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Aerial view of the SI Castle and AIB
Aerial photo of the Smithsonian Institution Building Smithsonian Institution Building


The Smithsonian Institution Building, the “Castle,” is the Institution’s first home and its symbolic heart. The Arts and Industries Building opened in 1881 as the first home of the National Museum. Together, these two buildings comprise the Smithsonian’s Historic Core. Both buildings are in need of major revitalization, work that will include new, efficient heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems, new electrical and plumbing systems, and new telecommunications, security and life safety systems. A new, underground Central Utility Plant will provide mechanical and electrical infrastructure and a new Consolidated Loading Facility will improve the efficiency and safety of materials handling in the South Mall Campus. A goal of the revitalization will prioritize exterior restoration, and to provide efficient and accessible space for visitors and staff. Public spaces will be restored after years of piecemeal remodeling that has diminished their original proportions and appearance.

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