The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, also called the Udvar-Hazy Center, is the SmithsonianNational Air and Space Museum (NASM)’s annex at Washington Dulles International Airport in the Chantilly area of Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. It holds numerous exhibits, including the Space Shuttle Discovery and the Enola Gay.
Designed by Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, who also designed the National Air and Space Museum building, the Center required 15 years of preparation and was built by Hensel Phelps Construction Co. The exhibition areas comprise two large hangars, the 293,707-square-foot (27,286.3 m2) Boeing Aviation Hangar and the 53,067-square-foot (4,930.1 m2) James S. McDonnell Space Hangar. The Donald D. Engen Observation Tower provides a view of landing operations at adjacent Washington Dulles International Airport. The museum also contains an IMAX theater. A taxiway connects the museum to the airport.
Phase Two of the Udvar-Hazy Center will be dedicated to the behind-the-scenes care of the Smithsonian’s collection of aircraft, spacecraft, related artifacts and archival materials. On December 2, 2008, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center received a gift of $6 million for phase two from Airbus Americas Inc. — the largest corporate gift to the Smithsonian Institution in 2008.
Because of the museum’s close proximity to the United States Capitol, the Smithsonian wanted a building that would be architecturally impressive but would not stand out too boldly against the Capitol building. St. Louis-based architect Gyo Obataof HOK designed the museum as four simple marble-encased cubes containing the smaller and more theatrical exhibits, connected by three spacious steel-and-glass atria which house the larger exhibits such as missiles, airplanes and spacecraft. The mass of the museum is similar to the National Gallery of Art across the National Mall, and uses the same pink Tennessee marble as the National Gallery. Built by Gilbane Building Company, the museum was completed in 1976. The west glass wall of the building is used for the installation of airplanes, functioning as a giant door.
Since 1976, the Air and Space Museum has received basic repair. In 2001, the glass curtain walls were replaced.
In June 2015, the Smithsonian made public a report which documented the need for extensive renovations to the Air and Space Museum. Many of the building’s mechanical and environmental systems were redesigned during its construction from 1972 to 1976, which left them inadequate to handle the environmental, visitor, and other stresses placed on the building and its exhibits. Subsequently, these systems are in serious disrepair and exhibits are being harmed.
On June 30, 2015, the Smithsonian began seeking approval for a $365 million renovation to the National Air and Space Museum. The agency hired the firm of Quinn Evans Architects to design the renovations and improvements. Interior changes include improving handicapped accessibility, main entrance visibility, and perimeter security. The entire façade will be replaced (using Tennessee marble again). The glass curtain walls will be replaced with triple glazed, thermally broken panels set in an aluminumframe. The curtain walls will be reinforced with steel to help improve their resistance to explosive blasts.
Additional changes the Smithsonian would like to make, but which are not included in the $365 million price tag, include the installation of 1,300 solar panels on roof and the Independence Avenue side of the museum, the construction of vestibules over the main entrances, and reconstruction of the terraces (which leak water into the parking garage and offices beneath the structure). The Smithsonian said it would submit its designs to the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) on July 9, 2015, for review and approval. If the NCPC authorizes the changes, the museum (which has the money for construction in hand) could begin work in 2018 and finish in 2024.
In March 2016, Smithsonian officials said the project’s cost had risen to $600 million.
In late June 2016, Smithsonian officials projected the museum’s renovation to cost $1 billion. This included $676 million for construction, $50 million to build new storage space, and $250 million for new exhibits. The Smithsonian said it would raise the exhibit funds from private sources, but asked Congress to appropriate the rest. Demolishing the building and erecting a new structure would cost $2 billion, the agency claimed.