Redesigning the National Mall: Union Square

East
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
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Snohetta & AECOM

Snohetta & AECOM

[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.

Check out all four finalist proposals after the jump.

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Redesigning the National Mall: Washington Monument Grounds

East
Monday, April 16, 2012
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Michael Maltzan Architecture & Tom Leader Studio

Michael Maltzan Architecture & Tom Leader Studio

[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.

View all four finalists’ proposals after the jump.

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Redesigning the National Mall: Constitution Gardens

East
Thursday, April 12, 2012
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OLIN & Weiss/Manfredi

OLIN & Weiss/Manfredi

[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.

Check out all the proposals after the jump.

Shortlisted Teams Reveal a Reimagined National Mall

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
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Constitutional Gardens proposal by Nelson Byrd Woltz and Paul Murdoch.

Constitutional Gardens proposal by Nelson Byrd Woltz and Paul Murdoch.

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Public Architecture, Conversations on Design and Public Impact

East
Thursday, October 20, 2011
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Left to right: Jess Zimbabwe, Jair Lynch, Frank Giblin, Gabriel Kroiz. (Amanda Hurley)

Left to right: Jess Zimbabwe, Jair Lynch, Frank Giblin, Gabriel Kroiz. (Amanda Kolson Hurley)

Last night, the Woolly Mammoth theater in downtown Washington, D.C. hosted a forum on design’s potential to affect social change, organized by the San Francisco nonprofit Public Architecture and sponsored by Teknion. Attendees filed into a rehearsal hall to hear four speakers from the public and private sectors who are using design to effect change on different scales.

Continue reading after the jump.

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