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United States Botanic Garden

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1931–1933, Bennett, Parsons and Frost. Southeast corner of the Mall between Independence and Maryland avenues SW
  • United States Botanic Garden (Franz Jantzen)
  • (Photograph by Karen Kingsley)
  • Fountain by Frederic A. Bartholdi, 1876 (Photograph by Karen Kingsley)

In this late example of Beaux-Arts design, the Chicago firm Bennett, Parsons and Frost combined a French-inspired orangery with a glass conservatory. Ultimately derived from the orangery at Versailles, the arcaded and balus-traded 40-foot-tall building has the clarity and rhythmical grace of its seventeenth-century antecedent. The beautifully proportioned and detailed limestone orangery is essentially a 200-foot-long, 17-foot-wide entrance hall to the domed palm house (by Lord and Burnham), as well as fifteen climate-controlled rooms for the display of plant groups ranging from temperate to subtropic. The planar surface of the shallowly channeled rusticated walls is punctured by fifteen arched doorways whose sculpted keystone mascarons show classical figures traditionally associated with nature. Here Pan, Pomona, Triton, and Flora represent different kinds of gardens: wild, agricultural, water, and flower.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee


What's Nearby


Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "United States Botanic Garden", [Washington, District of Columbia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of the District of Columbia, Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 90-90.

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