|Beyond Granite Rocks the House
On December 8 the National Capital Planning Commission and partnering agencies brought together a trio of international public art experts for "Beyond Granite," the latest installment of NCPC's Speaker Series.
More than 150 people attended the lively discourse at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) featuring Julian LaVerdiere, designer of Tribute in Light at the World Trade Center site in New York City; Justine Simons, director of London's Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square; and interactive light artist, Krzysztof Wodiczko. Thomas Luebke, secretary of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts served as moderator.
LaVerdiere explained how an image of lights focused the nation's hopes skyward and became a moving, ephemeral symbol at Ground Zero. Simons shared her experiences leading the Fourth Plinth, which after being empty for over 150 years now hosts temporary exhibits that inspire public involvement and shape new ideas about contemporary art in monumental settings. Wodiczko demonstrated how a symbolic building site in Hiroshima was used for remembrance among many generations by using its shoreline as a film screen. The British Council and the Trust for the National Mall joined NCPC and the SAAM to sponsor the event. Watch video >>
The National Mall Plan: Park Service
Reveals the Future for America's Front Yard
At the December commission meeting, the National Park Service unveiled the final version of its National Mall Plan. NCPC unanimously adopted the new framework for the Mall which follows more than four years of work. Infrastructure will be updated with the addition of multi-purpose spaces at the Sylvan Theater and Constitution Gardens. Improved amenities will include restrooms, seating, and food venues. Cars, buses, bicycle, and pedestrian circulation will be enhanced by new traffic patterns and updated surfaces. The most dramatic changes are slated for Union Square, which will be reconfigured to provide a better use of space for special events and First Amendment activities. Read the plan >> Watch video >>
A Re-imagined Southwest Waterfront
The design team working on a new vision for the Southwest Waterfront provided an informational presentation to NCPC, another highlight of the December meeting. The Commission welcomed representatives from Ehrenkrantz, Eckstut, and Kuhn Architects (EEK) who presented a broad overview of the proposed changes. The architects discussed weaving the fabric of the city with the waterfront by adding mixed-use buildings and optimizing river activity. Watch video >>
The efforts coincide with NCPC plans to revitalize the 10th Street and Maryland Avenue corridors, a key goal of the Monumental Core Framework Plan. You can learn about NCPC's efforts to redefine the area as a sustainable ecodistrict during a public meeting scheduled for February 15. Look for more details in the coming month.