In the mid-1850s, the U.S. Congress founded St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, a complex in Washington, D.C., dedicated to caring for the mentally ill. Almost 160 years later, patients have left the premises, and the site was named one of the 11 most endangered historic spaces. Now, its west campus will become the new home of the Department of Homeland Security. And after winning a design competition last May, architecture and planning firm Davis Brody Bond‘s vision for the Gateway Pavilion will turn the faded east campus into a thriving community hub.
The proposed green-roofed, open-air structure will play host to a handful of community events and happenings, including a farmers’ market and after-hours artsy and cultural offerings, while the adjacent grounds will be set up to encourage folks to wander through and stay a bit. Like Weiss/Manfredi and OLIN’s bid for the Sylvan Pavilion surrounding the Washington Monument, the project cuts a sleek and subtle profile focused on engaging the visitors with a fresh, accessible public space, and it seems the heavy, classical architecture of our capital will be increasingly complemented by endeavors favoring this lighter flair.
[All renderings by Christopher Shelley.]