Capitol Grounds, Washington, DC

For Architect of the Capitol

Projects Cultural Landscape Reports for Senate and House Office Buildings Complex, Library of Congress, Union Square, US Botanic Garden, Capitol Square, and Senate Parks, 2009 to 2020

Heritage Landscapes has completed a series of thorough cultural landscape reports (CLRs) for the landscapes of the 247-acre Capitol Grounds for the Architect of the Capitol (AOC). Through ongoing collaboration, we have developed foundational documents aligned to the AOC Preservation Policy and contemporary objectives of site security, accessibility and environmental sustainability for these complex historic civic landscapes. The research-based CLRs document the history, evolution, existing conditions and character, analyze significance and enumerate contributing features of this iconic evolved campus at the heart of our nation.  The reports address the sequentially designed and evolved landscapes of:

  • Capitol Square, by Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., 1874 to 1894
  • Senate Parks, by Bennett, Parsons Frost plans, 1930s
  • Union Square, by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., US Botanic Garden and Square 575, 1930s
  • Library of Congress Grounds, 1890s, 1930s and 1980s
  • House Office Buildings Grounds and Open Spaces, 1903, 1930s, and 1950s
  • Senate Office Buildings Grounds and Adjacent Spaces, 1903, 1950s, 1980s

Each AOC designed landscape character area evokes its origins and evolution, with varying degrees of integrity, addressed with a preserve and rehabilitate management philosophy and detailed landscape preservation treatment plans. Together these CLRs provide enhanced understanding within the AOC of the importance of their historic landscape resources. The CLRs have garnered professional awards and guide AOC actions to carry out day-to-day stewardship. The AOC continues to call on Heritage Landscapes deep campus knowledge to inform current projects and stewardship efforts.

Recognition: Awards, Presentations
Keywords: civic, universal access, designed historic landscape, asset, sustainable, Olmsted, cultural landscape report


Teams Heritage Landscapes lead with RIB US Costs, through BBB Architects, URS/AECOM; Capitol Square lead Vitetta, with Charles E. Beveridge, Pamela Scott, historians, Care of Trees, Hord Coplan Macht, Faithful+Gould Costing


Because these cultural landscape reports were completed by the same project team, led by Heritage Landscapes, the landscapes began to be understood within their context of the Capitol Campus as a cohesive government district. Together, these CLRs illustrate how best the AOC can manage and preserve its national treasures for future generations and serve to make the Architect of the Capitol a more effective steward. Martin Shore, AOC Design Services