The final design proposals for the National Mall Design Competition in the US are in. Here’s a roundup of the competitors

The National Mall as it currently is
The National Mall as it currently is

The future design of the National Mall is in motion. The world’s leading landscape architects and architects have now presented their designs for the National Mall Design Competition, which focuses on three areas: the Constitution Gardens, the Washington Monument grounds at Sylvan Theatre, and Union Square. A true team collaboration, all the design proposals are a 50-50 effort between the landscape architect and architect firm. Below is a roundup of the proposals and you can view an image of each design proposal by clicking on the gallery above.

Constitution Gardens

Andropogon + Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Respite, regeneration and romance are the hallmarks of the proposal from the Philadelphia-based firm. A focus on foliage, habitat and people, are at the heart of a water centric design.

Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects + Paul Murdoch Architects
A biophilic approach, the team has proposed reconstructed wetlands accessible via boardwalks that jut out into the water. Plus, a performance space concealed in the landscape, offers views of the lake and gardens.

OLIN + Weiss/Manfredi
‘Living Waters: A Museum without Walls’ is an integrated design model that aims to give education, history and art a public setting alongside ecology with walkways that double as a gallery.

Rogers Marvel Architects + PWP Landscape Architecture
Creating a place for pastoral recreation with a pavilion restaurant overlooking a lake and gardens. Plus an skating rink in winter.

Union Square

Diller, Scofido + Renfro and Hood Design
The ‘Multiple Voices’ design tackles the concept of future histories by incorporating the rich architectural legacies, natural ecologies and political centrality of Washington DC.  Including a plan for three new gardens and a wetland garden that feeds storm water runoff into a reflecting pool, which in turn serves as a platform for speech. A microphone would then turn visitors voices into waves on the pool.

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol + Davis Brody Bond
A multi-layered approach with different rooms for a variety of uses, there are plans for new site hydrologic systems, storm water collection, tree canopies and a reflecting pool set in a botanical garden.

Ken Smith Landscape Architect + Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
An oval reflecting pool surrounded by a fountain necklace is the centerpiece of this proposal. Thick stone benches and a progressive planting scheme will provide a harmonious space for those wanting to contemplate the Capitol.

Snohetta + AECOM
A sloping theatre-like platform, indigenous planting scheme, undulating trellises and integrated benches will help create a new landscape.

The Washington Monument Grounds at Sylvan Theatre

Balmori Associates + Work Architecture Company
The masterplan is to create multiple outdoor performance spaces, including a Sylvan theatre, a courtyard stage, oak grove stage, a playground, bike rental stand and restaurant – reflecting the diversity of the Mall.

Diller, Scofidio and Renfro + Hood Design
Offering proposals for two sites, they aim to create a landscape that is figuratively peeled up to form a structure that can act as an outdoor theatre and building. The space beneath the curves will offer ecological experiences and restaurants for visitors.

Michael Maltzan Architecture + Tom Leader Studio
A renewable design that reconnects to the Tidal Basin, with a sweeping, curved pathway that leads to a multipurpose facility with an oculus at its centre and a stage that can fold out into a huge pavilion.

OLIN + Weiss/Manfredi
Also offering two proposals, they plan to install two amphitheatres, a wooded Sylvan Grove and a Sylvan Pavilion for impromptu performances; the focus would be on sustainable solutions.

For more information, visit or read our previous story on the competition

The original article was published by ASLA at The Dirt


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