The hunt for someone to redesign the “loved to death” sections of the National Mall in Washington D.C. has been somewhat quiet since the competition selected its all-star jury lineup back in October. That’s changed this week with the announcement that twelve finalist teams have been selected and are now on display both online and in person, though just for this week only, at the Smithsonian Castle. The finalists include the usual selection of top-name firms, including Rogers Marvel, Balmori Associates, Diller Scofido Renfro and Snohette teamed with AECOM. Strangely, no James Corner Field Operations, who we’ve grown so accustomed to being selected for this sort of project, meaning they either didn’t submit or, and this seems even more strange, that they weren’t picked as finalists. All in all, we certainly dig all of the finalists’ plans for the three spaces slotted for $350 million worth of improvements (anything’s better than the aimless stretches that permeate the area now), but with so much wide-open space and so many limitations on views that can be blocked and what can be built where, there’s part of us that speculates that the renovations will look a whole lot better from an aerial view than from the ground. We’ll have some time to wait before we can test that theory out, as winners for the three projects will be named in May, with construction estimated to be completed by sometime in 2016.