Smithsonian Industries Building

Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building

  • Historic Structures Report
  • Washington, DC
  • 2010


The Arts & Industries Building was the second building built on the Mall for the Smithsonian, and was the birthplace of all the current Smithsonian Museums and research institutions.  More of an exhibition than museum building, the Historic Structures Report was needed to guide redevelopment of this unused building.


Extensive historic research into the original architect’s intent, the history of 19th century museum and exhibition (worlds fair) buildings, as well as into the history of the Smithsonian created a better understanding of the role of A & I over the past 150 years.  An extensive envelope study revealed how the building (originally not conditioned and without artificial light) functioned when it opened as host to Garfield’s inauguration venue.


By identifying what the building could do well, discussions for the building’s future have been much more focused, and building restoration has begun.  In late 2012, agreement was reached with the Patent office to reuse the building to highlight American innovation.   Plans are currently in development to make use of this monumental structure and add to the opportunities for visitors to the Mall.

Led by Walt Crimm while Director of EwingCole Cultural Practice