Seattle-based landscape architects Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN) and New York-based architects Davis Brody Bond (DBB) are pleased to announce their selection as winners of the National Mall Design Competition for Union Square. The competition, organized by the Trust for the National Mall, was a three-stage process through which a jury of eight esteemed professionals selected a design team for each of the three re-design sites of the National Mall. The winners were judged on the flexibility, sustainability, and creativity of their design and how well it reflects the established vision and design influences of this historic setting.
The National Mall is the country’s most visited park and attracts more than 25 million visitors annually. Union Square, located at the base of the Capitol, is the site of major historic events from presidential inaugurations to public gatherings and demonstrations. “The National Mall is an extraordinary monumental landscape. Remarkable for its sheer scale, its powerful presence serves the country as both a public park and place of gathering and discourse. The goal of our design is to create a sustainable, durable and
flexible plaza that is yet inviting and also active when it is not occupied for national events,” said Kathryn Gustafson, Director of GGN.
The project team, led by Kathryn Gustafson and Rodrigo Abela of GGN, and Carl Krebs and Peter Cook of Davis Brody Bond, sees the site as a setting for some of the nation’s most powerful shared memories. They created a design that would recognize Union Square both as a place of iconic reverence, as well as an active square of public life. The new design engages visitors with an impressive monumental scale, but it also provides comfortable places for a range of activities and voices. “Union Square represents an opportunity to fulfill the Mall’s promise as a national place of assembly that is adaptable and easily maintained. For example, the design dramatically rethinks the use of water—operating with just 10% of the water of the current fountain—and creates a series of plazas which can handle the heavy traffic of special events, and in turn reduces the wear and tear on the National Mall’s lawns and gardens,” said Carl Krebs, Partner of Davis Brody Bond.
About Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN)
Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN) is a landscape architecture practice based in Seattle, Washington. The 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Award, GGN was founded in 1999 by partners Jennifer Guthrie, Shannon Nichol, and Kathryn Gustafson. GGN’s projects are developed by designers with professional backgrounds in landscape, architecture, engineering, graphics, ecology, and other sciences, and express the sculptural qualities of contextual landscapes. GGN offers experience in designing high-use landscapes in complex, urban contexts. These landscapes are widely varied in type and scale, but they share qualities as healthy settings for diverse and ever-changing activities. GGN’s prominent projects include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Campus in Seattle, Lurie Garden of Millennium Park in Chicago, the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, and the new forthcoming National Museum of African American History and Culture. Kathryn Gustafson is also a partner in the UK design firm, Gustafson Porter.
About Davis Brody Bond, LLP
An architectural practice with offices in New York, Washington DC and São Paulo, Davis Brody Bond (DBB) is nationally recognized for the design of cultural, academic and civic projects, with a special focus on challenging urban settings and contexts. The firm has been honored by more than 175 major design awards, including the American Institute of Architects Firm Award and the Presidential Award for Design Excellence. Davis Brody Bond’s work varies in scale from a new decorative arts gallery inserted into New York’s historic Frick Collection to the National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center site, a major new museum set amidst the foundations of the twin towers. Though diverse in scale and setting, DBB’s projects strive to inspire the people they serve and transform the communities they inhabit. This legacy of social responsibility was established by the firm’s founders and is evident throughout today’s practice, in projects such as two neighborhood branch libraries in Washington DC, as well as the new US Embassy in Jakarta, envisioned as a model for water conservation and sustainability. DBB is also part of the team collaborating on the design of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall.
Lead Architects: Davis Brody Bond, LLP
Civil Engineers: Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Historical Resources Management: Robinson & Associates
Pedestrian Movement Consultants: Space Syntax
Lighting Designers: Tillotson Design Associates
Fountain Consultants: CMS Collaborative
MEP and Sustainability: WSP Flack + Kurtz
Structural Engineers: Robert Silman Associates
Geotechnical Engineers: Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers
Environmental Graphics: Poulin + Morris
Traffic Consultants: Gorove/Slade Associates
Cost Estimators: Faithful+Gould