Bjarke Ingels’ team designs the Juneteenth Museum in Texas
A team including Danish architect Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and African-American firm KAI Enterprises has unveiled the design for the 50,000 square foot National Juneteenth Museum in Fort Worth, North Central Texas.
The museum is dedicated to preserving the history of Juneteenth, commemorating the “Breaking of the Chains,” the emancipation of enslaved African Americans that occurred on June 19, 1865.
The museum is run by American activist Opal Lee, activist and former teacher, known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth”.
The design’s gabled roofs reference Fort Worth’s historic Southside neighborhood.
The pointed roofs also represent the nova star, which means “new star”, which hopes to symbolize a new chapter for African Americans.
In the center of a public courtyard is a “five-pointed” star engraved in gold, representing not only Texas as a lone state, but also the 50 stars of the American flag, representing the freedom of African Americans throughout the country.
Opal Lee, said“Seeing the national museum move forward is a dream come true. I’ve had a small Juneteenth Museum in this very location for almost 20 years, and seeing it become a central place for discussion, collaboration, and learning seems like the next heaven-sent step – of my walking campaign in Washington, D.C. , the petition , and declaring June 16 a federal holiday. It’s mind-blowing, but I’m glad to see it all come true.
Douglass Alligood, major partner, said: “As a black architect, this project is one of the most rewarding experiences of my career… After almost 40 years in this profession, I have the opportunity to lead a design for a project focused on culture Afro-American.
“Our engagement with Ms. Opal Lee is what inspired much of the design principles; our hope is that this building will become a gateway to Fort Worth’s historic Southside community while serving as a national and global destination. Juneteenth isn’t just American history – it’s world history.
Construction of the Nineteenth National Museum is expected to begin in 2023.