Kennedy Performing Arts Center Plaza Vision Plan

Washington, DC

When built, the Kennedy Center and its plaza were constructed along with miles of highway infrastructure, creating a vast area that isolates the Center and creates a boundary that is not easily negotiated by pedestrians traveling to the site or to the river beyond. EE&K was asked to develop a vision for this area that ends the decades of physical isolation of the Kennedy Center and connects it to the surrounding city fabric, most notably the Foggy Bottom community, the riverfront, and the National Mall.

A new streetscape is proposed along New Hampshire Avenue to provide a more pleasant environment to those visiting the Center by extending its front door to Virginia Avenue and adding a new intersection that is easier to cross.

A grand allee between the Kennedy Center and the Lincoln Memorial re-connects the area to the National Mall. . This plan emphasizes the monumental nature for which the Center was created- to honor the late President John F. Kennedy- and makes the Center accessible from the National Mall in the same manner as other national treasures such as the National Gallery and the Smithsonian museums. This grand extension of the Mall also serves to help connect the waterfront and provides much needed underground parking for the numerous tour buses that come into the city.

The plan extends access to the existing Kennedy Center waterfront terrace with new ramps. These ramps form a grand promenade that engages the waterfront and improves the continuity of the riverfront experience all along the Potomac. The plan also re-weaves the city fabric between Foggy Bottom and Georgetown by extending the city grid along the terminus of Virginia Avenue, providing a more pedestrian-friendly connection to the waterfront, identifying exciting new waterfront development opportunities, and re-connecting the Mall to the waterfront via Virginia Avenue.