Yesterday, the 29Th of January, six award winning teams were chosen to compete for the design of the national Museum for African American History on the mall of the Washington Monument. The final conceptual design will be chosen based on the sensitivity shown in the treatment of the site, due to its historical reference, and a demonstration of their own understanding of the African American experience.
The museum's site, selected by the Smithsonian Board of Regents, is a five-acre parcel on the southwest corner of Constitution Avenue and 14Th Street NW that has never had a permanent building on it. It is 800 feet from the monument and will sit next to the National Museum of American History.
Selected from a pool of 22 firms who submitted their qualifications, the remaining 6 called to submit entries are: Foster and Partners/URS, a joint venture, with the Foster firm as architect and URS handling the engineering design. Other teams are: Devrouax & Purnell, Freelon Adjaye Bond, I.M. Pei and Moshe Safdie and Associates.
Each architectural team is receiving a $50,000 stipend from the Smithsonian. One of the hurdles is that the architects have to demonstrate they can complete the 300,000 to 350,000 square foot, $500 million project in three years. Construction is to start in 2012, and the museum is scheduled to open in 2015.
Upon commencement, this project is fixing to be the most closely monitored in the Country due to its proximity to the Monument and the controversy between democrats and republicans over the allotment of funds for developing the Mall and its surrounding area. The $200 million provision to refurbish the mall itself was removed on the 26Th by the House Rules Committee amidst a torrent of GOP criticism about wasteful or non-stimulative spending. So I wonder where the money for this museum will be coming from. The Smithsonian stated that half is to come from the Federal government but what about the other half and is the government's half in the stimulus package? If it is, I wonder that the bloodhounds of the RNC didn't sniff it out and call for it to be removed as well.
Image obtained from: washingtonpost.com