Our proposal aims to amplify and enhance the threshold – that moment of crossing from the Mall or the city into the interior of the Gardens. A generous distribution of double entry points along Constitution Avenue will augment the experience of entering the Gardens, and signify the presence of a meaningful and discrete space.
Adding height to the existing landforms of the Gardens will establish their formal identity by creating a dramatic procession from the city to the lake, A 30-foot-high wall will define the street edges of Constitution Gardens, the existing grade will be raised, and a dense woodland will frame the Gardens.
Large areas of the site will require soil excavation and replacement with a reconstituted growing medium and a continuous sand drainage layer. Contaminated soils will be retained and sealed on-site beneath the reconstituted root zone.
Referencing the original Skidmore, Owings and Merrill plan for a large covered outdoor space, a pavilion at the east end of the lake, designed by Rogers Partners, will create a dramatic portal to Constitution Gardens. A grand stair will transition down to the lake from a path connecting Constitution Avenue to the World War II Memorial. The pavilion simultaneously becomes a threshold, an anchor point, and a nexus of activity for Constitution Gardens. Containing a restaurant, a cafe, and an outdoor lookout at the water’s edge, the pavilion is modern in form and contemporary in tectonics. It frames a westward vista over the Gardens.