Since announcing his first North American project in New York and opening an office in the Big Apple, BIG-founder Bjarke Ingels has been moving fast. His meteoric ascent into a Danish-American icon is happening so quickly, that the starchitect has landed himself in the Smithsonian, in a manner of speaking. The venerable institution has just hired Ingels to prepare a master plan for the museum’s Washington, D.C. campus, and we’re left wondering if that might mean a new mountain range rising off the National Mall.
The Washington Business Journal reported today that the Smithsonian signed a $2.4 million contract with BIG to create the first phase of the master plan, a task that is expected to take around 8 to 12 months. The project site is bounded by Jefferson Drive along the National Mall, Seventh Street SW, Independence Avenue SW, and 12th Street SW, as indicated on the map below. The study area includes many iconic Smithsonian buildings including the Smithsonian Castle (above) and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (top).
According to the WBJ, the team from BIG will investigate all buildings in the area, studying the architecture, engineering, and programming of the campus in order to recommend a “gateway” that promotes rest, education, and connects with the National Mall to the north. Among the challenges the campus currently presents is a disconnected flow of public space, dark and uninviting interior spaces, and dilapidated quarters.