Winners of the first stage of the competition to redesign three key sections of the National Mall— Union Square in front of the Capitol building, the grounds of the Washington Monument at Sylvan Theater, and Constitution Gardens between the two buildings of the National Gallery of Art—have been selected and now will prepare for stage two. Each of the 15 teams chosen as finalists by the jury is made up of architects and landscape architects from two firms, for a total of 30 firms making it through the first stage of the competition. The next step for the finalists is the selection of engineers and other designers to form complete design teams. Those teams will be interviewed by members of the Trust for the National Mall and National Park Service (NPS) representatives to determine which groups will advance to the final part of the competition.  Stage three kicks off at the beginning of 2012, when the final teams will perform site visits and submit their design ideas.

The jury—composed mostly of architects, landscape architects, and professors—reviewed 1,200 entries from 30 states and 10 countries. The jurors met for three days to evaluate the entrants’ “past design performance, philosophy, design intent, thoughtfulness, creativity, and overall resume ,” according to a release from the trust. In the end, six teams were chosen as finalists for each site, with three teams earning a spot on more than one site list. Interviews will be completed and the short list of teams moving on to the third and final stage will be announced Dec. 15. Those finalists must present design concepts, which will be placed on public display, for their sites by March 30, 2012. Winning designs will be announced May 3. The restoration project is estimated to cost about $700 million, which will be paid for by the trust and the NPS.

Read through the list of stage one finalists below or read more about the competition.