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DAC Talk: Designing The National Museum of African American History and Culture

Join us at the District Architecture Center for a lecture with Hal Davis, FAIA, Principal of SmithGroupJJR and leader of the Architectural/Engineering team for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Attendees will gain insight into the design process of the Museum from start to finish, collaborating with other high-profile and talented architects, and the unique challenges and opportunities of working on a project of such scope and national importance.

About the presenter:
A practicing architect in the Washington region for more than 40 years, Harold “Hal” E. Davis, Jr., FAIA, has made an indelible mark on the city of Washington, DC, and particularly on the National Mall. He led teams not only on the NMAAHC, but on the National Museum of the American Indian. He oversaw planning and restorations on two of the Mall’s oldest edifices, the Smithsonian Institution Building (the “Castle”) and the Arts and Industries Building, as well as working with the Architect of the Capitol to design the National Garden and Environmental Learning Center at the U.S. Botanic Garden.

Hal was made a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 2007 in recognition of his contributions to the architectural profession.

This lecture is presented in conjunction with The Awards Show, on display in the SIGAL and Sorg Galleries until January 26, 2018.


After attending this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the design process in consideration of sustainability, functionality and monumentality;
  • Discuss the collaboration process between numerous stakeholders, from an assembled team of high-profile architects to multiple institutional and community agents;
  • Identify the unique set of challenges and considerations of working on a high-profile project of social, cultural and national importance; and
  • Explain the wide range of unique design features of the building, from its interwoven symbolic narrative to its integrated renewable energy resources.