Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard
The Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, with its elegant glass canopy, was designed by the world-renowned architectural firm Foster + Partners. It is a signature element of the renovated National Historic Landmark building that houses the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. The enclosed courtyard provides a distinctive, contemporary accent to the museums' Greek Revival building.
"The design was driven by a deep respect for the existing building," said Foster. "It was decided that it should not touch the building at any point-floating above it instead, like a cloud over a courtyard."
The roof, a steel structure with a glass and aluminum exterior, has a surface area of approximately 37,500 square feet. There are 864 panes of glass and no two are alike. Eight steel columns support the canopy, which weighs around 900 tons.
At 28,000 square feet, the courtyard is one of the largest public event spaces in Washington. The interior features a variety of plantings, including two 32-foot high ficus trees and 16 black olive trees which sit in white marble planters on a black granite floor. Foster + Partners worked closely with acclaimed landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson on the design of the interior which includes four of her signature water scrims.
The light-filled Kogod Courtyard is a welcoming space downtown in the nation's capital as well as a public venue for the museums' performances, lectures and special events. Free public wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi) is available in the courtyard. The Courtyard Café offers casual dining from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.