National Museum of African American History and Culture Architect Named

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  • On April 14, 2009, Secretary G. Wayne Clough announced that Freelon Adjaye Bond/Smith Group was chosen as the architectural team to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture's building. The winning design was chosen by a competition jury headed by Lonnie G. Bunch III, NMAAHC Director.
  • The design competition was issued in January 2009. After receiving 22 entries from architectural firms around the world, the jury narrowed the design firms to 6. Of the six firms selected, Freelon Adjaye Bond Smith's bronze tired model pleased the jury and achieved its goal of embodying the African American spirit. The Freelon Adjaye Bond Smith group consists of four architectural firms, The Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates, Davis Brody Bond and SmithGroup. The Freelon Group will be the architect of record and Phil Freelon will serve as the design guarantor. David Adjaye, who is known for his design of the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway, will be the lead designer.
  • Construction of the NMAAHC will take up to three years and will cost an estimated $500 million. The Institution will seek approval from the National Capital Planning Commission and consult the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the National Park Service and the National Coalition to Save Our Mall during the design phase and will begin construction in 2012. NMAAHC is scheduled to open in 2015 next to the National Museum of American History on the National Mall .


  • Bunch, Lonnie G
  • Freelon, Philip 1952-
  • Adjaye, David 1966-
  • Bond, J. Max Jr
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • National Capital Planning Commission
  • United States Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
  • National Museum of American History (U.S.) (NMAH)
  • United States. National Park Service
  • Commission on Fine Arts
  • Freelon, Adjaye, Bond, SmithGroup Architects
  • National Coalition to Save Our Mall


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • SI Email Announcements, April 14, 2009 "NMAAHC Architect Named," by G. Wayne Clough, Secretary
  • "Smithsonian Selects Winning Team." World Architecture News, April 15, 2009.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


April 14, 2009


  • Design
  • Museum buildings
  • Drawings and plans
  • Architecture--Washington (D.C.)
  • Architecture
  • Museum architecture
  • Architecture--Drawings and plans
  • Architectural design


  • Mall, The (Washington, D.C.)
  • Washington (D.C.)

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