National Building Museum Modernization

The modernization of the historic Pension Building involved upgrade of building utilities and infrastructure, renovation of 45 gallery spaces, design of catering and educational areas, and exterior landscaping and sitework in a phased manner while the museum was occupied and operational. The modernization projects consisted of six major phases completed over 16 years based on funding availability.

The landscape concepts are inspired by the original site plan that called for a “building in the park” with curving brick walkways following established circulation paths throughout the site. The work included the redesign of the park on the west side, a new driveway and entrance canopy on the north side, and a new service dock and a parking area on the east. These improvements also include an accessible entrance, site lighting, graphics, and boundary markers created by sculptor Raymond Kaskey. This project provided for the adaptive reuse of a major historic landmark, created a new green park and helped to revitalize the neighborhood around Judiciary Square.

Modernization within the building sought to remove abandoned equipment, upgrade the historic building envelope from the interior, create neutral galleries with flexible lighting and provide new concealed high performance mechanical systems without altering the appearance of the historic arched spaces. The 45 new galleries, educational facilities, and food service expanded the museum's programs and created an environment capable of hosting major events such as inaugurations balls. 



Washington, DC


140,000 SF


Architect of the Capitol




• Architecture
• Historic Preservation
• Construction Administration
• Interior Design