Janelia Recreation Area

Ashburn, Virginia

LSG Landscape Architecture provided design, documentation and construction phase services for this new one and a half-acre park on the campus’ western end. The site is located where an underutilized building was recently demolished in support of the Institute’s plans for scientific research expansion.

The park has three major elements sited to take advantage of significant topographic challenges – and opportunities – created by the former building which had an entrance and forest stand at two different levels. The selected concept creates a separate activity zone at each level and embraces the slope transition between them.

At the lower part of the site, a children’s playground is nestled between carefully preserved woods on two sides. The design utilizes the north-facing uphill slope with two feature embankment slides. We further enhanced the slope with a grove of river birch and boulders to create winding stairways. These rocks provide interesting visual geometry, erosion control and maximize tree root preservation. The remainder of the 2-12 play area is comprised of a zipline, climbing hill, swings, and seesaw. Play surfaces include poured rubber and engineered wood fiber. An accessible route also connects the play area and slide entrance.

Uphill, a centrally located and cantilevered overlook perches over the playground, offering a gathering spot and interesting perspective from above. Behind this, on the flattest area, is a new multipurpose synthetic turf field using cork and rubber infill and permanently lined for soccer, lacrosse, and football.  LSG designed a 12-foot combination fence-net surrounding part of the field to capture errant balls.

Reuse, preservation and protection were important program elements.  Over 500 cubic yards of concrete foundation was meticulously broken and sorted for steel rebar recycling.  Remaining material was used as aggregate fill for the field.  The preserved trees enhance the park with instant shade, scale, and habitat. 

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