History and Culture?

If you are familiar with the National Mall in Washington, which design do you think best fits architecturally with the other museums on the Mall?

The Washingon Post, Washington Business Journal, The Smithsonian Institution

Apr 9, 2009
by Anonymous

Moody Nolan Stands Out!!!

This is a very interesting group of submission and I have studied each very intensely but one rises above all. Moody Nolan design is very organic and at one with the environment. I loved the mural on the outside and the grassy roof. Unlike some of the other designs, there is lots of glass but it is not very apparent. The glass brings in light, brings the outside in and breaks up the concrete. It is by far the most artistic. If this competition is about design that incorporates the contemporary but more importantly reflects the nature and history of the African American culture as well as it’s relationship to nature, then Moody Nolan is head and shoulders above the rest.

I have also seen some pictures of the internal designs and I am quite impressed with the thoughtfulness and sophistication of Moody Nolan. That there is imagery that is at once compelling but not always obvious will truly all visitors to experience exhibitions with a certain amount of individuality as well collective appreciation.