AIA Honors Framework Plan with Award for Regional and Urban Design

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) selected the joint Monumental Core Framework Plan: Connecting New Destinations with the National Mall as a recipient of its distinguished 2010 Institute Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design. A product of the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), the Framework Plan is an ambitious effort that over the next thirty years will guide planning, development, and investment decisions that will transform Washington’s monumental core into a more livable and sustainable destination.

The AIA jury noted that the plan, with its four key goals, “promises to stop degradation of heavily used areas and open less-used venues to greater appreciation and public enjoyment—all within the context of Washington’s expanding downtown.”

“It is a great honor to have the Framework Plan recognized by the American Institute of Architects,” said L. Preston Bryant, Jr., NCPC’s chairman. “As the jury noted, the plan respects the fundamental principles of Washington’s planning history while addressing the needs of the modern city, and promoting sustainable strategies that combine urban design principles with sound environmental practices.”

By transforming four federal precincts adjacent to the National Mall, the plan aims to protect the Mall from overuse; create distinctive settings for new memorials and museums; improve connections between the Mall, city, and waterfront; and transform the monumental core into a more vibrant and sustainable location.

“The plan improves environmental quality by integrating natural elements into every scale of design; promoting the highest urban design, construction, and maintenance practices,” said Thomas Luebke, secretary of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. “Collectively, the plan’s principles will improve public health and safety, establishing Washington as a more welcoming, sustainable, and livable city that better serves city residents, workers, and millions of visitors.”

Plans are already underway to transform federal precincts into active destinations. In the Southwest Rectangle, the Framework Plan goal is to connect the National Mall to the waterfront. To move this forward, NCPC has convened the 10th Street Corridor Task Force. The group will develop strategies to redevelop the area and transform it into a model ecodistrict using innovative environmental and infrastructure practices.

The agency is also examining ways to integrate active uses within the ground floors of federal buildings in order to integrate the federal facilities within the fabric of the city. A third project now underway will successfully implement a Cultural Heritage Trail in the Federal Triangle. This will not only improve connections between the downtown and the Mall, but also highlight the area’s rich cultural and architectural history.

The Framework Plan is one of several plans recognized in 2010 by the AIA with an Institute Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design. The AIA annually presents these awards to projects that recognize distinguished achievements involving the expanding role of the architect in urban design, regional and city planning, and community development. NCPC and CFA will be presented with the award at the AIA National Convention in Miami in June.

For additional information on the Framework Plan’s AIA award, please visit the AIA website at

The Framework Plan is also the recipient of the Downtown DC Business Improvement District’s 2009 Momentum Partnership Award and the American Society of Landscape Architects Potomac Chapter’s 2008 Honor Award in Planning. To view a copy of the plan, visit the publications page of NCPC's website at

The National Capital Planning Commission is the federal government’s central planning agency in the District of Columbia and surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia. The Commission provides overall planning guidance for federal land and buildings in the region. It also reviews the design of federal projects and memorials, oversees long-range planning for future development, and monitors capital investment by federal agencies.

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts advises the federal and District of Columbia governments on matters of art and architecture that affect the appearance of the nation’s capital. The Commission’s primary role is to advise on proposed public building projects and to review private buildings adjacent to public buildings and grounds or major importance. CFA also advises on the design of coins and medals and on the design of war memorials