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RNA Stair at the National Academies

Art Gallery

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The new building of the National Academies in Washington, D.C., features a spiral staircase modeled after ribonucleic acid, or RNA. This molecule is generally smaller than the double-stranded DNA helix and has only one strand.

The Smith Group Inc. designed the staircase, which connects nine levels of the building. Later, the artist Larry Kirkland came up with the idea of placing metal cones with mirrors at the top and the bottom, a final touch that suggests the molecule continues in both directions.

RNA Stair at the National Academies building in Washington, D.C.

Kirkland has contributed other works of art to the new building, and he will discuss the installations on November 21. More information on the event is available here.

Birgit Reinert

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