While it’s obvious to anyone that the Washington Monument is the defining feature of the Washington, DC skyline and the centerpiece of the National Mall, a design for the grounds around the monument has never been implemented, despite two centuries worth of ideas.
In the spring of 2010, an independent committee of university professors, architects, and civic leaders started a competition to give Americans of all ages an opportunity to imagine creative and innovative ideas for the Washington Monument grounds and submit them for review. The initial stage of the competition took place in January of 2011, narrowing the field from over 500 entries to just 24.
On Wednesday, June 22, Oehme, van Sweden Principal Eric D. Groft joined fellow jury members David Hackett Fischer, a Pulitzer Prize-Winning George Washington Historian; Ben Forgey, an Architecture Journalist and former Washington Post architecture critic; Greg Hunt, FAIA, the Dean of Marywood University’s School of Architecture and Joy Zinoman, Founder of The Studio Theatre to review the finalists of the competition. The day-long adjudication process was an exchange of ideas, constructive criticism and some healthy disagreements, but consensus was achieved.
At a dinner at his Northwest, DC home the evening before, Chairman of the Competition, James P. Clark, President of the Virginia Society of the AIA, urged the jury to make a special effort to focus on the essence of the ideas presented, as not all entrants had the same rendering and visual presentation skill levels. This evened the field for all competitors, allowing a twelve-year-old to compete against a professional designer.
The results of Stage Two of the competition will be posted at www.wamocompetition.org.