The Trust for the National Mall, a nonprofit devoted to restoring the heavily used park in the core of Washington, D.C., has released the shortlisted design concepts in its National Mall Design Competition. The 10 teams in the contest’s final stage were asked to reimagine three sites on the Mall most in need of repair or improvement: Constitution Gardens, near the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool; the Washington Monument grounds; and the area around the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial facing the U.S. Capitol’s west face.
[Editor’s Note: AN will be running a three-part series to display the proposals for each of the three segments of the National Mall: Constitution Gardens, Union Square, and the Washington Monument Grounds.]
The proposals introduce features that are scarce on the Mall right now, such as ample seating with shade and rich plantings. Ecological restoration is a common priority. Many teams have proposed structures housing restaurants and cafes, bringing commerce to a destination that has shunned it, and a mix of uses to a landscape often viewed as more symbolic than urban.
Balmori Associates & Work Architecture Company call for a Figure 8-shaped landform building on the Washington Monument grounds with restaurant, office and performance spaces, and additional outdoor “stages” placed around it. At the same site, Diller Scofidio + Renfro & Hood Design would cut and lift the southern edge to form an undulating natural amphitheater, with arcades tucked beneath it.
The designs are on display through the end of the week at two museums on the Mall, the Smithsonian Castle and the National Museum of American History. Public comments are invited on the Trust’s website, http://www.nationalmall.org.
The winning three concepts will be announced on May 3.