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On January 30, 2006, the Smithsonian Board of Regents selected a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument, bounded by Constitution Avenue, Madison Drive, and 14th and 15th streets N.W., to serve as the location for the new Museum.
In April, 2009, a design competition jury chaired by NMAAHC Director Lonnie G. Bunch III selected the Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup as the museum’s architectural and engineering team. The team was one of six invited to submit design concepts for review by the 10-member jury. It consists of four firms brought together for this unique project – The Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates, Davis Brody Bond and SmithGroup. The Freelon Group will be the architect of record and Philip G. Freelon, FAIA, will serve as the design guarantor, making sure the design reflects the values and priorities of the museum and the Smithsonian. The Ghanaian-born architect David Adjaye, with offices in Berlin, London, and New York, will be the lead designer.
Shaped in part by the findings of an 18-month study to identify the various needs of the museum – from exhibition space, operations and technology, to acoustics, fire protection and security – the design is expected to take up to three years with construction to begin in 2012. The museum is scheduled to open in 2015 at an estimated cost of $500 million with 50 per cent of the total to be covered by Congress.