Visitors to the Smithsonian in the South Yard, c. 1950s, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, In the South Yard of the Smithsonian Institution visitors walk along a pathway and in the parking lot. Also, cars are parked in the South Yard, and the Air and Space Building (the temporary metal building) is in the background. Originally built in 1917 by the U.S. Signal Service for use during World War I, the temporary building was transferred to the Smithsonian in 1919 and was used as a museum. The building was demolished in 1975 in preparation for the Victorian Garden, the Bicentennial of the American Revolution celebrations, and the new National Air and Space Museum..