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National Museum of African American History and Culture


National Museum of African American History and Culture, Constitution Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC, USA

Project Overview
Project Name: National Museum of African American History and Culture
Date Completed: 2016
Location: Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Project Status: Complete

Project Team

Disciplines That Worked on Project

Civil Engineer: Construction ManagementCivil Engineer: GeotechnicalCivil Engineer: Structural (Building structures)Civil Engineer: Structural (Underground infrastructure)Civil Engineer: Water (Flood study)Electrical EngineerMaterials EngineerArchitect

Project Details
About this project
The National Museum of African American History and Culture building is a unique, award-winning building located on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The building was designed to incorporate African aspects, such as the coated aluminum facade (looks like bronze) with an abstract pattern based on ironwork created by freed slaves. (source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/the-story-behind-the-design-of-the-african-american-history-museum/2016/09/14/e08b1b4e-4ddb-11e6-a422-83ab49ed5e6a_story.html)

The building is also unique because the majority of it is underground (so it would not obstruct other views on the National Mall). This required a 70-foot deep excavation. The above ground structure is three up-side-down pyramids. The building is held up with four steel/cement structural cores, so no columns are needed in the building area. (source: https://www.bdcnetwork.com/rising-above-adversity-national-museum-african-american-history-and-culture)
Who benefits from this project, and how?
Visitors of the National Museum of African American History and Culture benefit from this project. The museum was designed to be a community resource that helps visitors learn about the lives, history, and culture of African Americans.
Environmental considerations
The building, which is largely underground, is in a floodprone area. To protect the building during a 100-year flood, there is an automated floodgate and a series of cisterns that collect and store stormwater. (source: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/how-smithsonian-preps-hurricanes-and-flooding-180970294) During a 500-year flood they will need to manually install panels and sandbags to protect the building. (source: https://www.npr.org/2013/12/26/255847303/with-national-treasures-at-risk-d-c-fights-against-flooding)

The building is LEED Gold. (source: https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/building)

Funding & Costs
Project cost: $$$$$

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