Fine Arts Commission on BIG’s Smithsonian Plans: “It’s Not Good Design”

    <figure>
Courtesy of BIG. Rendering by Brick Visual Courtesy of BIG. Rendering by Brick Visual

Despite 3 years of community input and redesign, BIG’s plans for the new Smithsonian Institution Campus Master Plan in Washington, D.C., has been met with skepticism from the Commission of Fine Arts, one of the two federal agencies charged with approving the plan.

Courtesy of BIG. Rendering by Brick Visual Courtesy of BIG. Rendering by Brick Visual

According to the Washington Post, the backlash comes from a sense that the plan is still too invasive on existing beloved features, such as the Enid A. Haupt Garden, and doesn’t take enough advantage of existing but underused facilities including the Arts and Industries Building.

“It’s perplexing. There are many innovative, one might say brilliant ideas. But my principal dilemma is why build a new visitor center when you have thousands of square feet next door,” said commission member Alex Krieger, in reference to the Arts and Industries Building. “It’s

Courtesy of BIG. Rendering by Brick Visual
that you’re punting on this building, including its possible use as a visitor’s center.”

Courtesy of BIG. Rendering by Brick Visual Courtesy of BIG. Rendering by Brick Visual

Other board members were even more critical of the project, including Vice Chairman Elizabeth Meyer:

“This is a redesign,” said Meyer. “It has nothing to do with preservation and it’s not good design.”

For now, the Commission has determined to take no action in approving the plan, instead asking BIG to return with additional alternatives and information.

“When you are dealing with something that is like the Central Park of the United States of America, and with the Smithsonian, one of the crown jewels of American culture, people are going to be heavily opinionated,” responded Bjarke Ingels. “Over the last four years we kept enriching the design. It’s a very refined planning proposal that takes into account a lot of the concerns that were voiced.”

See the full story, here.

BIG Reveals Updated Vision for Smithsonian Campus Master Plan Scheme

BIG has unveiled an updated vision for the new Campus Master Plan for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., after taking into account over 3 years of community input and collaboration with the storied museum and research institution. The revised proposal pays particular attention to the preservation of unique character of the Enid A.

Leave a Reply