1. Found: Guastavino vaulting at the Supreme Court. #AlwaysLookUp

  2. Might be a tundra out there, but it’s cozy inside. We’re open today!

  3. Montgomery Meigs designed our building with an ingenious ventilation system. He calculated that fresh air would circulate through the building every 2 minutes. #tbt #engineering

  4. Check out this lighting hung from the ceiling of the Great Hall for TNT’s Christmas in Washington.

  5. Symposium attendees learn all about the life and work of Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.


  6. Chasing Design

    Olso Architecture Triennale - Part 5

    Astrup Fearley Museum


    A recent addition to Oslo’s burgeoning culture scene, this private museum was designed by Renzo Piano. With its nautical sensibility, it responds to its prominent harbor setting.

    -Chase Rynd, 9.25.2013


  7. Chasing Design

    Olso Architecture Triennale - Part 4

    Amazing Exhibition


    Organized by a Belgian team of designers, scholars, and curators, this is the exhibition that was so jammed the other evening. An extraordinary selection of about 500 objects plus many videos, all to illustrate and reveal the history—and quirkiness—of sustainability since 1970. ROTOR is another rising star in the international design thought world. And they are not just smart. They are genuinely nice people.


    -Chase Rynd, 9.24.2013


  8. Chasing Design

    Olso Architecture Triennale - Part 2
     Food and Architecture—linked in so many ways


    The first project assigned to the entering class of students at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design had to connect with food. So these enterprising young men and women first collected many bushels of “street apples”—apples that grow throughout the city but are rarely harvested. They then constructed this large apple stand, boiling the apples over an open fire, and concocting a traditional dish of apples and lots of butter. (No calories there.). Their “customers”? Those hundreds of people standing in line to attend the Architecture Center opening reception. The price for a cup of the apple dish? Zero. The experience for all concerned? Priceless. Stay tuned. 

    -Chase Rynd, 9.20.2013


  9. Chasing Design

    Olso Architecture Triennale - Part 3
    Overwhelming Response


    There is no doubt that there is a strong interest in architecture in Norway. I attended the opening reception for an exhibition at The Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture this evening and the crowds were enormous. I took this photo at 6:20 pm (the event started at 6 pm). The building was already filled to its capacity of 500.  I lost my place in line to capture this picture, so my total wait was nearly an hour. Worth it?  Loved the building and the buzz, but never got to see the exhibition titled “Behind the Green Door.” Oh well, tomorrow. I asked the “bouncer” when I left how many people attended. At 7:30 the line was still scores of people. He said well over 1,000, probably more like 1,500. Not a bad draw. All architecture centers need lines like this. More stories later.

    -Chase Rynd, 9.20.2013


  10. Chasing Design

    We’d like to introduce a new series brought to you by our executive director, Chase Rynd, Hon. ASLA: Chasing Design.

    As a previous executive director at both the Tacoma Museum of Art in Tacoma, WA and the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, TN, Chase is passionate about the arts. He has nurtured a deep interest in architecture, engineering, and design since being appointed to the National Building Museum in 2003.

    Follow along as we learn about Chase’s travels, interests, and discoveries in the built environment.

    Olso Architecture Triennale - Part 1


    I arrived yesterday to attend the opening programs and festivities of the fifth Oslo Architecture Triennale. This exhibition—located at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design—titled “Custom Made,” is simultaneously simple and dense. One wall of diverse images, 55 in all. The “book” however is 330,456 pages consisting of the total published Norwegian architectural discourse since 1945.  A good solid evening’s worth of reading! And so my adventure in Oslo begins. 

    -Chase Rynd, 9.19.2013

  11. Come see ‘Getulio!’ tomorrow at the #BigBuild! An original children’s play about the the Piccirilli family who sculpted the Lincoln Memorial.


  12. The Piccirilli Family comes to the Big Build

    The Museum’s annual Big Build festival returns on September 21. We have many exciting new activities this year, including an original children’s play written by our very own intern, Ben Lauer. Learn more about his play:

    Since June, I’ve been writing and producing (and preparing to act in) a play for the National Building Museum’s Big Build festival! I had hoped I could write a play that touched on the built environment of our own Washington, D.C., so I began by seeking out stories of construction from some of the city’s monuments. I quickly discovered that while the statue of President Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial was designed by famous sculptor Daniel Chester French, it had been carved in marble by six Italian brothers, the Piccirilli Family.


    (The American Magazine, 1930). From left to right: Getulio, Furio, Attilio, Ferruccio, Masaniello and Orazio. Getulio was the business head of the family and Attilio was the artistic head. Source.

    The Piccirilli family immigrated to New York, NY in 1888. Guiseppe Piccirilli, the patriarch, had been a well regarded stone carver and sculptor in Tuscany, and his six sons, Ferrucio, Attilio, Furio, Masaniello, Orazio, and Getulio were trained in carving as well. When Barbara Piccirilli, their mother, became ill, the family was instructed to move out to the country; they moved to the Bronx, where in 1893 they established their studio. There, they carved statues for and consorted with famous sculptors like French, Paul Wayland Bartlett, John Q.A. Ward, and Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Former curator of American sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Albert Ten Eyck Gardner wrote, “The arrival of the Piccirilli family in New York may well mark an epoch in the history of American art.”

    Attilio, the most famous of the brothers, was a talented sculptor in his own right and a close friend of New York luminaries like Mayor Fiorello Laguardia and tenor Enrico Caruso. It was the youngest brother, Getulio, who captured my imagination, though. I’ll be playing him in my play on September 21, as the impetuous baby of the family. In an attempt to assert himself as a sculptor, he sneaks into the studio and tries to carve French’s statue of Lincoln all by himself…before realizing that alone, he isn’t quite up to the task.


    (From Daniel Chester French by Michael Richman). This is the five foot plaster model of the Lincoln that the brothers used in the early stages of the carving. French later replaced it with a seven foot model. A separate full- sized plaster model of the head was also provided by the sculptor. (The “backup” copy of that plaster head is in the collection of The New-York Historical Society) Source.

    I hope you’ll join us at the the Big Build: A Hands-on Festival of Tools, Trucks, and Construction on Saturday, September 21st, to see my play and all of the other great exhibits and activities we have planned!

  13. Our building housed the General Accounting Office from 1926-1951. #tbt

  14. Have you been ‘round to see all the Hirshhorns yet? #canstruction