An Evolving Stage

Vietnam iVet Mem JSF 04 copyWho are the visionary thinkers today who can work with all Mall constituencies to create a new long-term vision and plan for the Mall in its 3rd century, a plan that supports the Mall’s modern role as a lively civic stage where Americans and visitors from all over the world explore our country’s history and culture, participate in civic events, and celebrate First Amendment freedoms?

Consider the legacy. The original Mall was the idea of the brilliant designer Peter Charles L’Enfant working closely with President George Washington. That legacy of visionary, civic-minded thinking at the birth of the United States was reinforced and expanded by the 1901-1902 McMillan Commission’s renowned desigPre-Inaugural Celebration 2009ners Daniel Burnham, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., Charles McKim, and Augustus Saint-Gaudens. But as visionary as the McMillan Plan was in its day, its designers could not have imagined the Mall’s role today as a vibrant, active, ever-evolving public open space. Learn more about the historic plans here. 

Today we need a new McMillan-type commission to plan for the Mall in its 3rd century. Our modern visionaries need to consider public use of the open space, sustainability, cultural enrichment, flood control, and a host of environmental and civic matters.  The possibilities are exciting for a new generation of creative, thoughtful architects, engineers, and civic and cultural leaders to envision a bright future for the next 100 years.