30 Projects from 30 Years: Constitution Gardens

November 20, 2017

To continue with our 30th anniversary blog series, ADE’s Business Development Director Jack O’Neal reflects on a project that hasn’t been completed yet, but stands to bring back the prestige of the National Mall: Constitution Gardens.

Constitution Gardens, located not far from the well-visited Vietnam Veterans Memorial, has long been a neglected piece of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. In August 2013, a team of maintenance workers from the National Park Service showed up to the grounds one morning to discover hundreds of dead fish in the pond. It is believed the bluegills were victims of environmental conditions in the pond related to the poor design that creates unfavorable conditions for aquatic life. This event was a catalyst to revive the Constitution Gardens area of the National Mall from the National Mall Trust. The Trust held a design competition to select an elite design team with a vision for the future of the National Mall. PWP Landscape Architecture was selected as the winning team, and Aquatic Design & Engineering (ADE) was brought on as the aquatics consultant to partner on the renovation of the pond.

For the Constitution Gardens pond, ADE partnered with the design team to develop a comprehensive, chemical-free process for maintaining a quality aquatic environment to support plant and fish life. The pond will utilize a combination of innovative technologies to prevent stratification of the water and to eradicate algae blooms. The mechanical system that we engineered works hand in hand with grading and landscaping surrounding the pond that will aid in the biological filtering of water on the site. The lake will also utilize stormwater runoff from the adjacent city streets to refill the ponds in place of potable water.

When completed, the Constitution Gardens pond ecosystem will not only support plant and fish live in the main basin, but an adjacent pool within the pond will be used for a variety of programmed activities throughout the year. Connected to the pond with be an RC boating lake that can be used for RC boating when filled, drained to host events, and frozen in the winter to serve as an ice skating rink. We’ve been honored to be on the design team that will bring back the life to this national treasure.

For more information, visit the Constitution Gardens project page.