Security and Walkability Entwine in New Park at White House

Plans to redesign the expanded publicly accessible section of the White House's front lawn combine both walkability concerns and safety concerns.
July 13, 2011, 6am PDT | Nate Berg
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The design by Roger Marvel Architects was recently announced as the winner of a competition to design the new park.

"At the heart of RMA's Washington D.C. design is the strategic layering of security perimeters, which form a flexible boundary accommodating a variety of security scenarios. To accomplish this, the architects raised the central ellipse and placed an anti-ram wall that doubles as a bench around its perimeter; the bench seating faces the ellipse and helps define the iconic space. According to RMA, this elevational tilting formally "presents" the ellipse lawn to the White House while also screening nearby parking spaces from the view of park goers. Punctuating the new perimeter wall are distinct pedestrian entrances with sculptured bollards to help guide pedestrian flow.

This new boundary allows for the pedestrianization of E Street facing the White House. RMA vastly expanded the public space forming a large plaza-the E Street Terrace-flanked by leafy groves containing concession and maintenance structures."

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Published on Thursday, July 7, 2011 in The Architect's Newspaper
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