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Tour: Secret Cities: The Architecture and Planning of the Manhattan Project

Martin Moeller, curator of Secret Cities, will lead a tour of the exhibition, which explores the architecture, planning, engineering, and social history of the three cities built from scratch during World War II for the Manhattan Project: Oak Ridge, TN; Hanford/Richland, WA; and Los Alamos, NM.

The exhibition argues that these cities, although top secret until the end of the war, were proving grounds for emerging ideas and technologies that shaped American communities and architectural practice in the postwar era. One major focus of the exhibition is the role of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which developed the urban plan for Oak Ridge and designed most of the buildings there during the 1940s and early 1950s.

Presented by: Martin Moeller, Senior Curator

Organized by: National Building Museum


After attending this course, participants will be able to:

  • Explore the similarities and differences between the architecture, planning, and engineering of three cities secretly built during World War II for the Manhattan Project;
  • Discuss the design elements considered for the buildings constructed in these secret cities;
  • Explain how these secret cities become catalysts for emerging ideas and technologies in the postwar era; and
  • Describe the evolution and re-purposing these buildings have undergone since their original inception.

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