National Museum of the United States Navy


National Museum of the United States Navy








25,080 / 270,000



The planned state-of-the-art National Museum of the United States Navy is envisioned as a home for both Naval veterans and the public, a living memorial to the U.S. Navy’s heritage and a lighthouse in the community for education and public events.


The 270,000 sq ft campus includes a new building and ceremonial courtyard, as well as the potential renovation of existing historical buildings. BIG’s competition proposal, developed in collaboration with landscape architects Olin Studio and digital media agency Squint/Opera, seeks to reflect the historical context of the Navy Yard, while referencing the scale, materials and details of Navy vessels. An array of large-scale vitrines open up towards a public street, welcoming visitors and locals with an impressive glimpse into the museum’s collection of artifacts inside and outside, conveying the mission, lineage and breadth of operations that constitutes the US Navy.

"As a Dane and a resident of a houseboat – a Norwegian ferry I converted into my family home – to imagine a museum for the United States Navy is a true labor of love! Our concept for the National Museum of the United States Navy is informed by the beautiful heritage of the buildings in the Navy Yard. The Navy belongs in the water, so we put the museum in the water. A series of long slender buildings line up abreast to the main street showing off life-size artifacts from the 5 branches of the Navy: Surface, Subsurface, Expedition, Aviation and Space. The 5 buildings flow together to form an epic atrium cascading from the roof to the ground where all exhibitions will be visually and physically accessible upon arrival. This massive space will also serve as the majestic setting for ceremonies honoring those who served. As imagined, the Museum will be of the Navy as well as for the Navy."

Bjarke Ingels — Founder & Creative Director, BIG

BIG’s vision is developed with flexibility and utility in mind to allow for different events simultaneously in and around the building. Rather than closing or compromising the museum due to events, the visitor experience is enhanced by the varying spectacles playing out during the day allowing visitors glimpses of events while enjoying full access to the galleries.


The final concept will be chosen from a total of five concepts from the Naval Heritage History and Command’s Artistic Ideas Competition for the National Museum of the U.S. Navy (NMUSN).


The planned new museum is set to become a destination amongst the vast offerings of exhibition experiences in D.C, while also being a welcoming place of remembrance and contemplation for enlisted sailors, Navy Veterans and their families.

Bjarke Ingels Thomas Christoffersen Julie Kaufman Kristian Hindsberg Yu Inamoto Douglass Alligood Ema Hristova Bakalova Ryan Henriksen Jasmine Idiakhoa Hudson Parris


Kyoto Global Design Award for RealEstate, 2023


Squint Opera
Olin Studio