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National Museum of Health and Medicine

The National Museum of Health and Medicine is one of the first blast-resistant Tilt-Up buildings in the United States.

The sculptural 20,000-square-foot structure is innovatively framed using a combination of cast-in-place, Tilt-Up concrete walls and structural steel. The Museum is clad with a combination of limestone veneer, metal wall panels and blast resistant curtain wall. The blast design and construction was particularly complicated due to the Museum's location, which straddles the protected area of the Forest Glenn Annex.

The building was designed in accordance with the Unified Facilities Criteria, Department of Defense (DOD) Minimum Antiterrorism Standards for Buildings. The Museum is home to thousands of highly sensitive and one-of-a-kind artifacts which are irreplaceable.

In order to preserve these artifacts, a very complex HVAC system was required to keep the humidity levels within five percent of the required 50 percent relative humidity, and temperature levels within two degrees of the set point temperature. The use of the Tilt-Up panels eliminated the structural penetrations building vapor barrier system to meet the strict HVAC requirements.

It was determined that Tilt-Up would be a viable option. Both conventional Tilt-Up panels and less conventional Tilt-Up spandrel panels met the design requirements. Tilt-Up panels were suspended off of cantilevering steel trusses. The end result proved that using Tilt-Up concrete panels was indeed the best method in achieving the design requirements for the Museum.

Main banner image for National Museum of Health and Medicine

Project Location

Silver Spring, MD 20910
United States

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Project Team (TCA Members)

General Contractor:
Concrete Contractor:
Costello Construction
Meadow Burke
Meadow Burke
Form Services Inc

Project Specifics

Project Category:
Museums / Exhibit
Building Types:
Angled Panels (Elevation-Edge/Shape)
Angled Panels (Plan-Orientation/Position)
Number of Floors:
Number of Panels:
55 panels
Tilt-Up Wall Area:
17,500 sq ft (1,626 sq m)
Total Floor Area:
20,000 sq ft (1,858 sq m)
Project Footprint:
20,000 sq ft (1,858 sq m)
Tallest Panel:
26 ft 0 in (7.92 m)
Widest Panel:
55 ft 0 in (16.76 m)
Largest Panel:
520 sq ft (48.3 sq m)
Heaviest Panel:
53,000 lbs (24,040 kg)
Longest Spandrel:
55 ft 0 in (16.76 m)
Recycled Content:
91 tons (US)