published Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Smithsonian wins approval for new black history museum design

WASHINGTON — A federal arts panel has given final approval for designs and materials to build a bronze color corona as the defining element of the Smithsonian's new black history museum being built on the National Mall.

On Thursday, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts voted to approve a cast aluminum lattice that will surround the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In different lights, it's meant to appear as a glowing bronze crown.

Architect David Adjaye says the corona design draws on imagery from African and American history. It was inspired by an African headdress, and the lattice is similar to screen patterns in the South. Adjaye says designers are using aluminum because it's lighter than bronze.

The museum is slated to open in late 2015 or early 2016.

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