We told you the National Capital Planning Commission was quick, and not that we needed it, but now we have the proof to back that up. Just two short weeks ago, the NCPC announced its finalists to redesign the President’s Park South, the open area directly south of the White House. The competition aimed to make the area, now a bit bland, more warm and inviting, even if it did include “beautify[ing] the security components,” which is short for “where the heavily armed guards stationed there hang out.” Unlike many design competitions where the wait between shortlist and winner can take eons, just a few short days later and the NCPC has announced that New York-based Rogers Marvel Architects has landed the commission (pdf). You can see their submission on this page and here’s a description from the announcement of Marvel’s plans for the space:
Rogers Marvel’s design defines the edge of the Ellipse by adding a seating wall with integrated pedestrian lighting, while subtly raising the grade of the Ellipse. This establishes a security feature, reinforces the Ellipse as an event space, and minimizes the visual appearance of adjacent parking. This bold, elegant move allows for a larger, unobstructed interior public area. The design culminates in a new E Street terrace that joins the enhanced space of the Ellipse with the White House South Lawn. The terrace provides another prominent space for public gathering. Should threat conditions change in the future, this design could also accommodate re-opening E Street, NW without requiring significant changes.