The purpose of the National Ideas Competition for the Washington Monument Grounds is to encourage Americans of all ages to develop innovative and creative ideas for making the Washington Monument grounds more welcoming, educational, and effectively used by the public. The idea for this Competition came out of a realization that while the Washington Monument is the defining feature of the Washington DC skyline and the centerpiece of the National Mall, at ground level its vast open space remains unfinished and underutilized. Currently, there is no consensus as to what role the Monument grounds should play in the future. The Competition will spur public interest in George Washington, the Revolution, and other chapters in the American story. The Competition will join legacy and future, historical context and contemporary thinking, and engage a lively debate about the 21st century use ofthis symbolic landscape in the civic life of our democracy.


The Competition invites the participation of individuals 12 and older. Submissions are welcome from everyone, including students, artists, critics, historians, educators, architects and landscape architects, and anyone who has a good idea for the future of this grand civic landscape.

Teams of up to 10 individuals may also participate by listing individual names and designating one individual as the team leader. Submissions from professional groups or design firms are not permitted.


Summer 2010 – Online RESOURCE materials will educate the public about the history of the National Mall and the Washington Monument grounds.

Fall/Winter 2010 – STAGE ONE will be structured to uncover a wide variety of different ideas for the Washington Monument grounds. A distinguished jury will narrow the range of submitted concepts to about 25 semifinalists.

Spring 2011 – In STAGE TWO, the 25 semifinalists will translate their ideas into preliminary demonstration proposals suitable for public exhibition. The jury will select 5 finalists.

Summer 2011 – In STAGE THREE, the 5 finalists will make presentations to the Competition Steering Committee and work with the Competition’s expert design and technical assistance team to make their ideas into comparable demonstrations suitable for public vote.

Once these demonstrations are prepared, the American people will cast their votes for the People’s Choice.

Publication of a Competition catalogue will showcase the best and brightest ideas from all three Competition stages.


All entrants will receive a certificate for their participation and will be eligible for inclusion in the catalogue that will be published and posted online at the conclusion of the Competition.

Each of the 25 semifinalists from Stage One will receive a prize of $100 plus a stipend if they choose to continue to Stage Two.

The 5 finalists from Stage Two will be awarded a stipend and offered free expert design and technical assistance to proceed to Stage Three.

In Stage Three, the American people will review the demonstrations and cast their vote for the People’s Choice of 3 Honor Awards and 2 Honorable Mentions.


All Competition entrants must be registered in order to be eligible for review and award. Register by November 30, 2010, HERE.

Entries must be submitted electronically, using Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), by December 18, 2010, HERE.

Stage One submissions must be no more than two pages with a page size of 81/2 x 11 inches. The submission must begin with an abstract of no more than 50 words. Minimum font size is 10 point. Only electronic submissions will be eligible.

For the purposes of this Competition, the boundaries of the Washington Monument grounds are 15th and 17th Streets and Constitution and Independence Avenues.

Registration fee – Entries from individuals and teams are welcome:

  • $25 per entry for individuals 18 & over
  • $10 per entry for students under 18

Revised October 15, 2010.

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