The REACH at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Art


2019 Merit Award


Washington, DC



Landscape Architects

Hollander Design Landscape Architects

Project Details

Landscape and architecture are designed as a single, living component at The REACH, the newly-completed expansion to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Together, they function as performance art: architecture grows from the landscape by Hollander Design, and earth fuses with structure by Steven Holl Architects. The REACH was created as a living memorial to JFK. It subverts the traditional concept of a performing arts venue in nearly every way.

The surface of The REACH is a sloping, riverside landscape comprised of 130,000 square feet of gardens and greenways. Just under half of this is on structure. At several points, sedum “swoops” twist up from flat to vertical wall, giving the landscape a sculptural, playful quality. Visitors encounter outdoor performance spaces, dining areas, a grove of 35 gingko trees planted in memorial to JFK as the 35th president, art installations, and a simulcast lawn on which to watch projections of arts events. 

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