Louisiana Children’s Museum Receives 2021 Buildy Award

Date Posted: 03.01.2021

The Louisiana Children’s Museum (LCM) is one of two museums to win the 2021 Buildy Award, a national honor recognizing the most outstanding recent museum building projects. The Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums (MAAM) will celebrate LCM and The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture at the 16th Annual Building Museums Symposium on Wednesday, March 3rd. In showcasing these two museums, MAAM underscores the importance of the museums’ work to address significant social issues: social/racial justice and climate change / global warming.

Following Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana Children’s Museum sought to holistically address the health and development of children in a state that often ranks 48th or 49th in educational outcomes. The Museum relocated from an indoor-focused experience in New Orleans’ Warehouse District to a new campus centrally located in 1,300-acre New Orleans City Park. The new facility, which opened to the public in August 2019, presents a transformative model for children’s museums, one that weaves together indoor and outdoor learning opportunities along with literacy, parenting, early childhood research and environmental education activities to create a holistic and supportive environment for children and their families.

“We are excited by this national recognition celebrating the unique vision of Louisiana Children’s Museum on this amazing site in New Orleans City Park,” said Richard Franko FAIA, Mithun design partner. “It’s especially rewarding given the holistic criteria of the Buildy Award, which looks at all aspects of the museum project from sustainability, equity, design, operations and community outreach.”

The Buildy Award announcement applauds LCM’s design process for being “intentional, iterative, integrated, and fully engag[ing] members of the community from the youngest to the oldest. Architectural, landscape, interior, exhibit, learning and graphic design processes all used shared goals from the Learning Framework and beautifully wove the planning processes together. Each design was effective in making the richly diverse culture of New Orleans, and those who shape the culture, visible and appreciated.”

The Museum has been recognized formally with national rankings, as well as architectural, construction and environmental graphics awards. It has achieved LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, a testament to the project’s integrated design strategies and high-performance outcomes.

The design of Louisiana Children’s Museum was led by Mithun, including architecture, landscape architecture and interior design. The collaborating architect was Waggonner & Ball, based in New Orleans. Exhibits designed by Gyroscope, Inc. built upon the Learning Framework by Vergeront Museum Planning, with environmental graphics by Studio Matthews. ARUP provided MEP and lighting design, and Thornton Tomasetti the structural engineering.

Mithun also received a Buildy Award in 2020 for the National Nordic Museum.