Designing Elevations | Life of an Architect

Architectural view of building

Famous Buildings / September 23, 2019

The enveloping lattice also opens the building to exterior daylight, which can be modulated according to the season. The openness to light is symbolic for a museum that seeks to stimulate open dialogue about race and help promote reconciliation and healing. From the topmost corona, the view reaches ever upward, reminding visitors the Museum is an inspiration, open to all as a place of meaning, memory, reflection, laughter, and hope. This design is also architecturally practical and sustainable. This building is the first museum on the Mall designed to sustainability standards, serving as the Smithsonian’s 'Green Flag' with expectations of receiving LEED Gold Certification in summer 2017.

Visit our GreenScreen dashboard to learn more about the main sustainable features incorporated in the design, construction, and operation of the Museum as part of our commitment to educate visitors and be a leader in social responsibility.

Many of the world’s great buildings have integrated their architectural form with their function or purpose. The Museum follows this principle in the sense the building embraces its content—the American story told through the lens of African American history and culture. Fulfilling a decades-long dream, the Museum building is a community resource that helps visitors learn about themselves, their histories, and their common cultures. The light reflected from the bronze-colored lattice serves as a beacon that reminds us of what we were, what challenges we still face, and what we may hope to become. As Lonnie G. Bunch III, the Museum's founding director has described it, “this building will sing for all of us.”