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Johns Hopkins University files Preliminary Design for “Hopkins D.C.” Facility for Informational Review by the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts

July 5, 2019
CONTACT: Marianne von Nordeck
mvonnordeck@jhu.edu, 443-488-4268

Washington, D.C. – On July 3, Johns Hopkins University, along with the architecture and design team of Ennead Architects and SmithGroup, filed for an informational review with the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts for the proposed “Hopkins D.C.” facility in the property currently housing the Newseum at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. This is a first step to obtain early feedback from CFA in advance of the formal review process that will begin later in the year, along with reviews and approvals by other entities.

The new facility represents a transformative moment for Johns Hopkins University by consolidating and expanding its Washington, D.C. academic facilities into a single state-of-the-art building that can be optimized for current and future research, education and public engagement. This project will allow students, faculty and visitors alike to enjoy world-class learning facilities and engaging community and event spaces in the vibrant Penn Quarter neighborhood.

The July 3 filing also announces the architecture and design team chosen for the project. The design effort will be led by Ennead Architects, a firm with an international reputation for innovation and world class design excellence. Among the firm’s projects of note are the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York, the Natural History Museum in Utah, the Shanghai Planetarium, the Standard Hotel on the High Line in New York, and the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. Formerly known as James Polshek and Associates, Ennead was also the original architect for the 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW building.

The D.C. office of SmithGroup will serve as the Architect of Record. SmithGroup is nationally recognized for expertise with planning and design of buildings for higher education, and has also led successful approvals for many of Washington, D.C.’s most prominent public and private-sector developments by federal and local agencies, including the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian, and Smithsonian Institution Arts and Industries Building revitalization.

“It is a rare and exciting opportunity to be able to reimagine a project for an entirely new purpose and community,’’ said Richard Olcott, FAIA, Ennead’s Design Partner for the project. “We are delighted to work with Johns Hopkins University, to transform this important site into the embodiment of the University’s identity in Washington, D.C. and to design an innovative new home for its students and the community.”

While in the early stages, the consultant team is working on a design that refreshes 555 Pennsylvania Avenue to create a space that is distinctly associated with the Johns Hopkins University’s mission and needs while at the same time relating to the surrounding context. The new space will establish a collaborative learning environment that supports interactions between and among various academic disciplines and the wider D.C. community, and provides a place for policymakers and global leaders to convene around the mission of Johns Hopkins. Access to daylight will be increased throughout the building and the entry level will be made more visible and open to the street, creating a fluid and inviting interface with the public. However, the massing extents of the original building design, based on regulating boundary lines respectful of the historic Pennsylvania Avenue corridor, will remain in place.

The SmithGroup/Ennead team will be joined by the original building’s structural engineer, LERA, and building services engineer, WSP.

“Converting 555 Pennsylvania Avenue from the current use as a museum into a modern education facility to support Johns Hopkins University’s programs is an exciting challenge and we will greatly benefit from having the original building’s architects and engineers on our team,” said Amy Mercurio, Johns Hopkins’ Senior Director of Design and Construction. “Our task is to transform the facility from its current purpose-built design into an inspiring, highly flexible and operationally efficient platform for JHU’s Washington, D.C. presence for decades to come. Significant reconfiguration of the floor slabs, internal circulation, and façade will introduce more natural daylight and convert the building into a world-class education facility.’’

The designs submitted in the July 3 filing do not reflect any changes to the Newseum Residences building. Once all reviews and approvals are acquired, construction on 555 Pennsylvania Avenue could begin as soon as Fall of 2020 and last until mid-2023.

Joining Ennead Architects and SmithGroup, Clark Construction has been awarded the pre-construction contract to provide cost estimating, planning and logistics evaluation. DC-based MGAC will serve as program manager to provide supplemental project management, cost estimating and schedule analysis.

Clark Construction Group, LLC is one of the nation’s most experienced and respected providers of construction services. Clark has delivered more than 100 projects for colleges and universities, including facilities for Johns Hopkins University. In Washington, Clark’s resume includes iconic projects such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Museum of the Bible, the International Spy Museum, Nationals Park, and Midtown Center.

Headquartered in Washington, MGAC is a leading provider of global owner’s representation, project management, and cost and risk management services dedicated to our clients and their organizational success. MGAC’s customized consulting integrates people, resources, and technical expertise through construction management best practices. Over the past five years, MGAC has collectively managed over $8 billion of corporate, critical environments, cultural, education, hospitality, government, retail, and historic building projects.


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