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Saturday, July 12, 2008

National Museum of African American History & Culture

The Smithsonian has posted a request for qualifications inviting licensed architects and engineers to compete to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Submissions are due by September 19 and will be evaluated by a panel of experts primarily from the Smithsonian. The field of applicants will be narrowed to three to seven firms that will participate in a design competition for the building, which is expected to cost $500 million to design and construct. The building will occupy a 5-acre site on Constitution Avenue between the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The Smithsonian has stated:

"our goal is to have a signature building that embraces the site, the Mall and that represents the resiliency, hope and spirituality associated with black American culture. It must help us to embrace the pain and contradictions of segregation, poverty and racial violence, yet this museum must also let our audiences find the joy, the strength and the creativity that is at the heart of this community."
The new structure will have to incorporate energy-conserving features and become the Smithsonian's first museum to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Architects will be required to prove they are competent to explain their appreciation of black history in writing. Minority firms are strongly encouraged to apply, but the architect chosen might not be black. The Smithsonian has consulted with the National Organization of Minority Architects. The finalist will be named in the Spring of 2009 and will have three years to design the 350,000 square foot museum, which will be approximately the size of the National Museum of the American Indian, at 4th St and Independence Ave, Southeast. (The Washington Times, 7/11/08) (Museum to be located in circle area in photo: courtesy Smithsonian Institution)

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