Let the Mall Grow Again
How can we protect the integrity of the historical Mall while also providing new places for future generations to tell their story?
The National Mall Coalition proposes expanding the Mall’s boundaries once again, just as the 1902 McMillan Commission expanded the original Mall to create the Lincoln Memorial. CLICK on these diagrams to see the evolution.
By incorporating contiguous and other federal lands along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, the 3rd Century Mall can create beautiful and inviting new public spaces for future museums, monuments, and cultural and recreational activities, while also strengthening the Mall’s connections with the surrounding community. Events such as the Solar Decathlon and Book Festival that have been forced off the Mall can find new waterfront locations accessible by foot and boat.
Of course, growth requires intelligent planning. We need a new comprehensive plan for the Mall in its 3rd century that incorporates the new expansion areas and ensures that the 3rd Century Mall reinforces and advances the brilliant legacy of the “1st Century Mall” (1791 L’Enfant Plan) and “2nd Century Mall” (1902 McMillan Plan).
The Washington Post has supported Mall expansion.
One proposed vision for expansion
Renowned architect Arthur Cotton Moore FAIA has proposed one compelling vision for Mall expansion, illustrated below. Mr. Moore would extend the historic symbolic cross axis from the White House to the Jefferson Memorial southward onto a new Mall extension to create new prominent sites for future museums, monuments, and civic events while opening up the Potomac River waterfront as a welcoming and lively new destination for local residents and visitors alike. Read the feature story of Moore’s vision in Washingtonian Magazine.
Other concepts for Mall expansion proposed during the Coalition’s 2005 Designing for Democracy symposium at the Corcoran Gallery of Art reimagined the island of East Potomac Park as a focal point of commemorative and recreational activity taking advantage of the waterfront location.
A new McMillan-type commission can engage the public in a thoughtful consideration of these and other alternative solutions.