The courtyard is now the largest event space in Washington D.C, complete with fully grown trees. The lattice work of the ceiling is reflected in the unique water feature on the floor, and the feeling of being outside is enhanced by the beautiful landscape design by Kathryn Gustafson of Seattle–based Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd. It is meant to be a gathering space with lectures and concerts happening regularly, free public WiFi and a casual dining cafe.
The courtyard’s wavy steel and glass design is the latest of Foster + Partner‘s impressive list of projects. They also designed the LEED Gold Hearst Tower in New York City, the Great Court at the British Museum in London and the Reichstag, the New German Parliament in Berlin. The roof was designed with eight aluminum-surfaced columns that reflect the style of the building and are perfectly placed to insure the weight of the vaulted ceiling does not affect the historic structure. Along with being a beautiful place to gather, the courtyard can be seen from the museum’s many galleries providing a summer-like vista even on the coldest of winter days.