Photo courtesy of Smithsonian Institution and the National Capitol Planning Commission.
After expressing concerns to the National Capitol Planning Commission regarding a proposal by the Smithsonian Institution to redesign the Enid Haupt Gardens behind the Smithsonian Castle, the Waterfront Gateway Neighborhood Association (WGNA) has been invited to serve as a consulting party on the Smithsonian South Mall project.
The Smithsonian proposal includes a new café on the east side of the Freer Gallery where the current Moongate Gardens welcome visitors, as well as a contemporary redesign of the iconic Parterre formal gardens immediately south of the Castle with skylights for the administrative offices below. The entrance pavilions to the Museum of African Art and the Sackler Gallery would be removed, as would the Waterfall Garden, for additional special event and group staging space.
At the first consulting parties meeting March 30, WGNA joined the Commission on Fine Arts, the DC Preservation League, and the Smithsonian Associates in voicing concern that the historic nature of the gardens be respected. WGNA also requested that the green space needs of Southwest residents, as well as those of the future residents of The Wharf, the Portals, and Independence Quarter, be considered.