Behind the lush rooftop oasis that puts Crossing DC in a class of its own.
Crossing DC is the latest vision of mixed-use luxury living to come to the Capitol’s sought-after Navy Yard neighborhood. Creating a unique rooftop experience was central to landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations’ (JCFO) plan to help Crossing DC stand apart among the neighborhood’s other amenity-rich residential buildings.
A few challenges complicated the approach to the rooftop’s design, the first being DC’s height limitation. Unable to change the height of the rooftop decking, JCFO opted instead to use planter walls to build interesting topography on the roof. The second challenge came as a result of Crossing DC's hallmark asymmetric “plus sign” footprint.
"This building is a different shape than a lot of its competitors. From the decking design to the layout of the wood, nothing is orthogonal,” says Todd Lewis, RLA, Associate at JCFO. "We had to take the geometry of the building and express that up
Despite these challenges, JFCO maintained that Crossing DC’s rooftop was a critical opportunity to provide the exceptional design features and luxurious outdoor spaces that discerning tenants have come to expect.
"We’re in a bit of an ‘amenities arms race’ these days,” describes Todd Lewis. “It began with a gym, then maybe a pool. Now it’s dog washing stations, meditation rooms and saunas. This building has no less than six podcast studios! It’s like a resort and then some.”
To create a rooftop experience that stood up to the building's unique offerings, Lewis and JCFO focused on bringing diverse use and dynamic topography to the space. "The design process centered around breaking away from the familiar mono-tiered or terrace approach to rooftop design to really make this a stand-out space,” describes Lewis.
To overcome these challenges with creative, design-forward thinking, JCFO tapped Landscape Forms’ Studio 431 customs team to engineer and manufacture the large-scale planters that would define space and topography on the rooftop.
In all, Studio 431 created 604 weldments that make up the planter walls, exceeding 3,451 feet in length. "Studio 431 was able to figure out the precise widths, slab folds, seaming and points of connection needed to make everything essentially drop into place,” says Lewis.
The tight seams and finish consistency—a textured nutmeg powdercoat that Studio 431 developed—gives the planters a contiguous and monolithic, yet organic look, which Lewis describes as "the feel of COR-TEN without the worry of rusting.”
"Leveraging the services that Studio 431 provides beyond fabrication—project management, estimation and engineering from conception to installation—made this project successful,” explains Lewis. The planters’ scale is matched by the level of detail and intricacy, making Crossing DC’s rooftop both aesthetically stunning and functionally versatile. Around the pool and cabana areas, outdoor grilling areas, intimate lounge spaces and wide-open fitness spaces, the planter walls define different “rooms,” enabling flexible outdoor living in modern, calming ambiance.