Garden Dialogues

Garden Dialogues 2018: Washington, DC

Washington, DC

Eloquence, serenity, and beauty are the hallmarks of three projects by Richard Williams Architects at St. Albans School and the Washington National Cathedral, which accommodate the burial of the dead and are designed to offer opportunities for remembrance and reflection.  While the settings are ecclesiastical, none of the projects are heavily freighted with traditional iconography. Indeed, the Garth Memorial Garden at the National Cathedral and Cornerstone Garden at St. Albans, conceived as places for interment, are also places of delight and celebratory of life. 

West Crypt, National Cathedral, Washington, DC
West Crypt, National Cathedral, Washington, DC - Photo courtesy Richard Williams Architects

Cornerstone Garden was created from an overgrown hillside where, during the excavation, the historic building’s cornerstone was revealed, hence the name of the garden. A new perimeter wall separates the visitor from the outside world, and the garden is structured as a series of discrete terraces that hug gravel pathways.

For the Garth Memorial Garden, which features a Modernist George Tsutakawa-designed fountain set within a Gothic Revival courtyard, the designers have proposed a minimal but potent transformation of the space, originally conceived by landscape architect Meade Palmer. Garden Dialogue attendees will see the project in the early stages of construction, as it begins its transformation, and will discover first-hand the care, sensitivity, and delicacy of the design. The Dialogue will also feature a tour of the Cathedral’s West Crypt, which is accessed via a gate designed by Samuel Yellin. The design team has transformed the original space, which is adjacent to St. Joseph’s Chapel, and introduced a trompe l’oeil light device in a place devoid of natural sunlight. The minimalist palette balances the building’s demonstrative architecture to create a welcoming and reverential environment.

Cornerstone Garden at Saint Albans School, Washington, DC
Cornerstone Garden at Saint Albans School, Washington, DC - Photo courtesy Richard Williams Architects

The designers have been inspired by Carlo Scarpa’s iconic Brion Family Cemetery in Treviso, Italy, and by the work of the landscape architecture firm Reed-Hilderbrand at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The three projects in the nation’s capital underwent strict and elaborate design review by the school, Cathedral, and Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation Buildings and Grounds committees, all of whom added valuable input and provided strong support for the development and refinement of ideas. The designers were struck by the seriousness—even reverence—that the review committees brought to the charge of how best to create the sacred spaces.

Light refreshments will be provided.

2.0 LA CES™ professional development hours will be available to attendees.

Special ticket pricing is available to a limited number of students. A valid UD is required.

Thanks to the generosity of our hosts and sponsors, tickets for Garden Dialogues are tax-deductible, and proceeds benefit the educational programs of The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Refund Policy:

Cancellations and Refunds will be granted according to the following schedule:
Up to two (2) weeks in advance: 90% (Deduction represents administrative processing fees)
Less than two (2) weeks in advance but up to seven (7) days prior: 70%
No refunds will be made for cancellations seven (7) days prior to event
No refunds will be made for “No Shows” (a person who registers for a program but who does not cancel registration or attend the program).
Refunds will be processed as they are received or after the conclusion of the program, depending on the program date and when cancellation occurs. Refunds may take five (5) to seven (7) business days to process.