CFA 15/MAR/18-2


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

Smithsonian Institution
National Air and Space Museum
Revitalization project
Review Type
Previous Review


Dear Mr. Browne:

In its meeting of 15 March, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the final design for a new visitor screening pavilion and alterations to the terraces surrounding the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, part of the comprehensive final design submission for the renovation of the museum building and its grounds. The Commission approved the submission and provided several comments for the completion of the final design review.

The Commission members expressed support for the revisions to the project, which they said were clear and responsive to their previous comments. Noting that the proposed design would provide an appropriate setting for the building—open and airy terraces generously planted with gardens and trees—they commented that it has the potential to transform the museum site into a highly successful public landscape that is seamlessly connected to the National Mall. They also welcomed the Smithsonian’s stated commitment to the long-term stewardship of this new landscape, given the high maintenance required for the proposed plantings. They expressed support for the revised design of the entry pavilion at the north entrance facing the Mall, recommending careful detailing of its glazing system to ensure it does not appear generically industrial compared with the more expressively organic shape of the roof canopy. They also commented that the canopy design, when considered within the envisioned site context of whimsical plantings and flying insects, would strengthen the metaphor of flight expressed throughout the design. Finally, they supported the proposal to situate the Delta Solar sculpture on a plane of water, similar to the pool that was part of the original installation, and they recommended further study of the configuration of the bollards and planters at the south side of the installation.

In conjunction with its June 2017 approval of the stone cladding material for the museum, the Commission anticipates the review of exterior mockups. When resolving the final details of the design, including the configuration of security elements near the Delta Solar installation, please consult with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Christopher U. Browne, Interim 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