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Progress Update on Johns Hopkins University’s 555 Pennsylvania Avenue

MGAC’s Mark Anderson, Colby Pfister, Sarah Eynon, Vince McLaughlin Jr., and Delmi Pena

Last summer, Johns Hopkins University (JHU) finalized the purchase of the former Newseum building at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, DC, a future site of a collaboration and learning hub for JHU. MGAC’s project team gave us a tour of the renovations that are underway to convert the property from a museum to a state-of-the-art university facility.


Taking down the First Amendment tablet that will be crated and shipped to Philadelphia, where it will be installed in the National Constitution Center.


The original structure is an extremely intricate and custom-tailored building to accommodate for the former Newseum’s open program and flow of visitors. Over the past few months, the project team has installed roughly 148 tons of steel bracing and reinforcement to hold the building together while the columns, shear walls, and slabs are reconfigured. The latest concrete application techniques in conjunction with carbon dioxide capture technology is being used to increase cure strength and reduce environmental footprint.


Interior Staircases


The 555 building had staircases that spanned its massive atrium. The original building was designed to channel the course of former Newseum visitors in a programmatic flow. As the team prepares the building to accept the new program for JHU, the stairs have been cut out and lowered to the ground floor for removal. The new atrium will be even larger with 9 stories and will feature “floating” classrooms.

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