Huntington Park, CA – (April 2006) – The striking limestone facade of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C., cloaks an idea that Native Americans may have envisioned long ago when they crafted their dwellings out of materials which were plentiful in their rugged environments.
A building's skin to some Native Americans was quite literally the hide of an animal stretched to provide shelter from weather and natural elements. Today however a building's skin, known as a Building Envelope System such as the type found protecting both the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) building and the treasures inside, is the scientifically engineered equivalent to the shelters that provided protection to this land’s indigenous tribes and communities.
While the methods for creating housing have dramatically progressed in North America, the ideas for modern building components, some might suggest, can be understood by looking at the dwellings of our earlier ancestors. Building Envelope Systems are scientific advances that find their roots in the fundamental principles Native Americans used to block wind, weather and prevent heat loss in their traditional types of dwellings which included Tipis, igloos, long houses and Hogans.
Today it is a sign of respect that the preservation of Native people’s relics, honorable traditions and rich cultural heritage is entrusted to the emerging field of building science, and the National Museum of Native American Indians (NMAI) has one of the most scientifically advanced and most ecologically efficient designs on its block.
Located on the National Mall in Washington D.C. the NMAI building sits on a 4.25 acre site, between the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum and the U.S. Capitol Building. This five-story, 250,000-square foot curvilinear building features an ultra-modern Building Envelope System, from Henry Company which includes a continuous air barrier and waterproofing system that completely envelopes the building from its curved roof right through the buildings foundation.
Protecting the treasures within from wind, rain, humidity, dust, allergens, toxic pollutants, ground water, car exhaust and even hurricane force winds, the Building Envelope System provides a critical layer of protection that safeguards its contents, and provides a long and healthy life for the building itself.
The Building Envelope System on NMAI includes the all weather Air and Vapor Barrier system known as Blueskin SA, a self-adhered weather membrane that provides in-wall protection from air pressure, water vapor, and rain driven water intrusion. Connected to the high quality Blueskin wall air barrier is a roofing waterproofing system most often associated with Green Roof System, namely the Henry 790-11 Waterproofing and Roofing System.
The Henry¨ 790-11 premium waterproofing system protects the building’s roof from storm water, weather damage and sunlight, and is linked to the Blueskin barrier as a system known to building scientists as the Building Envelope Systems.
While each waterproofing system (roof, wall, and foundation) works to prevent intrusion of air and moisture separately, together the systems working as a Building Envelope System provides a monolithic protective barrier that ensures the fragile treasures preserved in NMAI will be available for enjoyment for many generations.
Henry Company is the leading innovator of Building Envelope Systems¨ and understands the principals of integrating Air and Vapor Barriers, Roofing and Waterproofing Systems to ensure superior building performance.
From rooftop to foundation, Henry professionals offer designers, contractors and building owners a combination of technical experience and a commitment to provide quality products. For more than 70-years Henry¨ has been the trusted source for complete Building Solutions.
Call 800-598-7663 for information.
National Museum of the American Indian
4th Street and Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20560
Gordon Contractors, Inc.
9010 Edgeworth Drive
Capitol Heights, MD 20743
909 N Sepulveda Blvd, Suite 650
El Segundo, CA 90245
Architectural and Project Designer
SmithGroup of Washington D.C.
Polshek Partnership Architects of NYC
Museum Design Architects
GBQC Architects of Philadelphia, PA
Architect Johnpaul Jones (Cherokee/Choctaw)
Project Architects and Design Consultants
Jones & Jones Architects Landscape Architects Ltd of Seattle
Lou Weller (Caddo) Native American Design Collaborative
Ramona Sakiestawa (Hopi) Donna House (Navajo/Oneida)
EDAW Inc., Landscape Architects in Alexandria VA
Jones & Jones Architects