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Five anonymous design proposals revealed for Bezos Learning Center in Washington D.C.

United States Architecture News - Sep 12, 2022 - 16:45   1251 views

Five anonymous design proposals revealed for Bezos Learning Center in Washington D.C.

The Smithsonian Institution has revealed five anonymous design proposals for the new Bezos Learning Center at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) in Washington D.C., United States.

The $130-million education center, funded by a $200 million donation from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who is also founder of aerospace and space flight company Blue Origin, is planned to be built as "a world-class education center", aiming to offer a wide range of facilities on the topics of air and space exploration, including arts, science, technology, engineering.

The new education center will be constructed on the east site of the museum, replacing a glass restaurant, made of triangular glass pieces, which was constructed in 1988 as a modernist-style building designed by Gyo Obata and his practice Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (now known as HOK). 

The 50,000-square-foot (4,645-square-metre) complex will contain exhibition spaces, restaurant on the ground floor, a rooftop terrace and a public observatory. 

"It will feature programs and activities that inspire students to pursue innovation and explore careers in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) fields, and it will help teachers better utilize the Smithsonian’s collections," stated in a press release by the National Air and Space Museum.

"The center will connect to all Smithsonian museums, coordinating STEAM-related collections and experts across the Institution and promoting inquiry-based learning in visitors of all ages, with a focus on under-resourced communities."

"The center will activate programming through innovative community partnerships to reach students and teachers in Washington, D.C., and in communities across the country," the museum continued.

"At this moment, the first human to set foot on Mars might be in elementary school,” said Ellen Stofan, the Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for Science and Research and former director of the National Air and Space Museum. 

"As the largest and most visited aerospace museum in the world, the museum wants to spark that passion and enrich the imagination and ingenuity of every student who visits the Smithsonian. For many years, Jeff has been an avid supporter of the Smithsonian and the museum’s mission to ‘ignite tomorrow.’ With this gift, we will be able to continue our transformation and further expand the National Air and Space Museum’s ability to reveal the possibilities of space exploration," Stofan added.

As part of the development plans, the five design proposals have been opened to public feedback from September 6 to September 19 on this page, in which each proposal can be evaluated in detail. 

The proposals, presented anonymously, are titled as Firm A, B, C, D and E. Feedbacks can be sent via an open form under the proposals. 

According to the Smithsonian’s schedule, the demolition of the restaurant is planned to be completed this year (which began in March 2022), while the design of the Bezos Learning Center will be completed in 2023. 

Construction on the project is planned to begin in 2024, and completion of the project is expected in 2026, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Air and Space Museum.

Scroll down to see the five anonymous design proposals for the new Bezos Learning Center at NASM:


Firm A

Five anonymous design proposals revealed for Bezos Learning Center in Washington D.C.

Image courtesy of the artist, via NASM

Five anonymous design proposals revealed for Bezos Learning Center in Washington D.C.

Image courtesy of the artist, via NASM

Firm B

Five anonymous design proposals revealed for Bezos Learning Center in Washington D.C.

Image courtesy of the artist, via NASM

Five anonymous design proposals revealed for Bezos Learning Center in Washington D.C.

Image courtesy of the artist, via NASM

Firm C

Five anonymous design proposals revealed for Bezos Learning Center in Washington D.C.

Image courtesy of the artist, via NASM

Five anonymous design proposals revealed for Bezos Learning Center in Washington D.C.

Image courtesy of the artist, via NASM

Firm D

Five anonymous design proposals revealed for Bezos Learning Center in Washington D.C.

Image courtesy of the artist, via NASM

Five anonymous design proposals revealed for Bezos Learning Center in Washington D.C.

Image courtesy of the artist, via NASM

Firm E

Five anonymous design proposals revealed for Bezos Learning Center in Washington D.C.

Image courtesy of the artist, via NASM

Five anonymous design proposals revealed for Bezos Learning Center in Washington D.C.

Image courtesy of the artist, via NASM

Top image courtesy of the artist/Firm C, via NASM.

> via NASM News

Bezos Learning Center Jeff Bezos