Heller & Metzger in Washington, DC

FDR Memorial

Washington, DC / Lawrence Halprin & Associates

The FDR Memorial is composed of a sequence of four galleries or garden rooms, crafted in a narrative sequence to tell the story of the U.S. during the four terms of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency. The memorial’s rooms and water features, built primarily of red South Dakota granite, use stone to express the fracture and upheaval of the times. Water, in the form of cascades, waterfalls, and pools, is a metaphorical component of the palette, with the volume and complexity escalating as the narrative progresses. The amount of stone used on the project and all of its unique requirements had to be incorporated into the specifications. These included stringent quality control requirements; field measurements; field-tooling the stone walls and blocks; and incorporating a special protocol for the interlocking paving pattern, which had to be laid out before it was installed.