BIG reveals revised Smithsonian Campus master plan

The original proposal was first unveiled in 2014.

January 23, 2018 |

Rendering courtesy of BIG and Brick Visual

After years of public comment and close collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has revealed its revised proposal for the Smithsonian Campus master plan in Washington, D.C.

The roughly 17-acre site includes the Castle, the Arts and Industries Building, the Freer Gallery, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the mostly subterranean Quadrangle Building, which is home to the National Museum of African Art, the Sackler Gallery of Art and the S. Dillon Ripley Center.


Existing vs proposed smithsonian planRendering courtesy of BIG and Brick Visual.


The revised plan reflects the team’s commitment to preserving the character of the Haupt Garden while addressing existing and future needs of the cultural institution. “Since our last proposal, we’ve been listening very closely to the public. We wanted the general feeling and fondness for the Haupt Garden to remain the same while also increasing its enjoyment and use, offering educational elements and after hour programs,” said Bjarke Ingels in a speech given to members of the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), local decision makers, and residents and garden enthusiasts.


Proposed visitor center expansionRendering courtesy of BIG and Brick Visual.


The new proposal also makes the National Museum of African Art and the Sackler Gallery more accessible. These areas were hidden beneath the garden and have been “under-enjoyed compared to the value they represent,” according to Ingels.

The new master plan will attempt to improve existing facilities by creating an expanded Visitor Center and a new Education Space, creating clear connections, access points, and visibility between the museums and gardens by reconfiguring the entrance pavilions to the African Art Museum and Sackler Gallery, and replacing aging building mechanical systems, including structural reinforcements of the Castle to withstand potential seismic activity.


Rendering courtesy of BIG and Brick Visual.

The first stage of the plan, the renovation of the Castle, is expected to begin in 2021.


Proposed smithsonian plan from BIGRendering courtesy of BIG and Brick Visual.

Overlay Init