Regenerating the Landscape
Over the next few years, Constitution Gardens, a secluded yet welcoming garden on the National Mall, will become the place where Washington families come on the weekends, where tourists pause before continuing on their cultural pilgrimages, where children discover the joys of sailing a model boat, where bureaucrats and politicians from near-by offices stop for a drink after work.
Preserving a Modern Legacy
The re-designed Constitution Gardens will fulfill the vision of its earlier designers and consultants—Olmsted, McMillan, Kiley, and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. As one of the most ambitious undertakings of the Bicentennial, the Gardens, with its curvilinear forms and sloping topography, was intended to establish an idealized nature, a place apart. Although its biomorphic Modernism remains an enduring legacy of its time, reality has never quite matched the vision for the site, and many proposed features are missing, altered, or degraded. Our proposal establishes a dynamic framework for regenerating a site in disrepair while emphasizing daily, seasonal, and yearly changes.
On a micro scale our proposal adapts Constitution Gardens to recent transformations on the National Mall – the Vietnam Memorial, the Potomac Park Levee, and the World War II Memorial. On a macro scale our proposal engages the water and circulation patterns of Washington’s urban ecology to create a new Constitution Gardens that will evolve and thrive for the next 100 years.
The Lockkeeper's House
The Lockkeeper’s House will anchor the northwest entries to Constitution Gardens as a newly programmed exhibition space for the story of the development and construction of the National Mall. It will also serve as a gift shop.
56 Signers Memorial
The 56 Signers Memorial will take on new importance with the addition of a path around the island and a footbridge of stepping stones that integrates the island with the rest of Constitution Gardens, inviting visitors to view the memorial without compromising its historic integrity.