The groundbreaking ceremony for the Bollinger Canopy of Peace was held March 28, 2018. The iconic architectural structure, scheduled for completion in 2019, will rise 148 feet above the center of campus. The Canopy—a steel lattice framework supporting Teflon-coated fiberglass panels—will be 482 feet long and 134 feet wide, held aloft by four steel legs anchored in more than 1,260 cubic yards of concrete.
Made possible through a generous 2015 gift from longtime Museum Trustee Donald T. “Boysie” Bollinger and his wife Joy, the Canopy will visually unify the Museum’s architecturally distinctive campus, bringing all of the buildings together in a way that embraces the stories told beneath it of the American experience in World War II.
Speakers at the ceremony were Jim Courter, Chairman of the Board of Trustees; Stephen Watson, President & CEO; Gordon H "Nick" Mueller, President & CEO Emeritus; Boysie Bollinger, Trustee, former Chairman of the Board, and named donor; and Bart Voorsanger, Architect, Voorsanger Mathes.
Earlier, the first massive elements of the Canopy were delivered to the Museum campus. The 825-ton structure will be moored in reinforced concrete footings already in place beneath the Museum’s campus. The Canopy’s steel is zinc-coated and made up of a frame-and-truss system that’s been wind-tunnel tested to exceed American Society of Civil Engineers safety standards to withstand the most extreme tropical storms. Structural Engineer Thornton Tomasetti, who commissioned the testing, has worked to optimize the performance of structures including the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
The $14 million edifice will be illuminated at night by a lighting system designed by New Orleans’s Solomon Group to rival the displays seen on the exterior of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The exterior LED lighting system—similar to those used at sports stadiums around the country—will cast various colors up its steel support legs and through its fiberglass sails.
The Bollinger Canopy of Peace is one of the final phases of the Museum’s expansion plan. In December 2017, the institution broke ground on The Higgins Hotel & Conference Center, which is scheduled for completion by 2019, along with the Hall of Democracy, to house the new Institute for the Study of War and Democracy and WWII Media and Education Center. The Museum’s final building, the three-level Liberation Pavilion, will complete the institution’s WWII narrative by exploring the war’s conclusion, the immediate postwar years, and WWII’s meaning today. It’s slated for completion in 2020.