Garden Dialogues 2018: Washington, DC

Registration Eligibility
Open to landscape architecture professionals, allied designers, and the general public.
Start Date
End Date
Eloquence, serenity, and beauty are the hallmarks of three projects at Saint 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 School, conceived as places for interment, are also places of delight and celebratory of life.

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 done 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.

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.
Washington, DC
Distance Learning
Course Equivalency
Campus Planning & Design
Historic Preservation
Horticulture / Plants
Parks & Recreation
Site Planning
Water / Stormwater Management
Health, Safety and Welfare
Learning Outcomes
1. Learn how successful landscape architects collaborate with their clients to identify and meet their needs.
2. Learn about the design process for developing the landscape and the planting plan.
3. Learn about appropriate plant selection for landscapes in this region and zone.
Richard Williams, FAIA
Website Registration
Course Codes
The Cultural Landscape Foundation

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