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A sustainable plan to secure the future of Washington D.C.’s iconic National Mall Tidal Basin

Tidal Basin Ideas Lab: History Secured

National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Park Service, Trust for the National Mall, and Presented by American Express with support from SOM
National Mall, Washington, D.C.
Work completed by team while at DLANDstudio
Landscape Architecture
Additional Services
Planning and Urban Design
Completed 2020

Adjacent to the National Mall, the Tidal Basin comprises the beloved blossoming cherry trees and monuments to leaders such as Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King, Jr. Its beauty is matched by the complexity of its many meanings, as experienced by diverse audiences. Yet, despite its storied place in the national imagination, the Tidal Basin is very much at risk. The instability of the land underneath, daily flooding, and crumbling infrastructure threaten its future.

DLANDstudio was one of five leading landscape architecture firms invited to create new, sustainable plans that reimagine the future of Washington D.C.’s iconic Tidal Basin and National Mall, as part of an urgent call to action.

The design employs three interrelated strategies to address the area’s most pressing issues: connect, absorb, and secure. New visual and physical connections include a land bridge, forming an axis between the Jefferson Memorial and the White House. A jetty in the Potomac River off the Lincoln Memorial houses the relocated memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr., connecting national struggles for civil rights over time.

The creation of new wetlands and a green wall will, like a sponge, absorb rising waters. Sedimentation will create tidal flats reducing runoff, storm surge, and flooding. These new features offer soft and dynamic edges as a salve to the Basin’s rigid perimeter.

For more information contact Susannah Drake or Josh Price.

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