MATHIAS LABORATORY REPLACEMENT AND EXPANSION, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center • Edgewater, Maryland

The Machine In the Garden

The Mathias Laboratory is a state of the art, LEED Platinum facility in which the world's leading scientists can conduct their studies. The lab's associated landscape will allow them to accomplish the same objectives. A series of Experimental Stormwater Wetland Pools separated by a series of sculptural weirs, the landscape is part machine and part natural and evolving system. It is an infrastructure--processing stormwater and productively using excess fire protection and recycled water. And as such, the pools are controlled by wiers that scientists can raise and lower. The landscape is also a public outreach tool that informs visitors of sustainable techniques and their importance to ecosystem protection and regeneration. Within the pools is a beautiful tapestry of wetland submergent, emergent, floating, and shrubby plants that are a mosaic of life edged by native meadows.


CLIENT: Smithsonian Institution
SIZE: 76,000 sf laboratory, approximately 5 acres
SERVICES: Site Planning, Landscape Architectural Design, Conceptual Stormwater
PARTNERS: EwingCole Architects + Engineers, Alpha Engineering
STATUS: Completed September 2014
IMAGE CREDITS: Drone shot courtesy Hensel Phelps

  Copyright Kathy Poole, all rights reserved, subject to all fair use regulations, not to be reproduced or used without expressed written permission.