Sylvan Theatre, Washington Monument Grounds, Washington DC, USA
New York-based architects Weiss / Manfredi and Philadelphia-based landscape architects OLIN have been announced as winner of the National Mall Design Competition for the Washington Monument Grounds at Sylvan Theatre in Washington, DC. Weiss / Manfredi and OLIN were one of three winning teams selected by the Trust for the National Mall to rejuvenate and transform three neglected sites on the National Mall (read our original announcement here). In the winning proposal for Sylvan Theatre, Weiss / Manfredi and OLIN sculpt the ground plan and restore the existing tree canopy to create a new performance landscape that can accommodate a wide variety of events, while permeating the site with critical visitor amenities.
“Our vision for the Sylvan Theatre at the Washington Monument Grounds elevates the performing arts, literally and figuratively, with a new amphitheater land form shaded by a canopy of trees that affirms this site as our nation’s centre stage. We turn the audience’s sights to both the obelisk and the arts and restore lost connections between the Mall and Tidal Basin with a sinuous land bridge.” Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi.
Extending from the heart of the National Mall, a rejuvenated Sylvan Theater and Sylvan Grove will restore the tree canopy that inspired the name of the original theater nearly a century ago.
The new grove and terraced lawn will define an amphitheater, where a wide range of performances and events can be seen against the stunning backdrop of the Washington Monument. The uppermost viewing terrace, a tree lined “balcony”, continues across the roadway as a pedestrian bridge that crosses traffic and descends to the water’s edge, linking the Mall to the Tidal Basin. An integral part of the grove is the Sylvan Pavilion, visible from the Mall, the Metro, and 15th Street. The Pavilion provides an all-weather café, bookstore, and multi-use destination for residents and visitors to the Mall. A new Ranger Station and information / exhibition center on Independence Avenue frame an arrival plaza for tour groups.
WEISS/MANFREDI + OLIN co-led the design for the competition and coordinated the efforts of an exceptional, experienced team of consultants. The project reinvigorates the Monument Grounds with new landscapes of performance, clarifies the visual connections between the White House, the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson Memorial, provides new physical connections between the cultural landscape of the Mall and the Tidal Basin, and most importantly, creates a transformed setting for our nation’s most visible center stage.
Landscape Architect: OLIN
Client: Trust for the National Mall
Structural & Civil Engineering: Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Performance Planning: Fisher Dachs Associates
Sustainability: Atelier Ten
Circulation & Planning: Space Syntax
History & Archaeology: John Milner Associates
Economics: HR&A ADVISORS
Mechanical Engineering: Jaros Baum + Bolles
Performance Art Advocate: Sphinx Organization
Acoustics: Threshold Acoustics
Lighting: Fisher Marantz Stone
Artist: Studio Echelman
Maintenance & Operations: ETM Associates
Signage & Wayfinding: Bruce Mau Design
Ecologist: Habitat by Design