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The REACH at The Kennedy Center

Synergi REACH Kennedy Center
Project Specs

Location: Washington, D.C.
Architectural Partners: Steven Holl
Architects, BNIM
General Contractor: Whiting-Turner Construction, Davis Construction
Completed In: 2019

Scope of Work

Etched Glass Railings, Exterior Stainless-Steel Cable Guardrail, LED Lighting


The John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a living memorial, built to honor President Kennedy and his admiration for the arts. Limited donor funding meant that Synergi had to collaborate closely with Steven Holl Architects to identify the key features of the design and protect them through a 16 value engineering effort. The design intent pushed the limits of engineering with special analysis required to minimize point support sizes and maximize post separation distances while remaining within budget.

As Project Executive for Whiting-Turner on the project, I worked with Synergi closely through many challenging obstacles presented by the client and the design team. Synergi was committed throughout the project and consistently maintained a focus on quality. I would strongly recommend Synergi for projects now and in the future.

— Karlen L. Evans
VP, Whiting-Turner

Nestled along the Potomac River and positioned near the Lincoln Memorial sits The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts—a “living memorial” built in 1971 to honor President Kennedy and his admiration for the arts. Forty-two years after its inception plans to “re-imagine itself as a more dynamic creative campus that actively engages with its communities” were put to paper. And just six years later, in September 2019, The REACH—coined Washington’s newest culture hub designed to offer behind-the-scenes access and creative classes—opened to the public.

Wildly inventive spaces do not come without a few design challenges. Due to the size and make-up of the cable guardrails, our team partially erected and welded the units on site. They were then carefully removed, factory bead blasted, repackaged, shipped back to the site, and reinstalled. Then, to touch up areas that were field welded, Synergi built a portable bead blasting unit along with a covering canopy so as to not damage the surrounding areas during our efforts. Our dedicated Site Supervisor completed this process within 24 hours.

The landscape encompassing The REACH made waterproofing an essential aspect of this project. And so, we redesigned and reengineered the exterior railing system connections in order to fit within the raised paver system and to be easily waterproofed.