Seeing the Light at Last

Told from the beginning, the tale of the new Norman Foster-designed glass canopy over the Smithsonian‘s Old Patent Office Building isn’t pretty. Historic preservationists did not like the idea of covering the courtyard of the building, which houses the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. And they were incensed when renovation at the museums, which began in January 2000, resulted in the removal of the previous courtyard’s historic features, including two fountains and elm trees. The Smithsonian didn’t help things when it seemed to navigate the shoals of the various approval processes with the subtlety of a Visigoth re-landscaping ancient Rome.

more at Washington Post

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