Rogers Partners (formally known as Rogers Marvel Architects) and PWP Landscape Architecture’s redesign for the National Mall’s neglected Constitution Gardens has received unanimous approval from the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). The 50-acre project, which was originally won through a competition in 2012, will now move forward with its first phase.
Located on the National Mall in Washington DC, between the World War II Memorial and Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the project’s first phase will focus on the northeast corner and northern edge of the site. It will include the construction of an open 160-foot-long pavilion and restaurant cantilevering from an events plaza 20 feet above the adjacent lake that will provide views of the gardens and rolling landscape which surround it.
The masterplan will activate the area with year-round recreational opportunities, such as ice skating, picnicking, and special events.
“Our design will energize the daily, seasonal, and yearly activities that already occur on the site through a variety of cultural and social uses,” says Robert M. Rogers, FAIA, founding partner of Rogers Partners. “Our goal is to create a high-performing, more robust, more accommodating public realm.”
Phase one includes an 18-inch retaining wall along Constitution Avenue that aims to create a visual and physical separation from the city and a wetland along the lake’s perimeter. The historic lockkeeper’s house will be rehabilitated and relocated.
“We want to heighten the park’s potential as a retreat within a landscape of emotional iconography and national history, ” explained Rogers. “We will immerse visitors in nature, beauty, and contemplation, while amplifying the Gardens’ capacity to accommodate and adapt to the demands of the National Mall.”
Phase one is expected to be complete by 2016.