On clear days the sharp edges of the Washington monument juxtaposed against a blue sky is one of the best views in the city. This background of many a selfie, and a common assignment for the first week of a D.C. photography class, the famous monument looks out over the national mall, which is soon to get another addition.
The Smithsonian chose the winning design by the team led by David Adjaye, a famous Tanzanian born architect. An informational New York Times article published when the design was chosen had this to say:
In accepting the commission, Mr. Adjaye described it as “the dream of my career” and said that the group’s concept for the building — an elevated “mound” dominated by a two-tiered structure that he called a “celebration crown” — focused on the idea of a canopy or porchlike setting for people “to come as a respite, to come and view, to learn.” He said he believed that the primary spirit behind the building, whose interior will be open to skylights at its top, would be one of praise. - New York Times
I can understand the meaning behind those words. The building takes on the obvious form of tiered steps, with each level curved outwards. From the ground, it looks looming and powerful. I think the creative illustrations show a grey sky behind the tiers as a way to lessen their boldness, and to soften the cutting edges of their features.
“Throughout the history of African-American struggle and celebration, there are these moments of praise,” he said. “It’s for us a deeply spiritual and powerful culture.” - New York Times
It will be a while before the museum is set to open, but we can get an early preview of the emotion behind it, and the cultural significance it will provide for the city.