Adjacent Constitution Avenue was once a manmade canal called Tiber Creek, fed by a spring just north of the Capitol. Slaves once transported building materials along its length, to and from the Anacostia River, and lived nearby.
It lends more than a little weight to the placement of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, designed by David Adjaye, Phil Freelon, Davis Brody Bond and SmithGroup. In work sessions with Guthrie Gustafson Nichol (GGN), the architects, landscape architects and engineers carefully worked through its siting.
“There were long negotiations as to where it sits, its size and how it sits, and not interfering with the Washington Monument grounds,” says Kathryn Gustafson, founding partner at GGN. “And then there was the alignment with the American History Museum which has a certain height and width – so the alignment with the two museums is very important.”