The architects will have to wrestle with remarkably disparate typologies, from High Victorian to Brutalist, on this much-celebrated site. But Ingels says he has no plans to interfere with the treasured national symbols; his assignment is to make what’s already there more intuitive and accessible.
Beating out a slew of architects, BIG’s commission is a major coup. The firm has no permanent built work in the U.S. and first opened an office in New York City about two years ago. BIG currently has no financial restrictions, though the Smithsonian says it will start a fundraising campaign once the designs are fleshed out next year.