D.C. Looks to Build ‘Zen Park’ in Northeast Capitol Hill

by Andrew Ramonas August 18, 2015 at 1:50 pm 2 Comments

Pocket park at North Carolina Avenue, 15th Street and Constitution Avenue NE (Photo via Google Maps)A pocket park in northeast Capitol Hill soon might become an urban oasis of “tranquility, simplicity and balance,” a landscape architect looking to redesign the area said last night.

Speaking at a community meeting, architect Adrienne McCray said she is working with the District on plans to create a “Zen park” between North Carolina Avenue, 15th Street and Constitution Avenue NE. The triangular space, which is owned by D.C., currently has about a half-dozen trees that are surrounded by grass.

McCray said the vision of a D.C. Zen park developed by her and her colleagues doesn’t include sand for raking designs, a common feature of Japanese Zen gardens. Rather, they are looking to create “ways of escaping from the urban hardscape and really finding that natural space,” she said.

“Doing a little bit of research, we realized that Zen is not really specific features that are placed into a park, but is really the experience that a space provides and how people are engaging in it and the meditative process that is provided within that area,” said McCray, a senior associate with landscape architecture firm Lee and Associates.

Plans for the Zen park include mounds, shrubs, pathways and benches that would surround the trees. The area also would have free Wi-Fi.

Locals at the meeting held by ANC 6A’s transportation and public space committee expressed concern about the health of the trees and the maintenance of the Zen park, if it comes to fruition.

Shahrokh Ghahramani, a D.C. Department of General Services project manager, said after the meeting that he and his colleagues will look into the residents’ worries.

“We have to evaluate,” he said.

If the District moves forward with the current plans for the space, the Zen park likely would be ready by November, Ghahramani said.

Photo via Google Maps


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