Designs for National Mall Sites Now Open for Public Comment

April 9, 2012

Finalists include Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Michael Maltzan Architecture, and Snøhetta, among others.

By Bruce Buckley

Constitution Gardens
Image courtesy Trust for the National Mall

Click to view the shortlist of proposals for Constitution Gardens. slide show


Sylvan Theatre

Click to view the shortlist of proposals for the Washington Monument Grounds at Sylvan Theater. slide show

Sylvan Theatre

Click to view the shortlist of proposals for Union Square. slide show

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While the proposed Eisenhower Memorial by Frank Gehry has dominated headlines in recent weeks, another project in Washington, D.C., is quietly moving forward.

Designs by finalists in competitions aimed at re-imagining three portions of the Mall are now on display and open for public comment. The 12 schemes are available for viewing April 9-15 at the Smithsonian Castle, the National Museum of American History, and online at
The concepts seek to restore and improve Constitution Gardens at the Mall’s west end; the Washington Monument Grounds at Sylvan Theater, near the center; and Union Square at the east end, near the Capitol. Some aspects call for the construction and/or renovation of structures. Four finalists for each site were selected from 32 entries; the winning designs will be announced in May.

The Trust is trying to raise $350 million for the restoration effort, aiming to secure funding by 2014 with the goal of completing at least one of the projects by 2016.
The future of the Union Square project remains uncertain, however. Congress recently placed it under the control of the Architect of the Capitol and the Capitol Police due to its close proximity to the Capitol building, which presents heightened security concerns, according to the Associated Press. Efforts to pursue new designs for Union Square continue and will be submitted to the Architect of the Capitol for consideration, according to a Trust spokesperson.

Official submissions from each finalist are available for download. Comments can be submitted via the Trust for the National Mall website through Sunday.
For more information about the competition, visit

Andropogon with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architect with Paul Murdoch Architects
OLIN with Weiss/Manfredi
Rogers Marvel Architects with Peter Walker and Partners
Balmori Associates with Work Architect Company
Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Hood Design
Michael Maltzan Architecture with Tom Leader Studio
OLIN with Weiss/Manfredi

Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Hood Design
Gustafson Guthrie Nichol + Davis Brody Bond
Pei Cobb Freed & Partners with Workshop: Ken Smith Landscape Architect
Snøhetta with AECOM

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