Along the National Mall in Washington, D.C., memorials honor the service of Americans in wartime, but the site’s newest addition will be one that fosters conflict resolution and peace. The 150,000-sq-ft permanent headquarters for the U.S. Institute of Peace, being built at the mall’s northwest corner near the Lincoln Memorial and the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge over the Potomac river, will greet visitors with a dramatic new structure that its designers say both respects the context of its historic surroundings and offers a strikingly modern contrast.
Moshe Safdie and Associates, Somerville, Mass., designed the base of the five-story building, which is clad in precast panels to blend with its neoclassical neighbors and features a sweeping white glass roof intended to make a strong statement of the institute’s mission. Designed as three buildings connected with glass-enclosed atriums, the structure is topped with two large-span undulating roofs, including one that evokes the image of a white dove of peace in flight. “We see it as a gateway to the city from the Roosevelt bridge,” says Paul Gross, Safdie principal in charge of the project. “It respects the vocabulary of the National Mall and offers a symbolic gesture to the city.” The $108-million project is funded by public and private monies.