Midway between the Capitol and the White House stands the Newseum, imaginatively designed in bars of distinct volumes referencing the sections of a newspaper. Differing degrees of opacity and translucency accommodate the building’s various functions as museum, offices, and residences. A unique horizontal cable-stayed “window on the world” marks the center of its primary facade with representative transparency, standing for a fundamental principle of journalism and media: free speech. In addition to 22 different kinds of glass, the museum features a stone engraved with the 45 words of the First Amendment, and terraces on the fifth and sixth floors with 180 degree views of an iconic stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue.
The curtain wall systems were designed with innovative means of accommodating differential movement. A 250-foot truss serves as the structural support for the museum’s middle bar, allowing for an open central space, but also creating the potential for significant deflections. Heintges used 90-foot-long, slender steel plates, hung from the underside of the structural truss, to support the curtain wall’s dead load at a single level and enable the wall to accommodate all movement fully concealed. Heintges collaborated with the design team on a unitized glass and aluminum double-skin acoustic-control television studio that allows camera views to the Capitol while dampening outside noise. To achieve an appropriate level of energy efficiency, Heintges specified high performance glazing and opaque glass sunshades, optimizing user comfort and fabrication while advancing the building’s aesthetic intent.
Heintges served as design consultant on all exterior enclosures throughout the design process and construction.
Photographs 1-7 by Jeff Goldberg/Esto and final rendering by Heintges.