The National Museum of African American History and Culture, designed by Ghanian British architect Sir David Adjaye, has won the prestigious Beazley Design of the Year for 2017. The project beat strong competition including a new 3D-printing technique named Rapid Liquid Printing, and a stair-climbing wheelchair dubbed Scewo.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture (or NMAAHC), is envisioned as a symbol of the African American contribution to the United States' history and identity, and tells the story of the country through the lens of the African American experience.
Located close to the Washington Monument on what was the last available building plot on the National Mall, the building looks kind of like an inverted pagoda, and its overall shape is inspired by a Yoruban Caryatid, a traditional West African wooden column. Its large main entrance is conceived as a welcoming porch, while the exterior is wrapped in an ornamental bronze-colored metal lattice which pays homage to the ironwork once crafted by enslaved African Americans.
The interior of the NMAAHC measures 397,000 sq ft (36,882 sq m) spread over 10 floors (five above ground and five subterranean), and includes galleries, administrative spaces, theater space, collections, and more.
There is significant sustainable technology and design installed in the building, such as roof-based solar panels, ground source heat pumps for efficient heating and cooling, and rainwater harvesting for toilet and irrigation use. Natural light is maximized, plus recycled and recyclable materials were used during construction.
The building was designed by Adjaye's firm Adjaye Associates but also involved the Freelon Group, Davis Brody Bond, and SmithGroupJJR. It was inaugurated by President Obama in September 2016 and the construction budget came in at US$385 million.
The 2017 Beazley Design of the Year recognizes winners in six different categories: Digital, Fashion, Graphics, Product, Transport, and Architecture. The NMAAHC won the Architecture category and was declared overall winner. The other category winners can be seen in the gallery.
All of the designs, along with a total of 56 other nominations, are also on display in London's Design Museum until February 18.
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