14) Kogod Courtyard, Washington D.C.
Named by Conde Nast Traveler as “one of the seven architectural wonders” Kogod Courtyard exemplifies the dedication of blending modern design with a historic structure.
The courtyard features a stunning glass canopy over an enclosed courtyard.
It is modern and contemporary adding an elegant touch to an already elegant Greek Revival building that houses the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery.
It contains 28,000 square feet of open space filled with plants, trees, and water feature. It is filled with light and become a favorite location for meeting friends, having lunch at The Courtyard Café, listening to public lectures, or taking a break while touring the Smithsonian.
The canopy is the focal point as its wavy appearance gives the appearance that it’s floating. Constructed of steel and glass, the courtyard allows natural light to filter through while keeping visitors protected with double-glazed panels.
When architect Sir Norman Foster laid out his plan, it was decided not to tamper with the National Historic Landmark building but to add to it by creating an atmosphere of clouds floating over a courtyard; and that’s exactly what he achieved.