As the National Mall Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. weathers the impact of tourism and climate change, teamwork may be the best way to save it. The National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) and the Trust for The National Mall have announced a partnership of five landscape architecture firms tasked with shaping the Tidal Basin’s future. “The National Mall Tidal Basin embodies freedom, perseverance, and democratic values, and it is a place where people come together from around the country and around the world to celebrate these ideals," said Katherine Malone-France, NTHP's chief preservation officer, in a statement. "That is why we must bring our best innovation and ingenuity to meet the challenges it is facing. DLANDstudio, GGN, Hood Design Studio, James Corner Field Operations, and Reed Hilderbrand are slated to join forces in order to maximize the Tidal Basin’s potential as a public space. The coalition exists within the National Mall Tidal Basin Ideas Lab, a forum for innovation and collaboration with regard to the future of the landscape. Surrounded by the iconic memorials of Washington, the Tidal Basin has played an important role in the city’s landscape throughout history. The heavily-trafficked Tidal Basin Loop Trail offers unmatched views of the National Mall and its surrounding monuments, but a crumbling sea wall has led to regular flooding that impedes sidewalk access and threatens the world-famous cherry trees around the basin. The Ideas Lab hopes to compile a broad range of perspectives from the firms in order to combat the many challenges faced by the Tidal Basin such as infrastructure issues, an overwhelming visitor experience, the need for intensive land conservation, and more. “Our goal, as a lead partner of the National Park Service, is to bring innovation and partnerships to expedite the fulfillment of the Master Plan for the National Mall,” said Catherine Townsend, president and CEO of the Trust for the National Mall. “These five visionary teams are a prime example of how collaboration between distinguished experts in fields aligned with our project needs will create solutions to help overcome the complex preservation issues affecting the treasured Tidal Basin.” The proposals will be presented in an Ideas Lab exhibition slated to run next summer through fall 2020, during which the public will have the opportunity to inform the design process before concepts are finalized.
Posts tagged with "National Mall":
Public commentary ends tonight on a proposed rule that may restrict protests from occurring in front of the White House and along the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Atlantic reported that the National Park Service (NPS), which manages those lands, put out a proposal in mid-August to revise special regulations concerning how certain landmark locations could be used in the future as spaces to exercise free speech, put on peaceful protests, and host sporting or entertainment events. According to the draft rule, the NPS aims to “provide greater clarity to the public about how and where demonstrations and special events may be conducted in a manner that protects and preserves the cultural and historic integrity of these areas.” These distinguished areas include the National Mall and Memorial Parks as well as President’s Park, the three connected landscapes surrounding the White House. Within that grouping is Lafayette Park to the north of the president’s home, a site that’s long been the stage of last-minute political gatherings and demonstrations. It’s bounded by Pennsylvania Avenue and the perimeter fence that separates the White House back lawn from the public. With the new rule, the NPS seeks to limit the number of people allowed in some of these areas and, in more extreme cases, prohibit public access altogether. The changes would specifically restrict access at the World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. The same restrictions, made to “preserve an atmosphere of contemplation,” were placed decades ago at some of D.C.’s older monuments. Permanent security zones will also be set up in President’s Park (largely south of the White House) while Lafayette Park and the White House north sidewalk will remain places for planned demonstrations. In addition, the NPS wants to potentially increase the cost of permit applications for hosting demonstrations in the capital city and cap the amount of time needed for advance notice of such gatherings. Per the draft rule, this is all in an effort to recover the costs of event management, clean-up, and more. Public comment ends tonight at 11:59 p.m. So far, 36,596 comments have been received.
Washington D.C's Hirshhorn Museum has announced a site-specific commission for the Korean artist Lee Ufan that will debut in fall 2019. Approximately ten new sculptures related to the artist’s “Relatum” series will be installed across the museum’s 4.3-acre sculpture garden. An exhibit of Lee’s abstract painting within the museum will accompany the outdoor installation. This is the first time in the institution’s half-century history that its sculpture garden will be dedicated entirely to a single artist. A founder of Japan’s Mono-ha, or "School of Things" movement, Lee’s work emphasizes the relationship between site, materials and the viewer. This holistic treatment of artistic elements appeals to a contemplative and dynamic engagement with the work rather than static perception. The poignancy of Lee’s work derives from the thoughtful assembly of contrasting materials, which are subject to minimal alteration. Lee, who lives in Kamakura, Japan and Paris, will spend the next year conducting site visits to the Hirshhorn Museum. Additionally, Lee will visit individual quarries across the East Coast to source local materials to construct his work. Each sculpture constructed for the installation will relate to the museum’s unique circular form, allowing visitors multiple vantage points from above to view Lee’s work in the plaza below. While the installation will be Lee Ufan's first exhibition on the National Mall, the artist has conducted over 140 one-artist exhibits across the globe. These stand-alone works include 'Resonance' at the 2007 Venice Biennale, a major retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in 2011, and a sprawling display of sculptural works on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles.
Brought to you with support fromThe Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), scheduled to open to the public tomorrow, is capping off a nearly decade-long highly publicized planning and construction process. The 400,000-square-foot building is notable for securing the last developable site on the National Mall, and will be the nation’s primary home for exhibiting and celebrating African-American achievements in art, history, and culture. While 60 percent of the structure sits below grade, the remaining 40 percent rises 85 feet above grade and is wrapped in an arresting daylight-filtering screen referred to as a corona. The three-tiered, inverted form merges African and American historical references, drawing from Yoruban caryatids and the Washington Monument. The corona’s pattern was developed by digitizing traditional shapes the team found in historic ornate ironwork from Charleston and New Orleans. The project is the result of a collaboration among Adjaye Associates, who functioned as the lead designer, Freelon Group (now Perkins+Will), who covered the interior design scope above grade, Davis Brody Bond, who covered the interior design scope below grade, and SmithGroupJJR, who was responsible for the entire enclosure of the building from the foundations to the roof, and from curb to curb. With four architects and numerous consultant teams on board, the NMAAHC’s design process was fast and highly collaborative. The client and representatives of each of the firms attended workshops and presentations at project milestones. Work on the facade design process proceeded with a smaller team coordinated by Adjaye Associates, who held regular meetings at its New York City office. For federally funded projects, three initial concepts must be presented before narrowing down to one final scheme. Only 14 months was allotted for the time between a final concept submissions to the delivery of bid documents. Areta Pawlynsky, partner at Heintges & Associates, the consulting firm for facade engineering, said this timeframe was pressing, but ultimately benefitted the project: "This was incredibly demanding, but in a way, easier to keep the momentum going to work through all of these design decisions.” Throughout this process, Pawlynsky said, adhering to the competition-winning design vision was what drove the design development process. "The most challenging part of the project was making sure the facades remained true to the competition." She continued, "When we look back at the competition entry images and the verbal description, we are very proud the building's envelope was able to remain true throughout its development. That doesn't always happen." With full height atriums on each of the museum’s four sides, the exterior envelope was conceptualized as an “inside-out” assembly, providing clear spans of glass to the interior. Guy Nordenson & Associates developed the primary structural system—a series of three horizontal trusses that wrap the building, giving the facade its signature tiered form. Construction detailing of the envelope was carried out through a design assist package awarded to a joint venture between Enclos and Northstar, who developed a cost-saving strategy to integrate vertical trusses within the curtain wall assembly. Heintges & Associates then engineered and developed technical options for systems that attached to this structure, including the screen panels and unitized glass panels. Adjaye Associates’ decorative screen pattern was digitally manipulated—scaling up and down to produce four densities ranging from 65 to 95 percent opacity in response to key views of the surrounding monuments, and to solar orientation. Selective openings in the corona screen provide “lenses” looking outward to key views of the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, White House, and U.S. Capitol. The material selection process for the corona screen began with solid cast bronze, which was deemed too heavy with a variation that—over time—would cause undesirable performative and maintenance issues. The design team settled on a cast aluminum due to the material’s track record as a reliable cladding. A unique five-coat application of PVDF produced variation and depth to the bronze coloration of the panels. The corona screen was assembled on-site from shop-fabricated steel plate carrier frames containing 13 cast aluminum panels each. A staggered paneling running across the facade required selective panels to be installed in the field. These “stitch panels” bridge the gaps between adjacent carrier frames, helping to conceal any visual clues to the pre-fabricated frame assembly. The design team consulted with Fisher Marantz Stone on a subtle lighting scheme to incorporate backlit panels that bounce light off frit glazed walls to produce a glowing facade at night. These details and lighting effects were scrutinized through numerous design studies and mockups, and by regulatory agencies to ensure the lighting of monuments at night would remain balanced. Hal Davis, senior vice president at SmithGroupJJR, said the building envelope design was “quite unusual.” Asked if there were any technical challenges associated with designing a curtainwall system with an inside-out weather line, Davis replied, “of course!” He explained that an off-the-shelf-system couldn’t simply be installed backward: "It’s a different approach and it did take quite a bit of effort. We worked with Enclos and Heinges and David Adjaye to get it right and to make sure we were going to maintain the integrity of the design, the tightness and the insulation quality of the system, preventing condensation. For this, we had to develop very subtle heating elements that would eliminate moisture.” Pawlynsky concluded, "I think the real story of success here is the collaboration, including the contractors, Enclos and Northstar, and CM Clark. There was a strong commitment to executing this facade in the appropriate way, and it extended across the board."
Since announcing his first North American project in New York and opening an office in the Big Apple, BIG-founder Bjarke Ingels has been moving fast. His meteoric ascent into a Danish-American icon is happening so quickly, that the starchitect has landed himself in the Smithsonian, in a manner of speaking. The venerable institution has just hired Ingels to prepare a master plan for the museum's Washington, D.C. campus, and we're left wondering if that might mean a new mountain range rising off the National Mall. The Washington Business Journal reported today that the Smithsonian signed a $2.4 million contract with BIG to create the first phase of the master plan, a task that is expected to take around 8 to 12 months. The project site is bounded by Jefferson Drive along the National Mall, Seventh Street SW, Independence Avenue SW, and 12th Street SW, as indicated on the map below. The study area includes many iconic Smithsonian buildings including the Smithsonian Castle (above) and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (top). According to the WBJ, the team from BIG will investigate all buildings in the area, studying the architecture, engineering, and programming of the campus in order to recommend a "gateway" that promotes rest, education, and connects with the National Mall to the north. Among the challenges the campus currently presents is a disconnected flow of public space, dark and uninviting interior spaces, and dilapidated quarters.
Following a design competition that dramatically reimagined the landscape of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the Trust for the National Mall has announced three winning teams to update various segments of the iconic public space. Union Square, near the foot of the Capitol, will be redesigned by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol and Davis Brody Bond, Constitution Gardens, near the Lincoln Memorial and reflecting pool, will be redone by Rogers Marvel Architects and Peter Walker & Partners, and the grounds surrounding the Washington Monument will be reimagined by OLIN and Weiss/Manfredi. One of the most heavily used public spaces in the country, the National Mall has seen considerable wear and tear, prompting, among other actions, the National Park Service to remove the biannual Solar Decathlon competition due to maintenance concerns. Each of the winning entries released ahead of a formal announcement by the Washington Post aims not only to restore a landscape able to handle millions of visitors a year, but also to add a new layer of design to the historic site, bringing it into the 21st century. The Trust for the National Mall, a non-profit partner with the National Park Service dedicated to restoring and improving the National Mall, shied away from the theatrical undulations of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Hood Design and the twisting pavilions by Balmori and WorkAC, instead opting for the reflective and more subtle but no less ambitious proposals selected today. At Union Square, located at the foot of the U.S. Capitol opposite the Washington Monument, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol and Davis Brody Bond chose to extend the U.S. Botanic Garden on the southern edge of the site and the Congressional Youth Garden on the north to establish the park's edges. A large reflecting pool criss-crossed by walking paths and flanked by smaller pools around its edges can be partially drained, providing programmatic variety that allows for festivals and special events. Rogers Marvel Architects and Peter Walker & Associates proposed a restaurant pavilion cantilevered over the reflecting basin at Constitution Gardens. Now a source of drainage problems, the site is addressed by the winning design with an innovative water-management plan allowing water infiltration across the site and an aquatic shelf for filtration. The basin allows model boating in summer and ice skating in winter. Rogers Marvel was also selected recently to renovate the nearby Presidents Park at the White House. "We are very excited to have won the competition. Both Constitution Gardens and Presidents Park are very important public spaces in Washington. These competitions mark a time in the city for building on legacy," said Isabelle Moutaud, strategy director at Rogers Marvel Architects. "At 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." Finally, the Sylvan Theater at the base of the Washington Monument has been reimagined as a terraced hillside that forms an amphitheater. OLIN and Weiss/Manfredi propose a pavilion with a delicately flowing green roof emerging from the landscape to the south of the monument. OLIN previously was involved in 2004 with a security upgrade to the site. Now that the three designs are in place, fundraising begins. Work to complete the Washington Monument grounds and Constitution Gardens, to be overseen by the Trust, is estimated to cost around $700 million, covering construction and future maintenance. The first groundbreaking could happen as early as 2014. The Architect of the Capitol will oversee changes to Union Square. Click on a thumbnail to view the slideshow.
[Editor's Note: Following the unveiling of proposals to redesign the National Mall, AN will be running a three-part series to display the proposals for each of the three segments of the Mall: Constitution Gardens, Union Square, and the Washington Monument Grounds.] Even for most Washingtonians, the name "Union Square" evokes a place in New York City. But the National Mall Plan of 2010 calls for this disconnected, little-used area—which has a reflecting pool and large equestrian statue of Ulysses S. Grant on the west front of the U.S. Capitol—to become a prime site for demonstrations and other large gatherings, thereby relieving some of the strain on the Mall. (The Mall receives 25 million visitors per year.) Recently, control of the square passed from the National Park Service to the Architect of the Capitol, raising doubts about how a renovation would proceed. The National Mall Design Competition is organized by the Trust for the National Mall, a private organization that partners with the National Park Service. Diller Scofidio + Renfro & Hood Design: This plan would draw adjacent gardens into the site area, creating both wetland and botanical parterre gardens. Most of the site would be paved, with a shallow reflecting pool supplied by stormwater runoff from the Capitol grounds. The pool could be drained to accommodate more people for a protest or other event. Gustafson Guthrie Nichol & Davis Brody Bond: This team also would extend the U.S. Botanic Garden (to the south of the site) and the Congressional Youth Garden (to the north), bringing them into the square to holds its edges. A new platform would serve as a stage at the base of the Grant Memorial. Paved paths would cross the large reflecting pool (also drainable), and a series of smaller pools would cross it on the north-south axis. Pei Cobb Freed & Partners & Ken Smith Landscape Architect: The proposal is for an oval reflecting pool surrounded by a "necklace" of choreographed fountains, traversed by two diagonal paths and drainable in whole or part. Snøhetta & AECOM: The team would turn the square into a public theater. New steps would lead to a broad slope designed to hold large crowds, and the reflecting pool would be narrowed. Curving trellises would flank the theater and Grant Memorial, and frame views of the Capitol from the Mall. The competition winners will be announced on May 3. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. All images courtesy respective firms.
[Editor's Note: Following the unveiling of proposals to redesign the National Mall, AN will be running a three-part series to display the proposals for each of the three segments of the Mall: Constitution Gardens, Union Square, and the Washington Monument Grounds.] Finished in 1884 and standing 555 feet tall, the Washington Monument is the world's tallest structural stone tower and tallest obelisk. The monument is now closed because of damage it sustained during a 5.8 magnitude earthquake last August. Nevertheless, its grounds continue to host countless visitors who want to view the iconic obelisk up close—or play soccer or fly a kite in its shadow. Inspired in part by the monument grounds' worn condition, the nonprofit Trust for the National Mall launched a design competition to redesign the National Mall. Four concepts have now been shortlisted. Balmori Associates + Work Architecuture Company: Diana Balmori and Work AC want to "make landscape the main actor" at the site. This proposal's main gesture is a curlicued landform building with restaurant, office, and performance spaces, and other outdoor stages dotted around it. Diller Scofidio + Renfro + Hood Design propose to lift the curved southern edge of the site at strategic points, creating an undulating perimeter that would serve as an outdoor amphitheater, with the undersides of the arches hosting retail or food establishments. Michael Maltzan Architecture + Tom Leader Studio envision the rehabilitation of the existing Washington Monument Lodge, which would connect to a concealed multipurpose facility with a gallery, a restaurant, restrooms, and other spaces. A spiral bandshell is reminiscent of Maltzan's recent Carver Apartments in Los Angeles. OLIN + Weiss/Manfredi call for a terraced southern hillside to serve as an amphitheater, and for a plaza, cafe, meeting space, and bookstore to be contained in a low-slung, green-roofed building on the Monument's southeastern slope. OLIN led a security renovation of the grounds back in 2004. The winning concept will be revealed on May 3. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. All renderings courtesy respective firms.
[Editor's Note: Following the unveiling of proposals to redesign the National Mall, AN will be running a three-part series to display the proposals for each of the three segments of the Mall: Constitution Gardens, Union Square, and the Washington Monument Grounds.] A 50-acre parcel of the National Mall, Constitution Gardens, lies just north of the Reflecting Pool and east of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Grade changes keep it somewhat hidden from the main stretch of the Mall, and many tourists (and locals) visit the monuments and Smithsonian museums without coming across it. The gardens' focal point is a small lake with an island that visitors can access by footbridge. The National Park Service has struggled with the site's poor soil conditions—the ground was dredged from the Potomac River back in the late 19th century—and with upkeep of the paths and other features. The National Mall Plan of 2010 calls for an "architecturally unique, multipurpose visitor facility, including food service, retail, and restrooms" to be developed at the east end of the lake, as well as a flexible performance space. Andropogon + Bohlin Cywinski Jackson propose a "resilient park landscape...sustained by biologically enhanced soils." Their design includes a Magnolia Bog in part of the current lake area and different edges for the lake (lakeside promenade, wetlands boardwalk, rock outcropping). The team envisions a marketplace along Constitution Avenue. The concept submitted by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architect + Paul Murdoch Architects features a cafe built into the parkland near Constitution Avenue, the ground seemingly tilting up to form its green roof. This scheme also proposes boardwalks, performance seating, and biodiverse plantings. In OLIN + Weiss/Manfredi's plan, distinctive braided pathways curve around and over the water. Interlaced pavilions would house a cafe and a more formal restaurant, as well as a gift shop. Spectators at the outdoor amphitheater would be entertained by performers on a floating barge. Rogers Marvel Architects + Peter Walker and Partners call for a large restaurant/pavilion to face a reflecting basin that would allow ice skating in the winter and model boating in the summer. Paths would be widened and, at the lakeshore, bordered by an aquatic shelf for filtration; connections with other parts of the Mall would be improved. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. All images courtesy respective firms.
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.
The Trust for the National Mall has announced the finalists for the first round of its National Mall Design Competition. The 700-acres of parkland have been worn down over the years thanks hoards of visitors (25 million a year), marches, and certain bi-annual decathalons. The scope of the competition includes three distinct areas of the mall: Union Square, the Washington Monument Grounds at Sylvan Theater, and Constitution Gardens. Finalists were selected for each area, and will move on to stage two of the competition (team interviews), and then—finally—a selected few will be asked to envision a design for one of the three designated area. From over 1,200 entrants, here are the firms who made the first round cut: Union Square Diller Scofidio Renfro & Hood Design Gustafson Guthrie Nichol & AEDAS Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects & Workshop: Ken Smith Landscape Architect Reed Hilderbrand & Chan Krieger NBBJ Rogers Marvel Architects & Peter Walker Snohetta & AECOM Washington Monument Grounds Balmori Associates & Work Architect Company Diller Scofidio Renfro & Hood Design Handel Architects & W Architecture and Landscape Architecture Michael Maltzan Architecture & Tom Leader Studio OLIN & Weiss/Manfredi Ten Arquitectos & Andrea Cochran Landscape Architects Constitution Gardens Adropogon & Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Lee and Associates & Arthur Cotton Moore/Associates McKissack & McKissack & Oehme Van Sweden Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architect & Paul Murdoch Architects OLIN & Weiss/Manfredi Rogers Marvel Architects & Peter Walker and Partners
The U.S. Department of Energy, sponsor of the prestigious Solar Decathlon — devised to encourage ideas for a more cost-effective, energy-efficient solar house— has announced mid way through this year's student design competition that they will be abandoning post on the National Mall, where the previous four events have been held since 2002. 20 teams totaling more than 1,000 students have been developing their site-specific entries for over a year, and the news comes as a huge disappointment, and inconvenience. Some have threatened to drop out. Others are working to reverse the decision before a new site is named. The DOE said in a release that it's working with the National Parks Service to protect the mall, where prototype green houses were to be designed and built by university students. From the Solar Decathlon:
In support of the historic effort underway to protect, improve, and restore the National Mall, the Department of Energy, in conjunction with the National Park Service, has decided to seek a new site for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011.And much to the chagrin of students, who have already substantially designed their buildings,the DOE hasn't yet named an alternative site. Students will soon be finalizing construction documents and building their houses for a fall exhibition, wherever that might be. One distraught student has created a petition to President Obama to reinstate the National Mall as this year's venue and over three thousand signatures have already been collected:
With only eight months remaining until the competition, we will face an insurmountable challenge to alter the designs, already in advanced stages, for installation in an as-yet unknown location. In addition, the considerable effort made to source materials and equipment for our solar-powered homes from local manufacturers and, in some cases, to engage the D.C. community in the afterlife of the structures may be for naught.There's also a Facebook page dedicated to keeping the Decathlon on the Mall, including email addresses for Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. "We've been working on this project for over a year and a half," Reed Finlay, Project Manager of SCI-Arc and Caltech's entry, told AN's Sam Lubell. Their project, CHIP 2011, which includes a snug wrapping of vinyl over cellulose insulation, canted rooftop PV panels, and a sloping cantilever (previously) meant to highlight a view of the Washington Monument, has involved 60 students and over $100,000 in donations. "The Mall gives exposure and credibility to what we're doing... They don't know who they're messing with," he added. "I think they'll be surprised with the backlash."