Established by Congress in 2003, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is the only national museum that is dedicated to the history and culture of African Americans. An international search was launched in hopes of finding a team that would perfectly capture the African American experience and incorporate it into the design of the building. In 2009, the search came to an end when lead designer David Adjaye, lead architect Philip Freelon, and their team at Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup were selected for the job. Groundbreaking on the construction site began in 2012.
With over 36,000 artifacts curated, the NMAAHC finally opened its doors to the public in September 2016. The museum was a historic effort, meant to immortalize the history, culture, and experience of African Americans and share the achievements and contributions African Americans have made to American history.
The newest addition to the National Mall is a spectacular structure that is enveloped in an intricate bronze metal lattice, which was inspired by ironwork crafted by enslaved Africans. The façade allows for an abundance of natural light to pass through the lattice and even emits a warm amber glow at night. One of the signature features of the exterior of the museum is the three-tiered corona capping the site, reminiscent of a traditional Yoruba caryatid, a wooden pillar topped with a crown. The LEED Gold-certified building, whose sustainable design very easily makes the NMAAHC the greenest site on the National Mall, lies between the Washington Monument and the National Museum of American History.
Inside the museum, the Contemplative Court is one of the most iconic spaces. A glass oculus opens up the ceiling to the daylight, which filters down into the court. Specks of light brilliantly reflect off the cascading waterfalls that flow from the oculus into a pool below. The delicate rippling of the moving water is reflected in the ceiling, made up of Pure + Freeform’s aluminum panels that were prefinished with Lumiflon FEVE Resin, which aids in ensures outstanding gloss and color retention. Additionally, the coatings technology in Lumiflon prevents coating degradation caused by UV radiation, water, and salt for an exceptionally long period of time.
Information courtesy of Pure + Freeform