Browse Exhibits (3 total)

Arbor Terrace

The Arbor Terrace, or Terrace “E”, as it was originally referred to in Farrand’s early drawings, is one of seven gardens that transition from the Main house to Lover’s Lane Pool within the Southeastern quadrant of the property. While the terrace gardens originally comprised six separate spaces, today the terraces are home to the Green Garden, Star Garden, Beech Terrace, Urn Terrace, Rose Garden, Fountain Terrace and the Arbor Terrace. On axis with the Orangery, these formal gardens descend over 30 feet and unfold as a progression of separate rooms, characteristic of Dumbarton Oaks’ overall design.

The Arbor Terrace has gone through substantial changes over the course of the last 90 years, both in design and implementation. This exhibit chart’s the Arbor Terrace’s evolution from barnyard to its current form, as well as examines in greater depth three garden details: the book box, the sun dial, and the Cao-Parrot ‘Cloud Terrace’ installation. Please consider this exhibit as a companion to the Dumbarton Oaks Historical timeline

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The Kitchen Garden at Dumbarton Oaks

The kitchen garden at Dumbarton Oaks was conceived together with a cutting garden, a frame yard, espaliered fruit trees, a grape arbor, and an orchard. Farrand envisioned the kitchen garden as an integral parcel of the property, explaining that it would "tie the whole scheme of house, terrace and green garden, swimming pool and kitchen garden, into a unit." Yet the institutionalization of Dumbarton Oaks in 1940, and the budgetary constraints and that resulted, brought significant programmatic changes to the Kitchen Garden.

While the cutting garden, espaliered fruit trees, and orchard would persist, by 1947, vegetables were no longer being planted in the the kitchen garden. Some time between 1950 and 1955, the frames in the frameyard were removed and their brick foundations were buried. The vegetable garden was repurposed as a field for potted mums, and the frame yard was filled, leveled, seeded and used for peony beds. 

Today, the garden staff is working towards restoring the Kitchen Garden. In 2009, a small portion of the vegetable garden was replanted. In the summer of 2012, garden staff and summer GLS interns began to excavate the pit house at the northern edge of the former frame yard in order to determine if it could be restored to its original use. 

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Monumentality in Microcosm

From the earliest dreams of Thomas Jefferson and Pierre-Charles L’Enfant to the boosters of the Gilded Age, Washington, D.C. was conceived as a garden its own right.  For over two centuries, the real and imagined city of Washington has been depicted in plans, maps, and renderings as both a front yard to the nation’s vast wilderness and an arcadian setting for the seat of a new democracy.

Beaux-Arts Era urban planning layered a distinct spatial quality into American cities.  These majestic landscapes of carefully framed vistas, axial boulevards, etoilles, and monumental architecture conveyed political potency, social grandeur and cultural primacy.  At the same time, the lucid geometry of these grand master plans systematically produced small, incidental spaces in the urban fabric.  Situated at the intersection of roads, these irregular voids contradict the rational clarity of the grandiose city schemes that produced them.  Roadway triangles in particular occur routinely and frequently, yet never share the exact same geometric and programmatic profile.  At times, they serve as gateways, venues for monuments, or mark district thresholds; more often, their function and importance was overlooked.   My study constructs a historical narrative examining the spatial, social, and political dimensions of these remnant pieces of land in the Capitol.  These are examined both as a whole system and in a series of individual case studies; supported by original photography and mapping.

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