Smithsonian and BIG unveil $2 billion refurbishment plan

Place: Washington, D.C., Country: United States
Text by Riccardo Bianchini
Images courtesy of BIG and The Smithsonian

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The Smithsonian Institution and BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group have revealed a monumental Master Plan aimed to a complete refurbishment of Smithsonian’s headquarters in Washington  D.C.

Encompassing a surface 1,331,527 square feet (123,703 square meters), the Master plan completely redesigns the South Mall Campus, including museums and gardens while providing up-to-date seismic protection and a major revitalization of the Castle building, where the Smithsonian information center and administrative headquarters are currently housed.

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top: Image courtesy of BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group
middle and bottom: Aerial view and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery entrance. Images courtesy of the Smithsonian

“ We believe this plan holds the potential to guide the Smithsonian South Mall Campus into the future while remaining firmly rooted in its heritage” said Bjarke Ingels, the founding partner at BIG and the architect of the Master Plan

New visitors services, educational spaces, improved entrances and accesses to  the National Museum of African Art, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Freer Gallery of Art,  the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will be realised on a 10 to 20 years-long period, with on-site works scheduled to begin in 2016.The estimate cost of the project amounts to about $2 billion.

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Images courtesy of BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group

The project redesigns and rationalises the connection between the Smithsonian’s buildings facing the Mall in Central Washington, including the realisation of a two-story underground addition to the Castle that will house completely new visitor services.

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top and bottom: the entrance to the National Museum of African Art  and the Arts and Industries Building entrance; Images courtesy of the Smithsonian

“Bjarke Ingels Group has given us a plan that will offer open vistas, connected museums, galleries bathed in daylight, new performance venues, gardens that invite people into them, and it will visually attract visitors who will have an unparalleled experience.” said Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.

The South Mall master plan will be publicly visible from January 2015 at an upcoming exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C.

For further information
Smithsonian Institution www.smithsonian.org
BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group  www.big.dk  

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View of Ripley Education Center

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top: Image courtesy of BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group
Middle and bottom: the Ripley Education Center and the lower level of the National Museum of African Art. Images courtesy of the Smithsonian


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