As we announced earlier, the Trust for the National Mall has selected the New York-based company Rogers Marvel Architects and based in California-PWP Landscape Architecture to reimagine Constitution Gardens in Washington DC. This team was one of three winning teams selected to redesign three neglected National Mall sites. The winning design of Constitution Gardens proposes to bring a renewed identity to this often overlooked part of the National Mall by building on the legacy of the original 1970s plan and creating a lush landscape of rolling hills, gardens and trees. forests with a pavilion overlooking the lake.
Read on for more images, videos and the architects press release.
“Our partner Pete Walker made our design intent very clear to the jury: we are the team that loves Constitution Gardens,” said Robert M. Rogers FAIA, the partner who led the work of this national design competition at Rogers. Marvel. “We really did. We liked the curves of the lake and its open border, the winding paths and the headland at the east end. We appreciated the clarity and optimism of this modernist plan. For us, it was the perfect canvas for the integration of the landscape and the building in order to create a new experience in the great flatness of the shopping center while respecting the importance of this place. The only option we could think of was to extend this legacy, building the experience of the landscape and designing a pavilion that is that of the gardens.
The pavilion is a simple cantilevered flared box sitting in a plaza 20 feet above the lake. A glazed restaurant on the north side will occupy half of the building. Large stairs from the other half will descend to the lake, engaging visitors in a slow discovery of the landscape beyond, the island, the rink / boat basin, the hills. The proposed building envelope is a structural box spring that allows the landscape to be seen from all sides and reflects the light in a diaphanous glow at night.
As in the original SOM plan, the pavilion is located in line with the buildings that line the north side of the mall. It is however slid to the west to allow a path that leads to the WWII Memorial, creating a generous plaza in front of the building for gatherings of over 1,500 people.
The simplicity and rectilinear geometry of the pavilion contrast with the gentle curves of the lush landscape on offer. PWP Landscape Architecture, who redesigned the gardens as co-leaders in this competition, came up with an ecological overhaul and heightened experience of the landscape that is so much the essence of Constitution Gardens. To create a feeling of confinement, to enter a special place, the edges of the park are framed by a low wall and hills 10 to 12 feet higher than the existing topography. The hills will be built with new, healthier soils on which new trees will be planted and old transplanted to create a wooded border. Inside the gardens, visitors will discover wide lawns for sunbathing and picnicking, gardens of seasonal flowers, an informal amphitheater and the existing island redesigned with magnolias and a new path to access the memorial of the 56 signatories. While aquatic plants will line the edge of the lake, its stone border will remain the visible marker that makes this lake so memorable.
The team also designed an infrastructure in the lake that can turn an area into a skating rink in winter, a boat basin with a circular promenade in summer, and shrink to a sparkling ring when you want to restore the lake to its pure beauty and reflective. . Additional design features include the relocation of the historic lock keeper house within the gardens. Located on the edge of one of Washington’s old canals, it will be restored to include exhibits on the National Mall’s water history. The gardens will also receive new trails, benches and lights along the lake, as well as a proposed connection to the Washington Monument Park.
According to the Trust for the National Mall, the grand opening will take place by 2014 with the ribbon cutting in 2016.
Preservation of the landscape: Heritage Landscapes LLC Restoration of the pond: Great ecology Management of open spaces: Biederman redevelopment Sustainable infrastructure: Buro Happold Soil engineering: Pine & Swallow Environment Acoustic engineering: Jaffe holden Soil management: F2 Environmental design Conservation management: EHT Traceries Arborist: Paul Cowie & Associates Signage and orientation: C&G Partners Security: DVS Security Cost estimate : Faithful & Gould Lighting: Fisherman’s Stone Marantz Environmental genius: Froehling & Robertson Interpretation media: Local projects Paving engineering: Mark Smallridge Partners Irrigation: Northern Drawings Traffic: Sam Schwartz Engineering Public works: Weidlinger partners Environmental genius: Froehling & Robertson