Union Square

Ulysses S. Grant was an American Civil War general and the 18th president of the United States.  He is immortalized in America’s largest equestrian statue at the base of the West Front of the Capitol Building.

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Competition Goals
The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, one of the five Presidential Memorials on the National Mall, will be the focal point of a civic square based on historic precedents.  The highly symbolic foreground to the U.S. Capitol will be redesigned as an attractive flexible stage for democracy that can accommodate more visitors and while diverting use from the Mall.  The goal is to create a popular, active, dignified day and evening destination that is easily transformed into a larger venue for First Amendment demonstrations, national celebrations and events.  Expectations for the design of Union Square include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Create an iconic, beautiful and flexible multi-purpose destination that symbolizes our nation and idea of--E Pluribus Unum (out of many—one).
• Provide a welcoming experience to all visitors, Congress, and staff that is enjoyable, safe and secure. 
• Create a physically pleasant environment that can be active day and night throughout the year. 
• Moderate the effects of the hot, humid summer climate and mitigate the impact of traffic noise on the site.
• Explore the potential for food service, restrooms and information facilities within the site or nearby locations outside the primary view corridors of Pennsylvania Avenue, west to the Washington Monument, and Maryland Avenue.

2. Improve security along the western edge of the site, for the Capitol Complex as well as the general public, in a creative manner that celebrates the open nature of a democratic society and maintains a beautiful and dignified foreground for the Capitol.

3. Demonstrate sensitivity to the historic context of the L'Enfant, McMillan and the 1930's Plans.
• Highlight the U.S. Grant Memorial. 
• Protect historic views and vistas to the Capitol, the Mall, and the Washington Monument and along Pennsylvania and Maryland Avenues. 
• Recognize and incorporate historic elements and memorials within the area.

4. Maintain water as an element of the site and utilize water features as formal elements of the design as well as contributing to the creation of a more comfortable and welcoming physical environment. 
• Illustrate partnership between the NPS and Capitol Complex exemplifying sustainable water use and joint storm water management.
• All water features should maximize sustainable approaches and meet requirements to reduce the use of potable water.

5. Improve pedestrian connections and environment to facilitate circulation between the U.S. Capitol and its Complex (office buildings, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, U.S. Botanical Gardens), the National Mall, museums, and the city.  Establish both functional as well as visual connections.
• Accommodate tour bus drop-off and pickup locations as well as provide bicycle parking.
• Provide delivery and maintenance access for the site of Union Square, considering its immediate environs.

6. Incorporate multi-purpose facilities and infrastructure within the site area to reduce the impact of activities on the West Lawn of the Capitol and the lawns of the Mall and address the following functional needs:
• Transform the Square quickly and efficient to host celebrations, demonstrations and special events.
• Accommodate Presidential Inaugural activities.
• Provide for temporary screening and security checkpoints as well as temporary road closures.
• Infrastructure to facilitate the set-up, operation and take-down of temporary facilities (stages, tents, displays, etc.) for a variety of permitted activities and large recurring events.
• Access for large delivery and installation vehicles.