Building renovation gives valuable artifacts a new home

Smithsonian museums get an award-winning climate-controlled facility for their extensive collections.

06/03/2013


One of the most memorable cinematic images of the last three decades is the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark, where the crate containing the Ark of the Covenant is wheeled through a giant warehouse containing countless other such crates. While, as far as I know, the federal government doesn’t have the warehouse depicted in that film, the next best thing may be the Smithsonian’s Pennsy Collections and Support Center, an unmarked 360,000-sq-ft warehouse in Landover, Md. There one can find rows of 20-ft-high shelving containing every imaginable type of artifact.

The building holds an extensive textile collection; floor-to-ceiling racks filled with 18th-century pianos; and historic films, photos, and documents. Unlike the movie warehouse, however, this is not a dusty, breezy place, but one with strict environmental controls to preserve all the treasures it contains. Given the variety of items to be preserved and types of workspaces, the building has different climate zones served by 29 rooftop air handlers and a Meefog system providing precise levels of humidification to 15 of those AHUs.

On the fast track

The workshop area shows Nederman snorkels to remove fumes from workbenches. Courtesy: Gensler Architects. Photography by Paul Warchol Photography Inc., New YorkWhen the leases for storage facilities being used by four of its museums were running out, the Smithsonian decided to look for a larger facility to consolidate those operations. In addition to being large enough, the building had to be close to downtown Washington, D.C., have easy access to transportation, and be able to service large trucks for loading and unloading. After looking at many different buildings, the Smithsonian settled on a 1960s furniture warehouse in an industrial area of Landover, Md. It met the Smithsonian’s size, location, and loading needs, but was in no shape for preserving valuable artifacts.

As part of a 15-year lease agreement, however, the building owner, Trammel Crow, agreed to pay for the necessary build out. It hired the architecture firm Gensler to oversee the renovation, and Gensler contracted with Vanderweil Engineers as the primary MEP engineers. Both groups had to operate on a compressed time schedule.

“It was fast track,” said Deb Hill, project manager for Gensler, the architecture firm overseeing the renovation. “We were dealing with seven different entities, so there were a lot of people weighing in, and they had to move.”

The building was laid out with a mix of dedicated storage spaces for some of the museums, combined with shared spaces including a cafeteria, fitness center, library, showers, workshops, and print shops for creating the signs and materials for exhibits. It also included facilities for training Smithsonian security personnel, such as xray equipement and a simulated gun range, and a central mail facility for the institution. The storage facilies needed cusom built shelving, and archival spaces had to be divided into smaller sections for fire protection. The team established 12-ft-wide routes for vehicles to move through the warehouse and separate smaller paths for people. An emergency generator was installed to power life and fire safety systems in the event of a blackout. Water sprinkler systems not only had to be installed along the ceiling, but also within many of the shelving units.

To top it all off, everything had to look good. And the end result does, with the facility winning several design awards, including an American Insitute of Architects (AIA) Maryland Honor Award for Interior Architecture.


<< First < Previous Page 1 Page 2 Next > Last >>

The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Robotic integration and cloud connections; SCADA and cybersecurity; Motor efficiency standards; Open- and closed-loop control; Augmented reality
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Robotic integration and cloud connections; SCADA and cybersecurity; Motor efficiency standards; Open- and closed-loop control; Augmented reality
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Robotic integration and cloud connections; SCADA and cybersecurity; Motor efficiency standards; Open- and closed-loop control; Augmented reality
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me