Ennead Architects

November 25, 2002 /

Washington, DC, USA

Using tried and true urban design stratagems such as setbacks and horizontal alignments, Polshek and company honor their honorific position in the city./Benjamin Forgey, Washington Post

The Freedom Forum recently revealed the design for its new, much larger Newseum next to the Washington, D.C., Mall.  The unveiling marks a major milestone in the foundation's plans to relocate the news museum and Freedom Forum headquarters to Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street, N.W., in Washington.

The new interactive museum of news, which will have three times the exhibition space as the original facility in Arlington.

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Image courtesy Polshek Partnership Architects/Ralph Appelbaum Associates

The facade design of the Newseum features a (57 by 78 feet) "window on the world", that looks out on Pennsylvania Avenue and the Mall and lets the public see  the visitors and displays inside the building.

Situated between the White House and the U.S. Capitol the facade will also feature the 45 words of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution etched into a stone panel facing Pennsylvania Avenue.

A conference center terrace on the sixth level and terraces accessible to Newseum visitors located on the second and fifth levels feature dramatic views of the U.S. Capitol.

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Image courtesy Polshek Partnership Architects/Ralph Appelbaum Associates  

The approximately 531,000 square foot development will contain the Newseum and its support facilities, more than 30,000 square feet of retail space and approximately 100 condominiums.

The six-level Newseum portion of the building is composed of three rectangular "bars" suggesting the sections of a three-dimensional newspaper. These bars are parallel to Pennsylvania Avenue and vary in height as the building steps back from the avenue.

The original exhibit designer for the Newseum, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, is developing exhibits for the new Newseum.

The building's transparent design and place in the heart of the news capital of the world constantly invite the visitor to relate the exhibition experience inside to the historic locale and news-making world outside./Ralph Appelbaum

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Image courtesy Polshek Partnership Architects/Ralph Appelbaum Associates

Visitors to the Newseum will be greeted by an expanded presentation of the Newseum's popular "Today's Front Pages" display, which features newspaper front pages from all 50 states as well as countries around the world. Inside, visitors will enter the 90-foot-high atrium and then begin exploring the museum's six levels of displays and experiences including a 17,000-square-foot News History Gallery (more than double the size of the original history gallery); nine themed or changing exhibition galleries; a series of 60-seat orientation theaters; an expanded Interactive Newsroom; a state-of-the-art broadcast studio and control room with a smaller studio overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue; and familiar icons from the original Newseum including Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalism, a memorial dedicated to the more than 1,400 journalists who died while reporting the news, and segments of the Berlin Wall.

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Image courtesy Polshek Partnership Architects/Ralph Appelbaum Associates

This is one of the most important buildings we have ever had the opportunity to design.  We are seeking to create a building that is inviting, open and transparent, one that reflects the role a free press should play in a democracy. And we are trying to relate to and be respectful of our neighbors, John Russell Pope's West Building of the National Gallery of Art, I.M. Pei's East Building addition, and the Canadian Embassy, designed by Arthur Erickson./James Stewart Polshek

Facts about Newseum


Polshek Partnership

Development Managers:

CarrAmerica Urban Development, LLC

Exhibition design:

Ralph Appelbaum Associates

Total area Newseum and support facilities:

531,000 square feet

Retail space:

30,000 square feet

Housing facing Sixth and C streets:

145,500 square feet

Office space Newseum and Freedom Forum:

75,000 square feet

Conference Center:

9,000 square feet

The Freedom Forum, based in Arlington, Va., is a non-partisan foundation dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people. The foundation focuses on three main priorities: the Newseum, First Amendment issues and newsroom diversity.

The Freedom Forum funds two independent affiliates - the Newseum, the interactive museum of news planned for Washington, D.C.; and the First Amendment Center, with offices at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and in Arlington.
The Freedom Forum was established in 1991 under the direction of Founder Allen H. Neuharth as successor to a foundation started in 1935 by newspaper publisher Frank E. Gannett. The Freedom Forum is not affiliated with Gannett Co. Its work is supported by income from an endowment of diversified assets.

Ralph Appelbaum Associates is the largest interpretative museum design firm in the world, and it has collaborated with Polshek Partnership Architects on several projects, most recently the Rose Center in New York City. Appelbaum also designed the permanent exhibition of the highly acclaimed United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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