Artful Renewal

The Luce Foundation Center for American Art.

On July 1st, when the Smithsonian American Art Museum reopens its doors following a six-year renovation, it will unveil the brand new $10 million Luce Foundation Center for American Art. The first visible art storage and study center in Washington, it will present 3,300 paintings, sculptures, crafts and folk art objects in secure glass cases. Interactive kiosks and computers will provide a multi-media overview of every item on display. Washington-based Hartman-Cox architects oversaw the renovation of the entire historic building that now houses both the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. Originally designed by German architect Adolf Cluss in 1877, the hall pictured above was most recently used as a library and office space. The renovation team transformed it back into a graceful gallery while remaining faithful to Cluss’s design. They preserved the existing columns and balconies, re-created the marble floor according to historic patterns and installed new chandeliers based on designs of the period.