Modernist Landscape Architecture in Washington, D.C. is Focus of New Digital Guide

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Modernist Landscape Architecture in Washington, D.C. is Focus of New Digital Guide

Modernist Landscape Architecture in Washington, D.C. is Focus of New Digital Guide
Jun 01, 2021

Media Contact: Nord Wennerstrom | T: 202.483.0553  | M: 202.225.7076 | E: nord@tclf.org


A rich and varied – and fragile – legacy that includes parks, plazas, memorials, residential neighborhoods, and public institutions

Washington, D.C. (June 1, 2021) – The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) today announced the launch of What’s Out There D.C. Modernisma new online guide to modernist landscape architecture in Washington, D.C. This is the sixth What’s Out There Cultural Landscapes Guide produced in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) and the eighteenth city and regional guide created by TCLF. At launch, the ever-growing guide features nearly 30 sites including parks, plazas, memorials, residential neighborhoods, and public institutions. A 3,000-word introductory essay outlines the development of modernist landscape architecture in the nation’s capital and there are nearly 40 biographies of landscape architects and other practitioners associated with sites in the guide. In addition, users will find links to video interviews with several of the designers including M. Paul FriedbergLawrence HalprinCarol R. Johnson, and Cornelia Hahn Oberlander. Moreover, the guide is fully optimized for iPhones and similar handheld devices and includes What’s Nearby, a GPS-enabled function that locates all landscapes within a certain distance, customizable by mileage or walking time.

What’s Out There D.C. Modernism covers a range of sites designed in the twentieth century including: 

  • Langston Terrace Dwellings, an international style residential complex designed and built by African Americans. The development was constructed between 1935 and 1938 with buildings designed by Hilyard Robinson and Paul Williams, of the firm Robinson, Porter and Williams, and the landscape designed by David Williston;
  • Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, originally designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft (1974) with a subsequent overlay by landscape architect Lester Collins (1981). The site is currently at-risk due to a proposed redesign by the artist Hiroshi Sugimoto;
  • Capitol Park, the first residential urban renewal project sponsored by the Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA), collaborative work of architect Chloethiel Woodard Smith and landscape architect Dan Kiley;
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, a 7.5-acre site adjacent to the Cherry Tree Walk on the western edge of the Tidal Basin designed by landscape architect Lawrence Halprin that took 23 years to get built;
  • Fort Lincoln Park, designed by landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg, is a six-acre park that occupies one of 68 former Civil War ramparts, now part of the Fort Circle Parks, and was designed to interpret the site’s military history and its elevated position.

The D.C. Modernism and other City and Regional Guides are an outgrowth of TCLF’s What’s Out There database of North America’s designed landscape legacy. The profusely illustrated and carefully vetted What’s Out There database features more than 2,100 sites in the United States and Canada, 1,100 designer profiles, and 12,000 images.  

The Guides are linked to the database and include overarching thematic narratives about the history of the NPS in each of the selected cities. Historic photographs and maps, discussions of the various themes highlighted by the research, and a GPS-enabled mobile interface make this material relevant and accessible to a variety of users. Additionally, as a digital medium, the Guides are expanded as new landscapes are researched and added to the database.

“Washington, D.C.’s modernist landscape legacy is rich and varied, and also very fragile as demonstrated by the current threat to the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden and recent alterations to Pershing Park,” said Charles A. Birnbaum, TCLF’s president and CEO. “We are grateful to the National Park Service for supporting this project and we hope that a greater stewardship ethic will be fostered by making these landscapes, and the stories behind them, more visible.” 

What’s Out There D.C. Modernism was created as part of the mitigation of adverse effects identified pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act associated with the creation of a World War I Memorial in Pershing Park, a modernist park on Pennsylvania Avenue.

About The Cultural Landscape Foundation

The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1998 to connect people to places. TCLF educates and engages the public to make our shared landscape heritage more visible, identify its value, and empower its stewards. Through its website, publishing, lectures, and other events, TCLF broadens support and understanding for cultural landscapes. TCLF is also home to the Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Prize.

 

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