Image: Sam Kittner

Project Origins

In 2019 the National Trust for Historic Preservation added the Tidal Basin to its portfolio of National Treasures. Facing this cultural landscape’s uncertain future, they initiated, together with the Trust for the National Mall and the National Park Service, the National Mall Tidal Basin Ideas Lab. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is serving as a Civic Partner.

American Express is the presenting partner of the National Mall Tidal Basin Ideas Lab.


Presented by American Express and led by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Trust for the National Mall, and the National Park Service, the Ideas Lab is the first critical step in a multi-phase process that is intended to raise awareness, elevate an important discourse, and educate and engage the public about the future stewardship of the Tidal Basin. The historic National Mall Tidal Basin is one of our nation’s most iconic, significant, and beloved public cultural landscapes and commemorative spaces. A complex, 107-acre public place with remarkable scenic, recreational, and symbolic values, the Tidal Basin is a unique and irreplaceable element of the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Unfortunately, this landscape is endangered. The instability of the land underneath, daily flooding, and crumbling infrastructure threaten its sustainability and visitor enjoyment. That is why we are taking the first step to ensure that the National Mall Tidal Basin will meet the demands of a changing modern environment. We are grateful that you are visiting this virtual exhibition that reimagines the future of the Tidal Basin with innovative ideas and bold provocations that will respect, preserve, and enhance this iconic landscape. Together we can ensure a resilient future for the Tidal Basin so that it may endure for generations to come.


Catherine Townsend President and CEO Trust for the National Mall

Paul Edmondson President and CEO National Trust for Historic Preservation

Jeff Reinbold Superintendent, National Mall and Memorial Parks National Park Service



Chartered by congress in 1949, the National Trust is a privately funded nonprofit organization that works to save America’s historic places. Our work helps build vibrant, sustainable communities, and we strive to create a cultural legacy that is as diverse as the nation itself so all of us can take pride in American history. We work to save America’s historic sites; tell the full American story; build stronger communities; and invest in preservation’s future. Privacy Policy Terms of Use

Board of Trustees, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Christina Lee Brown Founder, Center for Interfaith Relations (Louisville, KY) Linda Bruckheimer Novelist, photographer, entrepreneur (Los Angeles, CA) Laura W. Bush Former First Lady of the United States (Dallas, TX) Susan Chapman-Hughes, Vice Chair Senior Vice President/General Manager, American Express (Brooklyn, NY) Jay Clemens, Vice Chair Retired Sr. Vice President of Legal and General Counsel, Lenovo Group (Hillsborough, CA) Lawrence H. Curtis President and Managing Partner, WinnDevelopment (Boxford, MA) Samuel Dixon Lawyer, Dixon and Thompson Law PLLC (Edenton, NC) Damien Dwin Co-CEO and Co-Founder, Brightwood Capital Advisors, LLC (New York, NY) Kevin Gover Director, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, DC) F. Sheffield Hale President and CEO, Atlanta History Center (Atlanta, GA) Professor Luis G. Hoyos, RA Architect and Associate Professor of Architecture at the California State Polytechnic University (Pomona, CA) Shelley Hoon Keith President, Hoon Construction Services and Keith Properties (Milton, MA) C.H. Randolph “Randy” Lyon Vice Chairman, Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. (Lake Forest, IL)

Martha Nelson Former Senior Vice President/Global Editor-in-Chief, Yahoo (New York, NY) Charles M. Royce President, Royce & Associates, LLC (New York, NY) Fernando E. Lloveras San Miguel Executive Director, Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico (San Juan, PR) Lisa See Bestselling author (Los Angeles, CA) G. Jackson Tankersley, Jr. Co-founder, Meritage Funds (Denver, CO) Phoebe Tudor Preservationist and community volunteer (Houston, TX) Timothy P. Whalen, Chair Director, Getty Conservation Institute (Los Angeles, CA) Donna Colson (Ex-Officio) Commissioner, City of Burlingame Park and Recreation (Burlingame, CA) Jean Follett, Ph.D. (Ex-Officio) Historic preservation consultant (Wheaton, IL) Kirk Huffaker (Ex-Officio) Executive Director, Preservation Utah (Salt Lake City, UT) Edward J. Passarelli (Ex-Officio) Representative, U.S. Attorney General (Washington, DC) Kaywin Feldman (Ex-Officio) Director, National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC) Todd Willens (Ex-Officio) Representative for U.S. Department of the Interior (Washington, DC)


As the leading nonprofit, nonpartisan philanthropic partner of the National Park Service dedicated to restoring, enriching and preserving the National Mall, the Trust brings expertise, private funding and in-kind support to time-sensitive restoration and sustainability projects, mobilizes volunteers and provides educational opportunities to ensure that the National Mall endures and evolves as a vibrant space for all. With over 36 million visits annually to the National Mall, combined with aging infrastructure and the need for better visitor amenities throughout the park, the Trust is helping the National Park Service tackle the more than $800 million needed for critical repairs and improvements. To learn more and to support our mission visit www.nationalmall.org. Privacy Policy

Trust for the National Mall Board of Directors

John E. Akridge, III Founder and Chairman, Akridge Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Chair, New York State Council on the Arts John Drew President and CEO, TCMA, A Drew Company Lanny Griffith Chief Executive Officer, BGR Group Lynn Hackney Founder and Partner, Allyson Capital Eric Hoplin  CEO, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors

Sheila C. Johnson Founder and CEO, Salamander Resorts & Spa Nels Olson Vice Chairman and Co-Leader, Board & CEO Services, Korn Ferry  Edward L. Samek Retired Chairman & CEO, The MRC Group Former Chair, Friends of Acadia National Park (2011-2017) Pamela Scholl President, Dr. Scholl Foundation Ambassador Craig Roberts Stapleton Senior Advisor, Stone Point Capital Catherine Townsend President and CEO, Trust for the National Mall

Ideas Lab Advisory Committee

Charles Birnbaum President and CEO, The Cultural Landscape Foundation Richard Brown Vice President, Philanthropy, American Express Sarah Dodge Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Relationships, American Institute of Architects Nathan Heavers Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Kate Johnson Chief of Green Building and Climate, Department of Energy and Environment (DC) Timothy Keller, FASLA Professor Emeritus, Department of Landscape Architecture, Iowa State University Thomas Luebke, FAIA Secretary, U.S. Commission of Fine Arts

David Maloney State Historic Preservation Officer, DC Office of Planning Lisa Mendelson Acting Director, National Park Service, Region 1-National Capital Area Elizabeth Miller, FASLA Director, Physical Planning, National Capital Planning Commission Willian Nardin Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, Horn Point Laboratory Keith P. O’Connor, AICP City Design Practice Leader, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP Jeff Reinbold Superintendent, National Mall and Memorial Parks, National Park Service

Planning Teams

National Trust for Historic Preservation

Seri Worden, Project Director Senior Field Director, NYC Field Office Pam Bowman Director of Public Lands Policy, Government Relations

Christa Carr Director of Communications, The Glass House

Alison Hinchman Director of Digital Engagement and Acquisition Robert Nieweg Vice President for Preservation Services and Outreach Kendra Parzen Field Officer Julia Rocchi Senior Director of Digital Marketing

Trust for The National Mall

Teresa Durkin, Project Manager Executive Vice President Kelly Decerbo Director, Marketing and Communications Jeremy Flick Director, Digital Marketing and Technology

Eduard Krakhmalnikov Director, Public Engagement Programs

John Whilden Projects Coordinator

National Park Service
National Mall and Memorial Parks

Jeffrey Reinbold Superintendent Catherine Dewey Chief, Resource Management and Acting Chief, Professional Services Jeffrey Gowen Chief of Facility Management Brian Joyner Chief of Staff Sean Kennealy Chief, Division of Professional Services Yue Li Park Landscape Architect Mike Litterst Public Affairs Officer Robin Nixon Acting Deputy Superintendent Eliza Voigt Park Planner

National Capital Area

Doug Jacobs Associate Regional Director-Facilities, Design and Construction Peter May Associate Regional Director-Lands and Planning


Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Keith P. O’Connor AICP, City Design Practice Leader Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is serving as a Civic Partner for the National Mall Tidal Bain Ideas Lab. SOM is one of the largest and most influential architecture, engineering, urban planning, and interior design firms in the world. Founded in 1936, SOM’s collaborative design practice has completed more than 10,000 projects in over 50 countries. They are renowned for iconic buildings, ambitious planning and urban design, and a commitment to design excellence, innovation, and sustainability.

Exhibition Credits


Donald Albrecht Thomas Mellins


MGMT. design


Gordils & Willis

Contact Us

National Trust for Historic Preservation

2600 Virginia Avenue NW Suite 1100 Washington, DC 20037 info@savingplaces.org Phone: 202-588-6000 Toll-Free: 800-944-6847 savingplaces.org


1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Suite 370 Washington, DC 20004 information@nationalmall.org Phone: 202-407-9408 nationalmall.org

© 2020 National Trust for Historic Preservation. All Rights Reserved. © 2020 Trust for the National Mall. All Rights Reserved.

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Civic Partner