The courtyard, with its elegant glass canopy, was designed by the world-renowned architectural firm Foster + Partners. It is a signature element of the renovated National Historic Landmark building that houses the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. The enclosed courtyard provides a distinctive, contemporary accent to the museums' Greek Revival building.
"The design was driven by a deep respect for the existing building," said Foster. "It was decided that it should not touch the building at any point-floating above it instead, like a cloud over a courtyard."
The roof, a steel structure with a glass and aluminum exterior, has a surface area of approximately 37,500 square feet. There are 864 panes of glass and no two are alike. Eight steel columns support the canopy, which weighs around 900 tons.
National Gallery of Smithsonian American Robert and Arlene Ko
On January 24 2013 (sent by cybermonk) at United States 190 Views