Gaines Group Architects

4. National Museum of the American Indian #105architecturalinspiration

This has to be my favorite museum building in Washington D.C. The National Museum of the American Indian, part of the Smithsonian Institution, opened in late 2004. This building is also a LEED Silver rated project.


The curving winding exterior is clad in golden-colored Kasota limestone designed to evoke natural rock formations shaped by wind and water over thousands of years. The museum’s designers include architect Douglas Cardinal, a Blackfeet Indian; Johnpaul Jones, a Cherokee/Choctaw; Ramona Sakiestewa, a Hopi, and Donna House, a Navajo/Oneida. The architects included Lou Weller, a Caddo Indian, and the Native American Design Collaborative. Table Mountain Rancheria Enterprises—of the Table Mountain Rancheria American Indian tribe—assisted in construction.

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Kasota Limestone is found in southern Minnesota. This particular limestone is warm and inviting. The texture it creates along with the placement of stones adds age, beauty, and movement to he facade.

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This museum, the story is holds and the shapes it creates is a true architectural inspiration. 


#105architecturalinspirations is a collection of architectural details, buildings, and spaces that inspire me. I am taking on the challenge of finding two projects to spotlight each week in 2015. Hopefully I will be able to keep up and this process of discovery will push me to create better design solutions for my clients as I research and learn more about those projects I enjoy most. I challenge you to add your comments below about this project and to post your own inspirations for all to enjoy. 

Full List of previous #105architecturalinspiration posts

1. Jefferson’s Academical Village

2. Charleston, South Carolina

3. Solar Decathlon