LeDeuzzy, Q.

F.D.R. Memorial Competition

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F.D.R. Memorial Competition, Robert Venturi, John Rauch, George Patton, and Nicholas Gianopulos, 1960.

This is a directional earth form that contrasts and thereby enhances the white sculptural forms of the three major Washington memorials already existing in the neighborhood. It is not a fourth sculptural form next to a parking lot. It is several things at once: an open white promenade along the Potomac, which recognizes and utilizes the river's edge for pedestrians; an integral street, which accomodates the visitors' parking and is enclosed by canyon-like walls contrasting with the open avenues around; and, on the other side, it is a green grass mound which is a background for the cherry trees on the basin. The complex curve of the vertical section on the riverside accommodates a multiplicity of ramps, stairs, and passages, and a surface in bas-relief, which is interesting close-up--yet by its extreme continuity, suggested and actual, this curve contributes a scale appropriately monumental and visible from a distance. On the other side the continuous curve in section accommodates varying materials--grass, ground cover, vine, and concrete cap, in sequence and in relation to the varying degrees of the slope. A variety of spaces is afforded by the sequence of open park: tight vehicular canyon, close pedestrian passage, and open directional promenade, in turn relieved by details like trees and benches, and at the middle, on axis with the Washington obelisk, by a vision-split spanned by a little vehicular bridge.




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