By: Joe Strupp
When the Freedom Forum’s Newseum opens the doors to its new home in Washington, visitors should have little trouble finding it. After all, what other building in the nation’s capital has a six-story replica of the First Amendment etched on its side?
The stone panel with the Constitution’s most-famous contribution to journalism is just one of the elements of the design, which its planners recently released. With a projected cost of about $400 million, the 531,000-square-foot development will include 30,000 square feet of retail space and 100 condominium apartments. It is being financed by federal bonds that will be repaid by the Freedom Forum’s endowment over 35 years.
Scheduled to open in 2006 at Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street Northwest, the building is the creation of New York-based Polshek Partnership Architects LLP. The open-air design features an atrium, a 4,500-square-foot window on the street, and office and meeting space, as well as several floors devoted to the Newseum’s longtime exhibits of journalism history, ranging from Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs to historical newspaper-production tools.
The sidewalk outside the new location is already being used to display the Newseum’s “Today’s Front Page” feature, which reproduces front pages from daily papers in all 50 states each morning. First opened in 1997 in Arlington, Va., the Newseum closed temporarily in March to allow for the move to its new site.