After an intense and highly publicized competition, the Trust for the National Mall has announced the three winning teams selected to redesign the neglected sites of America’s front yard. As reported by the Washington Post, Rogers Marvel Architects & Peter Walker and Partners will redesign Constitution Gardens east of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, while Weiss/Manfredi & OLIN will bring new life to the Sylvan Theater, southeast of the Washington Monument. The Union Square will be forwarded to the Architect of the Capitol and transformed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol & Davis Brody Bond.
Continue reading for more on the winning proposals.
The National Mall hasn’t been renovated in over 35 years, and with over 25 million annual visitors, it has been in disrepair for quite sometime. The Mall’s poor maintenance was spotlighted last year when Solar Decathlon officials decided to relocate the biannual competition to Orlando, Florida due to their concern for the Mall’s “long-term health”.
Narrowed down from a field of 58 entries for each site, the top twelve finalists were placed on display for public comment in the beginning of April. The winning designs envision a vibrant, 21st-century park that will embellish the Mall’s sense of place, but remain sensitive to the historical context.
The transformation of Union Square, including the Reflecting Pool and the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, will be conducted by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol & Davis Brody Bond. Kathryn Gustafson, Director of GGN stated, “The National Mall is an extraordinary monumental landscape. Remarkable for its sheer scale, its powerful presence serves the country as both a public park and place of gathering and discourse. The goal of our design is to create a sustainable, durable and flexible plaza that is yet inviting and also active when it is not occupied for national events.”
Weiss/Manfredi & OLIN will redevelop Sylvan Theater. Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi described, “Our vision for the Sylvan Theater at the Washington Monument Grounds elevates the performing arts, literally and figuratively, with a new amphitheater land form shaded by a canopy of trees that affirms this site as our nation’s center stage. We turn the audience’s sights to both the obelisk and the arts and restore lost connections between the Mall and Tidal Basin with a sinuous land bridge.”
Inspired by the 1976 plan developed for the bicentennial, Rogers Marvel Architects & Peter Walker and Partners will redesign the Constitution Gardens, between the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. “We are very excited to have won the competition. Both Constitution Gardens and Presidents Park are very important public spaces in Washington DC. These competitions mark a time in the city for building on legacy,” said Isabelle Moutaud, strategy director at Rogers Marvel Architects. “On Constitution Gardens, we were impressed with the clarity and optimism of the original modernist plan. Our design focused on extending that legacy, to bring renewed life to this exquisitely different site on the National Mall.”
The first project will break ground in 2014. Each project will be phased in accordingly, depending on cost, other park events and public input. The first ribbon-cutting is expected to take place by 2016.
Now that the winners have been named, the trust can begin fundraising for its two projects. The Architect of the Capitol will handle fundraising for Union Square. The entire National Mall Plan, developed by the National Park Service in 2010, should cost about $700 million. Roughly half of the costs will come from the private sector.