It was announced yesterday that BIG, a.k.a. the Bjarke Ingels Group, has won the $2.4 million contract to design the Smithsonian Institution's master plan. The fittingly-named BIG is tackling a gargantuan task: The Smithsonian is the world's largest museum and research complex, spanning 19 museums, nine research facilities and the National Zoological Park. As Ingels explains,
The abundance of historical heritage, the diversity of architectural languages and the cacophony of exhibits are tied together by a labyrinthine network of spaces above and below ground - inside and outside. Our task is to explore the collections with The Smithsonian and together attempt to untie the Gordian Knot of intertwined collections to unearth the full potential of this treasure chamber of artifacts.
While details are not yet fleshed out, the new master plan will reportedly include "a striking grand entrance for the [Smithsonian] Castle and adjacent Museuems," as well as a network of underground tunnels to better connect the collections. This will make it easier for the 30 million visitors who come through each year to better access the 137 million items in the Institution's holdings.
If you're wondering how one firm could possibly tackle a job this size, the answer is, they won't do it alone: BIG will be leading the following diverse team into the fray.
Landscape Architecture - Surface Design
Historic Preservation - Traceries
Structural Engineers - Robert Silman Associates
Sustainability Consultants - Atelier Ten
Mechanical, Engineering & Plumbing - GHT Limited
Civil Engineering - Wiles Mensch
Security & Anti-Terrorism - Weidlinger Associates
Cost Consultants - VJ Associates
Fire & Safety Consultants - Protection Engineering Group
Food Services - FDS Design Studio
BIG is expected to deliver the master plan inside of twelve months' time.