Heller & Metzger in Washington, DC

National Museum of the American Indian

Washington, DC / Smith GroupJJR

The five-story, 250,000-square foot, curvilinear building was built on the last open space available on the National Mall. Set in a 4.25-acre landscaped site with wetlands and 40 boulders known as “grandfather rocks,” the museum is a sharp contrast to neighboring Washington buildings. The Museum, containing a collection spanning over 10,000 years of Native American heritage, is a center for ceremonies, performances, and educational activities. Special design considerations included the sculptural and unique geometry, both of the exterior stone and also the gypsum board partitions, which had to have true curves to conform to indicated designs.