CFA 16/JUN/16-5


Independence Avenue at 6th Street, SW
Washington, DC
United States

Smithsonian Institution
National Air and Space Museum
Review Type
Revised concept
Previous Review


Dear General Dailey:

In its meeting of 16 June, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a revised concept design for the replacement of the terraces surrounding the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum and for two new visitor screening pavilions, part of a larger project to renovate the museum’s exterior. The Commission approved the proposed design for the terraces and provided comments for the designs of the pavilions as they are developed.

The Commission members expressed appreciation for the thorough presentation of a complex project encompassing numerous disparate conditions, and they supported the plan to provide expanded accessibility, to maintain perimeter security, and to increase visitor comfort. They strongly favored the Smithsonian’s preferred Scheme A—which would create an enhanced pedestrian environment with larger shade trees and sequence of public spaces—over Scheme B—which would elaborate on the existing logic of terraces and planters in the building yard leading to the museum on a plinth. They suggested further refinement of the details of the freestanding barrier walls that line the pedestrian pathways, such as the potentially awkward end conditions of these walls. For the entrance pavilions, they expressed support for their elegant, curvilinear forms, but noted that full review of the design of the structures requires understanding their relationship to the building’s new cladding material.

The Commission looks forward to the next review of this important project, which should include documentation of the proposed exterior cladding. As always, the staff is available to assist you.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Gen. John Dailey, Director
National Air and Space Museum
Smithsonian Institution
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013–7012

cc: Roger Courtenay, AECOM
Larry Barr, Quinn Evans Architects