National Medal of Honor Museum
Set into a five-acre tranquil landscape, the Museum complex’s primary building volume seemingly hovers above ground by 40 feet, supported by five concrete megacolumns, each representing a branch of the United States Armed Forces.
The National Medal of Honor Museum is a new 130,000-gross square foot facility located in the Arlington, Texas Entertainment District, across from AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park. The design concept evokes both the “burden” of those who have received the Medal of Honor and the inspirational character traits that are exemplified by its recipients.
The primary building volume that contribute to the Museum’s symbolic image is the Exhibition Hall which seemingly hovers above ground by 40 feet, supported by five concrete supporting megacolumns, each representing a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. Clad in metal panel, the dark, metallic Exhibition Hall envelope recalls steel as it emerges from the fiery heat of a forge, its opaque surface wraps light-controlled exhibit spaces on the interior.
The Museum complex features a sunken, open courtyard, the Rotunda of Honor, a space that functions as the main entrance point into the facility and a public space for gathering prior to entering the Museum. A conical oculus cut out of the center of the Exhibition Hall above allows light to penetrate down into the Rotunda of Honor. Visitors pass through the Rotunda to arrive at the Exhibition Hall, via a pair of glass elevators or by means of two stairs ascending upwards in a spiral.
Exhibition Hall displays derive from the Museum’s core goal of inspiring acts of everyday heroism among its visitors through communicating the intangible subject that is the focus of the Museum. Exhibits feature micro and macro artifacts interspersed within immersive, interpretive, and interactive story-telling presentations of content.
The Rotunda is ringed by diverse functions that activate the shaded plaza space and also integrate the complex within the greater Dallas Fort Worth Arlington community. To the west, the Leadership Institute will host robust programs for teachers, students, business executives, and veterans, focusing on character-based leadership. The Museum shop, a café, and the Education and Curatorial center are located to the east. The Theater and a space known as the Great Hall flank views from the Rotunda out to Mark Holtz Lake, establishing a dramatic setting for larger commemorative, celebratory, and educational events. Support and administrative spaces are also located at this level.
Each of the building functions that surround the Rotunda are located below the site’s highest grade point and are concealed by a green roof that seamlessly connects with the surrounding open park space of Richard Greene Linear Park. Windows and transparent facades at this level front directly onto a lower grade level next to Mark Holtz Lake, permitting daylight to enter occupied spaces and providing views to the broader Entertainment District context of Arlington beyond. Museum grounds at the lower level integrate with the surrounding landscape and extend the lake path, making it more accessible and pedestrian-oriented.