The Arts and Industries Building (AIB), with its “modernized Romanesque” style of architecture, was intended to successfully balance the adjacent Smithsonian Institution Building’s Norman Romanesque design.

“Hierarchy of Spaces”

The AIB’s first architect-in-charge, Adolf Cluss, designed the museum’s exterior to conform to a “hierarchy of spaces”, with its most significant element, the Rotunda, being the tallest. The other elements of the building – including the halls, courts, ranges and towers – flow naturally from this focal point. These building elements are highlighted by their individual roofs, as well as by an abundance of windows, allowing for the open flow of natural light.