winning proposals for the national mall competition
winning proposals for the national mall competition winning proposals for the national mall competition
may 10, 2012

winning proposals for the national mall competition

winning proposals for the national mall, washington DC, USA all images courtesy of the national mall design competition




three collaborative teams have been selected for their master plans for three separate areas of the national mall in washington DC. berkeley-based PWP landscape architecture and new york city-based rogers marvel architects have redesigned the constitution gardens, philadelphia-based landscape architecture practice olin studio and new york city-based weiss / manfredi focused on the sylvan theater and grove, and seattle-based gustafson guthrie nichol and new york-based practice davis brody bond have re-envisioned the iconic union square. read onward to see their individual proposals.

meandering path of discovery




PWP landscape architecture and rogers marvel architects collaborated to produce a proposal which respects the original plan and pastoral setting, reconstructing the constitution gardens as an aesthetic ecology, fusing the qualities of both untamed nature and contrived beauty. the scale, shape and function of the landform, soils, plant materials, water flows and paving will be integrated to form an ecologically productive landscape. the existing lake will be structures to reduce the impact of storm water and improve its quality for reuse. the water body may be drained during winter and turned into an ice skating venue within the city.

plaza and pavilion within the constitution gardens




the existing procession from the city to the internal gardens and lake will be dramatized with taller and denser plantings. this will accentuate the experience of movement by creating moments of discovery while simultaneously improving the quality of the soil. east of the lake, a pavilion containing a restaurant, grand stair and observation point will act as a threshold and anchor to this section of the master plan. the diagrid structure integrates with the terrain, creating a shelter without obscuring views. a grass amphitheater will accommodate up to 1,000 visitors for events and double as a picnic and relaxation area on a daily basis.

view from the cafe overlooking the constitution gardens and lake

ecology – constitution gardens

ice skating rink within the constitution gardens

evening view from grant monument in union square




gustafson guthrie nichol and davis brody bond have re-envisioned union square, the iconic setting for many of the nation’s powerful historical moments. maintaining a stage for large assemblies, the plan provides a diverse range of settings for comfortable and intimate places. a shallow 2″ sheet of water may be drained for gatherings. diagonal paths along the surface allow pedestrians to traverse the area, producing a dynamic pool instead of a decorative element. terraces and retaining walls serve as seating while plantings and mature trees further define outdoor rooms.

view from 3rd

aerial view of union square

view from the speakers balcony

view from terraces

framed approach of the washington monument grounds




philadelphia-based landscape architecture practice OLIN and new york city-based weiss/manfredi have redesigned the sylvan theater and grove, an outdoor performance and gathering space adjacent to the washington monument. a wooden canopy and terraced lawn will form the seating, setting the stage for a variety of intimate to large-scale events  with a backdrop of the landmark tower. the ascending landform orients views towards the mall, simultaneously concealing traffic and tour buses. the highest point serves as a tree-lined connection between the currently disconnected tidal basin and mall.

sylvan grove amphitheater




a pavilion will shelter a stage for impromptu performances during inclement weather along with a cafe for visitors. the roof structure filters a dappled light into the interior, evoking the atmosphere of a wooded forest. retail spaces, restrooms, storage and a ranger station will be tucked beneath the stepped earth.

sylvan theater

performance terraces

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