CFA 17/MAR/22-2


600 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC
United States

Smithsonian Institution
Bezos Learning Center at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Demolition and replacement of existing restaurant pavilion with new facility
Review Type
Information presentation


Dear Mr. Gover:

In its public meeting of 17 March conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts was pleased to hear an information presentation by the Smithsonian Institution for a new multi-use addition to the National Air and Space Museum, located on the National Mall at 600 Independence Avenue, SW, replacing the existing restaurant pavilion at the east end of the site. The Commission provided the following comments for consideration in the development of a design.

In their discussion, the Commission members identified two possible design strategies for the addition—either to extend the architectural spirit of the existing museum building, a landmark design by Gyo Obata of HOK, or to develop an expressive, figural structure that would provide a contrast with the museum, which they suggested might be a more appropriate solution. In general, they encouraged a visionary approach rather than a generic or timid architectural solution. They also emphasized that the new building and its landscape should be accessible and welcoming while incorporating an innovative approach to perimeter security for the building and site.

The Commission looks forward to the future review of a concept design for this new addition to the Smithsonian complex along the south side of the Mall. As always, the staff is available to assist you.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Kevin Gover
Under Secretary for Museums and Culture
Smithsonian Institution
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012