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Close readers will remember that I’m a huge fan of the National Museum of the American People, the coalition of some 136 ethnic groups that wants a pan-immigrant museum at Banneker Overlook, at the southern end of L’Enfant Plaza. Today, they rolled out a conceptual design for the museum by Arlington-based MTFA Architects, and explained it thusly:
The four soaring structures arising from the grass covered roof of the central building in the MTFA Architecture design evoke several aspects of the proposed Museum’s story: Flags of nations over a landscape of waves, four books opening to reveal chapters of the the story of the making of the American people or sails recalling vessels that brought many to this land over the early periods of the formation of the American people. The maritime aesthetic also relates to the nearby marina where an extension of the Museum could berth sailing vessels of the type used by early migrants and settlers, including vessels used to bring slaves to these waters.
During the day, the textures of the concrete “flags” will constantly change with the movement of the sun’s shadows across the facade. At night, films could be projected onto these surfaces. The MTFA Architecture design calls for a state of the art green building that would serve as a model for the Southwest Ecodistrict.
While the new Arena Stage theater anchors Maine Avenue at one end, this museum could anchor the redesigned waterfront at the other end. The Museum’s international food court and plaza, with a mix of restaurants and a gift shop located along Maine Avenue, could remain open after museum hours and help to stimulate nighttime street life.
The Museum is envisioned to include more than 400,000 square feet of space devoted to exhibitions, collections, educational resources, genealogical research, films and a major academic center.
Now all they have to do is get Congress to designate a Presidential Commission to study the establishment of the museum, and then raise the money to pay for it (the National Womens History Museum and National Museum of the American Latino might be further ahead there, but they don’t have trippy architectural plans). Shouldn’t be too much trouble.