There are two glass pavilions in solemn rise over Washington DC’s Judiciary Square. Standing tall at twenty-five feet, they are a commanding yet discreet presence that allows an unobstructed view of the National Law Enforcement Memorial; and they reveal the location of the museum beneath.
The National Law Enforcement Museum (NLEM) is a project that was nearly two decades in the making. The construction was authorized during the Clinton administration, but it took many rounds through congress and several economic challenges and budget revisions before a ceremonial ground-breaking in 2010. Construction didn’t begin in earnest until 2016—a full ten years after we joined the Davis Buckley Architects project team.
The clarity and visual weightlessness of glass is a direct, contemporary response to the very solid and substantial historic buildings in surround. Yielding focus to the Memorial, these elegant and powerful structures virtually disappear, but provide ample light to the three-story underground museum.
We worked in concert with Davis Buckley’s architectural austerity, creating a gorgeous monumental identification sign of clear acrylic that both announces and stands down in respect. Interior signs take their form from the law enforcement shield. Our three-tiered donor system recognizes the many donors who contributed with a thin blue line incorporated into the glass rail. Donors who made significant contributions are honored with glass panels, and the largest donors will find their names on the grand curved wall, on curved panels of bead blasted stainless steel with cut letter forms.