The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington has been revealed as the Design Museum’s Beazley Design of the Year 2017.
The museum has been designed by architectural practices Adjaye Associates, The Freelon Group, Davis Brody Bond and SmithGroupJJR. It was inaugurated by former US president Barack Obama in September 2016, and is widely considered to be a “long-awaited symbol for the African American contribution to the nation’s history and identity”, says the Design Museum.
It comprises a three-tiered structure covered in bronze plates, with filigree patterned cladding that nods to the history of African American craftsmanship.
Selected as the winner of the architecture category, the museum beat five other category winners – spanning digital, fashion, graphics, product and transport – to claim the overall prize.
Individual category winners include Nike’s hijab designed specifically for athletes (fashion), The New York Times’ Fractured Lands issue, which tells the story of the events that have led to the global refugee crisis (graphics), and the Rapid Liquid Printing (RPL) technology developed by a team including the MIT Self-Assembly Lab (digital).
Air Ink – the first commercially available ink made from air pollution – picked up the best product award, while a wheelchair called Scewo that is able to climb stairs won best transport design.
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture joins previous winners including last year’s flat-pack refugee shelter designed by Ikea, the London 2012 Olympic Torch and the Barack Obama Hope poster in 2009.