George Washington University Museum: Loading Management and Traffic Assessment - Wells + Associates

Wood Street

Multifaceted Approach to Loading of Sensitive Artifacts Achieves Zoning Approval

Assignment: Design transportation access facilities for a new museum in the District of Columbia. That’s a traffic engineering challenge we love.

In conjunction with its Campus Plan, the George Washington University decided to construct a new museum on its Foggy Bottom campus. The new 24,000 S.F. museum houses gallery and exhibition spaces, including a high bay gallery, and provides learning and educational facilities. In addition, there are library facilities, staff offices, and collections processing. 

W+A’s DC traffic engineering team was selected to provide a solution to two unique transportation challenges of loading of materials and artifacts into the museum: 

  1. The priceless artifacts and sensitive nature of the pieces to be transported to/from the museum require secure, climate-controlled space.
  2. The museum site has frontage on two roads. But due to the historic preservation of Woodhull House, the only opportunity for loading access is from 21st Street. 

W+A worked closely with the University, project architects, and the District Department of Transportation to design a multifaceted loading approach. We designed a curb cut to allow trucks delivering artifacts to back into a secure, climate-controlled facility. We developed a monitoring plan to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the curb cut. We also established a curbside loading zone on 21st Street to accommodate other trucks that do not require the secure, climate-controlled loading. 

W+A provided expert testimony at the Zoning Commission hearing. Subsequently, the Zoning Commission approved the Second Stage development application. The museum opened in 2015.