National Museum of Natural History Accessible National Mall Entrance
Washington, DC
Culture
 Project

Quinn Evans’ sensitive renovation of the museum’s iconic National Mall entrance introduces a gracious and accessible arrival experience for all visitors and harmonizes with the building’s historic character. We worked with Smithsonian leaders to develop an approach to accomplish universal access to the museum entry—thirteen feet above the Madison Drive sidewalk—that received approvals from the Commission of Fine Arts, the National Capital Planning Commission, and the State Historic Preservation Office. With lively bronze handrails, integral tree canopies, groundcover, and mid-way rest areas, the gently sloped walkways create a gracious, accessible path to the museum’s main entrance. This arrival sequence invisibly accomplishes perimeter security, infrastructure, life safety, visitor arrival, and screening improvements. The symmetrical walkway harmonizes with the base and dignified character of the historic building, while its form and materials distinguish it as a modern intervention. Its custom bronze railing is inspired by the botanical ornamentation found at the museum’s entry and the museum’s exhibitions and collections.

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