Selldorf and SOM to modernise Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum

Selldorf Architects and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) have been chosen to create a modernisation plan for the Hirshhorn contemporary art museum in Washington, DC.

The duo will expand its exhibition space as well as renewing its ageing infrastructure, including fine art storage, vertical transportation and storm water management.

The Hirshhorn, which is part of the Smithsonian, is located in a “brutalist donut” on the National Mall. It opened in 1974 and was designed by inthe late Gordon Bunshaft, a Pritzker Prize-winning architect and partner in SOM.

Selldorf Architects and SOM’s work will be subject to a public consultation process, to be carried out next year.

The modernisation is one third of a larger upgrade programme that includes building façade repair and the revitalisation of the sculpture garden by artist–architect Hiroshi Sugimoto, to begin in spring 2023.

A joint statement by Chris Cooper, a partner in SOM, and Annabelle Selldorf, Selldorf Architects’ principal, said: “We are thrilled to be working together on the revitalisation of the Hirshhorn Museum.

“Ensuring that the building is better able to accommodate the museum’s ambitious programmes while serving a larger and more diverse audience, is of critical importance. And we need to be able to do so while making the building more sustainable.”

Melissa Chiu, the museum’s director, said: “Art-making has changed dramatically since our opening in 1974, and the Hirshhorn’s annual attendance has increased 40% in the past five years. In response to these developments, the revitalisation of our museum campus prepares us for the 21st century.”

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