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Working in Olmsted's Shadow

Guidance for Developing a Scope of Services for the Update of the Master Plan for the U.S. Capitol and Grounds


"The United States Capitol is among the most architecturally impressive and symbolically important buildings in the world ... The Architect of the Capitol is charged with the operation and maintenance of the United States Capitol Complex, which is still governed by provisions of the L'Enfant Plan of 1792 and the McMillan Commission Plan of 1901 as well as legislation that has been enacted from time to time. The most recent master plan for future development of the U.S. Capitol grounds and related areas was developed in 1981 ... Since 1983, increased security measures have been continuously put into effect, including the installation of barriers at vehicular entrances, other physical security features, and the initiation of construction of the Capitol Visitor Center ... In light of the increased emphasis on security, ensuring open public access to national landmarks and maintaining the operational efficiency of the Congress and Supreme Court are paramount concerns. Additionally, planning for the Capitol Complex must also recognize the emergent goal of sustainability in the constructed environment and the potential impact of new and emerging technologies on the nature of the workplace ... The Architect of the Capitol has proposed that the 1981 Master Plan be updated and revised through a contractual effort that comprehensively addresses current and foreseeable issues. The Architect of the Capitol requested that the National Research Council (NRC) convene a panel of experts to identify and discuss these issues, prepare a summary record of the discussions, and offer recommendations ... [A] committee of five experts in planning, architecture, public involvement, human ecology, and facilities management to [was appointed] plan and conduct a 1 1/2-day workshop ... to identify the topics that should be addressed in the Master Plan and discuss how they should be organized and integrated so that the scope of services set forth in the request for proposals (RFP) will be well focused, comprehensive, and unambiguous"--P. vii-viii.