National Museum of African American History and Culture Design Competition
Moody Nolan, with Antoine Predock Architect, were one of only six firms selected to compete for the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The design concept for this museum was that of the “Rock,” a polyrhythmic mass of stone ordered as if by tectonic shift to reveal itself rising from the earth amidst the urban landscape. The spirit of convergence and gathering, historically rooted in the African American Praise House or Church, defines the strength, perseverance and unity in the cultural symbol of the Rock. Within the Rock is placed a symbolic tree, evoking the power of the historic 1,500-year-old Angel Oak on John’s Island, South Carolina, a witness to the masses of Africans arriving there.
The space beneath the great oak within the Rock, the NMAAHC, would be a place in which people gather to reconnect themselves to the energy that has brought African Americans through struggles and triumphs while re-instilling a connection with the earth. The atmosphere engendered in the Rock highlights the culture’s circuitous, yet persistent movement toward brighter futures, and manifests the trajectory of pitfalls and accomplishments that define African American culture.