WEISS/MANFREDI and OLIN’s competition-winning design for the Sylvan Theater at the Washington Monument, in 2012, is the recipient of a 2015 Progressive Architecture (P/A) Award by Architect Magazine.
The Sylvan Theater will host the National Mall’s more than 29 million visitors, shape a new outdoor theater and pavilion, and recast the public identity of the Washington Monument Grounds.
WEISS/MANFREDI and OLIN’s design defines a new landform and setting that together create a performance landscape on the Mall. The awards jury commented: “The project is very progressive in how subtle it is. It’s done in a minimal, elegant, and beautiful way that is as progressive as working with very sophisticated formal geometries.”
The project and other significant improvements to the National Mall are moving forward under a unique partnership between the National Park Service and the Trust for the National Mall as part of a campaign to restore, improve, and preserve the historic landscape as “America’s Front Yard.”
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.
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. Source by WEISS/MANFREDI.
Article by Marco Rinaldi