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Angular multi-dimensional façade with water feature, main entrance with long driveway, design concept rendering of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy
National Museum of the U.S. Navy Artistic Ideas Competition

Envisioning a Modern, State-of-the-art Museum Honoring the Navy

Project Location

Washington, D.C.

Project Type



Artistic Ideas Competition Concept



The firm recently participated in a recent nationwide Artistic Ideas Competition for the new National Museum of the U.S. Navy, conducted on behalf of the Navy History and Heritage Command. With five finalists in total, each receiving a stipend to develop their concepts, the team focused on the storied history and timeless traditions of the U.S. Navy to develop a sleek, modern, and state-of-the-art concept.

The current National Museum of the U.S. Navy is located on the grounds of the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. The campus would consist of approximately 270,000 SF, including approximately 100,000 SF of net gallery space. Senior Principal Paul Westlake, FAIA, IIDA, Principal Dennis Bree, AIA, LEED AP, and Principal Monika Smith, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, developed the firm’s artistic vision for the new museum. Assisting the firm with exhibition concept was Anthony Dong, at Gallagher & Associates.

Focusing their concept on the relationship between water, sky, and space, our vision for the museum includes water features at the building’s foundation, entry, and ceremonial courtyard. Facets of the building’s form are envisioned to reflect the ground plane and its terraces on multiple levels with water or sky. The building form is comprised of three parts—a prominent exhibit volume, an historic structure, and an ancillary wing. A single main entrance is accessed via a ramp within the water feature, from which visitors will enjoy a glimpse of the atrium within the building. Visitors will ascend via an interpretive platform lift to the highest level of the museum and follow ramped walkways to exhibit galleries. Elevated terraces on multiple levels, the courtyard, and atrium, all enhanced by landscape, seating, and artifacts, provide flexible use for events. Visitors will experience stories, sounds, and important moments of the U.S. Navy’s history through immersive media and integrated technology throughout. Major artifacts in the existing museum, including the mast of the U.S.S. Constitution, the U.S.S. Honolulu sub sail, the gun mount of the U.S.S. Reno, the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, and more, will all be given special focus and featured prominently in special exhibit vessels related to their naval role within the museum.


DLR Group Among Finalists in U.S. Navy Museum Ideas Competition

The U.S. Navy has unveiled artistic concepts from five architectural firms for their new national museum campus at Washington Navy Yard. designboom covers the story.

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DLR Group Among Finalists for New Navy Museum Concept

And it’s anchors aweigh for the new national museum for the U.S. Navy in the nation’s capital. Commercial Observer shares the possibilities for the museum.

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