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The National Museum of the United States Army is designed to serve as the Army’s symbolic front door. The architecture draws inspiration from three core ideals—discipline, modesty, and rigorousness. These ideals are expressed particularly in the facade, which is designed in a regular grid of laser-cut, stainless steel panels. The panels reflect their bucolic surroundings—expressing a sense of optimism by transforming the building’s character through every season and time of day. At the corner of each of the building’s five pavilions, recessed glass panels alternate with painted aluminum fins to add a sense of dynamism. Because the complex lies on a three-foot grid system, with every joint and edge of the building falling on each subdivision with precision, the aluminum fins are spaced 18 inches apart to fall exactly on the edges of the panels. Stainless steel pylons sharing individual soldier stories lead visitors from the promenade and into the museum. In the grand lobby, a black granite wall lists every campaign in the Army’s history, and the Department of the Army’s emblem is inscribed on the terrazzo floor. Above, a coffered ceiling with 22 rows of translucent, laminated glass panels match the campaign streamers from the Army’s past—bringing the focus to the individual soldier. A monumental staircase leads visitors to the second floor, and on the third level, the Medal of Honor Garden features striped granite paving that matches the interior’s coffered ceilings, and a 10-foot-tall granite wall engraved with the names of every medal recipient.


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