On Tuesday, October 22nd, the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) and the Trust for the National Mall (TNM), in partnership with the National Park Service, announced that five landscape architecture firms are joining the National Mall Tidal Basin IDEAS LAB. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), which is serving as Civic Partner, helped to identify and engage the firms and is working closely with NTHP and TNM to shape the initiative.
Presented by American Express, the National Mall Tidal Basin IDEAS LAB is a unique forum that will foster collaboration, encourage big thinking, and provoke innovative approaches to the profound challenges confronting this beloved cultural landscape in Washington, D.C. New York-based firms DLANDstudio and James Corner Field Operations, Seattle-based GGN, Oakland-based Hood Design Studio, and Cambridge-based Reed Hilderbrand have been engaged to address the full range of environmental, ecological, historic preservation, and landscape design issues facing the Tidal Basin by working collaboratively and proposing solutions that will enable the Tidal Basin to endure as a vital part of the National Mall for another 150 years.
For SOM, this project is a continuation of the significant role the firm has played in transforming Washington D.C.’s built environment, including master plans for the National Mall and Constitution Gardens, and the design of the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. As IDEAS LAB Civic Partner, SOM helped the Trust for the National Mall and the National Trust for Historic Preservation establish the intellectual framework and organizational structure for the IDEAS LAB initiative. Throughout the process, SOM will actively engage with participating organizations, and help guide the conversation around the preservation and revitalization of the Tidal Basin. Additionally, as a member of the Advisory Committee, SOM Director of Urban Design and Planning Keith O’Connor will provide counsel to the IDEAS LAB and its sponsors, supply feedback to design teams, and partake in public engagement.
A curated exhibition based on the IDEAS LAB outcomes will premiere in the summer of 2020, with the intent of educating and engaging the public about the preservation and ongoing stewardship of the Tidal Basin. The exhibition will showcase creative collaboration relevant to the Tidal Basin today and set forth provocative design responses critical to protecting this iconic place for generations to come. The IDEAS LAB will inform the National Park Service’s mandated environment review, master planning, and detailed design processes to follow.