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Cunningham: National Mall Trust Wants Redesign Ideas

Congressí backyard, the National Mall, is about to get a major redesign, and weíre asking every Member of Congress to play a role in supporting this effort for the future of our nationís most iconic public space.

On Sept. 8, the Trust for the National Mall launched the National Mall Design Competition on behalf of the National Park Service. The 36-week contest will challenge architects and landscape designers to develop creative, sustainable solutions to the Mallís restoration needs for three sites: Union Square, Constitution Gardens and the Washington Monument grounds.

The Trust for the National Mall is the official partner of the National Park Service, dedicated to raising the private-sector funds necessary to restore and improve the National Mall. Former first lady Laura Bush was recently named honorary chairwoman of the National Mall campaign, the nationís largest public-private partnership, and we will announce more leadership positions in the coming months.

The design competition is a defining moment in the implementation of the National Mall Plan signed last fall by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. This historic document outlines a broad vision for the National Mallís future.

One of only four plans in the parkís history, starting with Pierre LíEnfantís original layout of the capital of a nascent republic, todayís National Mall Plan calls for a rethinking of how we meet the needs of an increasing number of visitors in a sustainable, memorable and beautiful manner.

The National Mall Design Competition will provide an unparalleled opportunity to contribute to the design and planning legacy of the National Mall. Weíre asking Members to actively encourage designers in their districts to submit the best ideas for sustainable modern design solutions that improve while respecting the historical integrity of the National Mallís landscapes and structures. We are seeking submissions from established and emerging designers alike as we seek to redesign and improve Americaís most visited national park.

Incorporating GSA Design Excellence principles, the competition will inspire top designers to share our passion and commitment to restoring, improving and making the National Mall the best park in the world. A jury of seven prestigious experts from the fields of landscape architecture, historical preservation, the arts, urban landscape design and sustainable design will select the winning designs.

The three-stage competition will be guided by internationally renowned architect Donald Stastny, who has authored and managed more than 50 design selection processes and developed the Design Excellence Guidelines that shape all new federal building design competitions.

Stastny has been and will continue to be supported by a steering committee of representatives from the National Park Service, the Architect of the Capitol, the U.S. Park Police, the Smithsonian Institute, the National Gallery of Art, the National Capitol Planning Commission, the Commission on Fine Arts and the D.C. Office of Planning.

The trust will reveal winning designs at our 5th Annual Benefit Luncheon in May 2012.

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