The nation's "front yard" will soon be getting a new look. This week, the Trust for the National Mall announced three winning plans to redesign three neglected public spaces in Washington, DC to a crowd of 1,200 on the National Mall. The National Mall attracts roughly 25 million annual visitors, and the continuous crowds and events like the Solar Decathlon have put serious wear and tear on it over the years. The winning designs promise to refresh the mall, transforming it from a shabby expanse of grass to a more pleasing and elegant series of public spaces.
OLIN & Weiss/Manfredi will redesign the Sylvan Theater, which is located southeast of the Washington Monument, and Rogers Marvel Architects & Peter Walker and Partners will reimagine Constitution Gardens. The winning bid to redesign Union Square near the Capitol, by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol & Davis Brody Bond, will now be forwarded to the Architect of the Capitol, because Union Square falls under congressional jurisdiction.
Constitution Gardens, which is just north of the World War II memorial, is currently plagued by drainage problems, and fish in the nearby lake are dying. The winning entry from Rogers Marvel Architects and Peter Walker & Associates will implement a water-management plan that will create improved water infiltration on the site. The plan also calls for building a restaurant and pavilion and a grass amphitheater.
At the base of the Washington Monument, OLIN and Weiss/Manfredi have proposed to reorient the performance space of the Sylvan Theater in front of the monument, and they added a new all-weather café to the site. At Union Square, which is located at the foot of Capitol Hill, the plan proposed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol & Davis Brody Bond reorients the reflecting pool and creates new terraces. The entire National Mall Plan is expected to cost a total of $700 million; the next stage in the process is to evaluate costs.