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Semper Fi[delis]: National Museum of the Marine Corps by Fentress Bradburn Architects

Quantico, Virginia: A new museum honoring US Marine Corps history will include an architectural metaphor that recalls the flag raisers at Iwo Jima.

by ArchNewsNow
April 10, 2002

The United State Marine Corps and the Department of the Navy’s Engineering Field Activity Chesapeake has selected Denver-based Fentress Bradburn Architects to design the $40 million, 120,000-square-foot National Museum of the Marine Corps. The project includes interactive exhibits, combat art collections, small arms displays, a heritage research area, a Great Hall/visitor orientation area, classrooms, a restaurant, bookstore, and gift shop.


The museum will be defined by a 210-foot element that soars at a 45-degree angle from the 160-foot-high glass atrium. This central component is symbolic of raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, Howitzer cannons, and the US Marine Corps’ raised swords. The 160-foot high Great Hall Space will house the Celebration of the Individual Marine exhibit that will include displays of Marine aircraft, tanks, amphibious vehicles, and other modes of air, ground, and sea transportation.


The 135-acre wooded site, adjacent to the USMC base in Quantico, Virginia, was donated by Prince William County. The museum is an integral element of the master plan for the entire $80 million United States Marine Corps Heritage Center. Surrounding the museum will be demonstration grounds for visitors to observe Marine Corps training exercises, and a Memorial Park where the names of every US Marine killed in the line of duty or missing in action will be inscribed. Parades, ceremonies, and Marine Band concerts will take place on the parade grounds near the museum. Future plans for the museum and site include a 400-seat IMAX theater, a 1,500-seat auditorium, an office building for fraternal organizations, and a conference center.


The museum is the first phase of the Heritage Center project, and is slated for completion in November 2005. Sustainable design concepts, such as earth integration of the building, and viable/renewable energy and natural daylighting solutions will reduce long term operating costs for the facility.


Approximately 30 architects competed in phase one of the international competition, resulting in four finalists that included HOK, Washington, DC; Tuck Hinton Architects, Nashville, TN; and Leo A. Daly, Washington, DC.


Fentress Bradburn Architects projects include the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, WY; the Clark County Government Center in Las Vegas, NV; the Main Passenger Terminal Complex at Denver International Airport; and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, OK. The firm has received 154 awards for design excellence, 26 of which are for excellence in the design of museums.

(click on pictures to enlarge)

(Courtesy of the architect)
Entry perspective of the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

(Courtesy of the architect)
Concept sketch.

(Courtesy of the architect)
Aerial view.

(Courtesy of the architect)
North elevation.

(Courtesy of the architect)
South elevation.

(Courtesy of the architect)
Interior perspective.

(Courtesy of the architect)
Master plan for the United States Marine Corps Heritage Center.

© 2002