The Trust for the National Mall held a three stage design competition to design areas of the Mall that have fallen into state of disrepair due to neglect and inadequate funding. The Design Competition seeks to revitalize areas of the Mall including the Washington Monument, Union Square and Constitution Gardens. The winners of the design competition were recently announced with OLIN + Weiss/Manfredi winning Sylvan Theater (Washington Monument), Rogers Marvel Architects + Peter Walker and Partners won the Constitution Gardens and Gustafson Guthrie Nichol + Davis Brody Bond won the Union Square.
The Trust for the National Mall will seek to raise up to $350 million in private funds over seven years to support NPS-approved projects that are identified in NPS’s National Mall Plan. NPS anticipates allocating additional funds for National Mall Plan implementation as they become available.
Sylvan Theater – Washington Monument | OLIN + Weiss/Manfredi
” The Washington Monument, positioned at the heart of the Mall, is visible for miles and is the literal and philosophical compass for our nation. Extending from this central landmark is the Sylvan Theater and Sylvan Grove. OLIN & WEISS/MANFREDI’s approach for this performance landscape embodies the surprise and magic of the Shakespearean forest that inspired the name of the original theater nearly a century ago. The design team’s vision reinvigorates the Monument Grounds; clarifies visual connections between the White House, the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial; provides new physical connections between the cultural landscape of the Mall and the Tidal Basin; and, most importantly, creates a transformed setting for the nation’s most visible stage.”
“The design of Sylvan Grove is oriented around a sequence of settings that together, imagine a new performance landscape. A new wooded canopy and terraced lawn define the amphitheater, where a wide range of performances and events are experienced against the backdrop of the Washington Monument. The ascending landform reorients the theater to views of the Mall, conceals traffic and lines of tour buses, and creates new pedestrian connections to the Tidal Basin. To solve the physical disconnect between the Tidal Basin and the Mall, the design includes a tree lined “balcony,” serving as a viewing terrace, which continues across the roadways and descends to the water’s edge to create a physical link between the Tidal Basin and the Mall.” – OLIN + Weiss/Manfredi
Constitution Gardens | Rogers Marvel Architects + Peter Walker and Partners
“Honoring the clear and optimistic legacy of Constitution Gardens through amplified morphology, aesthetic ecology and pastoral recreation. A vibrant haven on the National Mall” – Rogers Marvel Architects + Peter Walker and Partners
Union Square | Gustafson Guthrie Nichol + Davis Brody Bond
“The power of Union Square lies in its ability to serve as a public space for everyday interactions as well as national events. By making spaces that embrace the individual’s need to explore, play, and relax. Union Square will become a significant place in the minds of residents and visitors where individual encounters contribute to national identity and amplify the impact of major events.” –
Gustafson Guthrie Nichol + Davis Brody Bond
“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.” – Kathryn Gustafson, Director of GGN.
During the competition the Congress removed the third site from National Park Service’s property, citing security concerns. Union Square has been placed under control of the Architect of the Capitol and Capitol Police instead. The Gustafson Guthrie Nichol + Davis Brody Bond winning entry will be sent to congressional overseers.