Home & Design
Angled terraces supported by retaining walls with ADA-compliant concrete pathways.
Angled terraces supported by retaining walls with ADA-compliant concrete pathways.

A series of angled terraces is supported by retaining walls and reached via stairs as well as zigzagging, ADA-compliant concrete pathways.

Triangular green-roof pavilion
Triangular green-roof pavilion

At the garden’s eastern edge, a triangular green-roof pavilion echoes the tilted planes of the beds.

Green Scene

The Twin Oaks Community Garden blooms afresh in a new Northwest DC location

Green Scene - When plans were finalized to expand Powell Elementary School in DC’s Petworth neighborhood, the Twin Oaks Community Garden located on-site needed a new home.

Tapped to solve the dilemma, IStudio Architects found an unlikely solution: a steep, overgrown hillside wedged above a soccer field in Upshur Park, just across the street.

Owned by DC’s Department of Parks + Recreation, the new site presented a host of challenges, from accessibility and erosion due to the sloped terrain to the presence of pests and invasive species. “We started the process by listening to the site as well as what the programmatic needs were,” says IStudio principal Rick Harlan Schneider.

After running solar models to determine an optimal layout, IStudio met the site conditions and program requirements with a series of angled terraces supported by retaining walls and reached via stairs as well as zigzagging, ADA-compliant concrete pathways. The terraces contain neatly delineated beds, raised 18 to 20 inches to accommodate all sizes and abilities.

At the garden’s eastern edge, a triangular green-roof pavilion echoes the tilted planes of the beds. It provides shelter, mitigates runoff and captures rainwater for reuse. Located at 4300 Arkansas Avenue, Twin Oaks Community Garden received a 2019 AIA DC Citation for Universal Design.

Green Scene - Architecture: Rick Harlan Schneider, FAIA, LEED AP, IStudio Architects, Washington, DC. Contractor: MCN Build, Washington, DC. Photography: Dan Snook (pavilion); IStudio (garden).

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