Newseum by Polshek
by William Lebovich
The Newseum building by Polshek Partnership Architects adds vitality and a sense of time and place to Pennsylvania Avenue, a street that, like so many important streets in Washington, D.C., had been devoid of movement and three-dimensionality in massing.
A museum about news, the aptly named Newseum moved from across the Potomac River, in Arlington, Virginia, where it had outgrown its space. Its parent organization, the Freedom Forum, sought a location more heavily frequented by tourists.
With its own deep pockets, plus generous support from news media companies and others, the Freedom Forum spent more than $450 million to acquire one of the most prominent sites in the capital and have a signature building designed by Polshek Partnership, with James Polshek and Robert Young as the lead designers.
Observing the Newseum from the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue, one can appreciate how Polshek and Young have the building climb as it moves back from the Avenue, and how on the side street, the building widens as it moves from museum display space to Freedom Forum offices to condominiums. The condominium portion, with its airy sunscreens, appears to reach out to the apartments across the street.
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