Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Location Washington, DC

Category Cultural

Water Infiltration Rehabilitation and Building Enclosure Commissioning

The Smithsonian Institution’s Nasional Air and Space Museum (NASM) houses the largest collection of historic aircraft and space exploration vehicles in the world. Designed to permit extremely large exhibit areas unencumbered by support columns, the building’s massive steel structure is clad in stone veneer and glass curtain wall. Surrounding the building is a plaza of reinforced concrete with granite pavers, beneath which lies a below-grade parking garage, exhibit spaces, and a museum shop. Given the sensitivity of the museum’s unique collection, water infiltration was a serious concern.

Plaza Terrace Rehabilitation

The Smithsonian Institution retained Hoffmann Architects + Engineers to investigate leaks, which had plagued the HOK-designed plaza since its completion in 1976. Previous efforts to address the moisture problem had been unsuccessful. Hoffmann’s investigation found that the plaza deck paving configuration allowed water to infiltrate at the base of the building.

Raising the wall flashing height and providing for membrane-level drainage would channel water to drains, preventing infiltration into spaces below. Hoffmann developed a pilot program to test the recommended remedial measures, which proved effective at preventing leaks. Our design professionals then prepared contract documents for the full scope of repairs.

Building Enclosure and Mechanical System Revitalization

As part of the first major renovation of the NASM, Hoffmann was selected to serve as the Building Envelope Commissioning Agent (BECx) for the building enclosure and HVAC project. Hoffmann  prepared building envelope commissioning specifications and reviewed the commissioning plan, project manuals, and construction documents, in consultation to the Smithsonian and to construction management firm McDonough Bolyard Peck.

The Smithsonian Institution holds invaluable collections that tell the story of the American experience, history, and legacy. Hoffmann Architects + Engineers is honored to have been contributing to the protection of the Institution’s artwork and artifacts for more than 25 years.