Saturday, April 24, 2010

an ode to the National Building Museum

Some buildings are just so fabulous it is a treat to be in them day after day. The secrets of their design unfold as you study them and live with them. The National Building Museum where the Smithsonian Craft Show is being held is one such location.  Just look at the large fountain in the central courtyard which is only a couple of booths up from my location.

The arches stretch up to a magnificent ceiling with more arches, light and windows that open to provide air circulation.

Isn't that view truly awe inspiring? Here is a view from another angle.

Look at the detail and gracefulness in these windows.

And this is the hallway around the outside of the great room. I quickly walk around the outside of the show when I need more coffee.

Even the base of the columns have ornate terra cotta designs echoes throughout the building. The columns themselves are made of bricks covered with plaster made to look like marble. I just read that more than 15,000,000 bricks were used to make this building.

Another of my favorite details are the terra cotta steps slightly worn and softened with age. Aren't they glorious and so human with their patterns.

And here is a shot of my booth against its back drop. What more could I ask for?

Maybe today I will take pictures of the light streaming in from the windows--there are about ten minutes every day when my booth seems aglow. There are also views from the balcony. So much more to explore.

Can you believe it was build at a cost of less than $900,000 between 1881-1889 for the Office of the Pension. There is much more information at

Have you ever been here? Seen it on TV--once you know what it looks like--many famous events are held here from Hillary's concession speech to President and Mrs Obama's first dance at the Inauguration. Heads of state meet here. There is even an exhibit on Parking Garages. Do you have a favorite buildig?


  1. This IS one of my favorite buildings,Ann. I like to sit in those stair wells with those deep steps with the short rise which are designed that way so that crippled soldiers and horses could use them after the Civil War. Incredible

  2. Did you know that the reason the brick steps are so low-rise and deep was for the pensioneers to ride their horses up them? (LOVE those steps and the book store). Wishing up all the best!

  3. I actually did know that. I just learned that the building was in such disrepair they considered tearing it down--sacriledge!!!--but instead began renovating it in the late 60's.