A managing director at SOM for 15 years, Rod Garrett left an immeasurable impact on SOM, the architecture profession, and the Washington, D.C., community. After he passed away in the summer of 2014, the staff in SOM’s D.C. office worked together to identify an opportunity to properly honor his legacy.
Among the numerous causes for which Garrett volunteered his time, the annual Community Improvement Day was one of his favorites. Founded nearly two decades ago by the District of Columbia Building Industry Association, the event brings together skilled volunteers who spend a day renovating a park or recreational facility. Each year’s project is conceived, planned, and organized by these volunteers, who not only have the expertise to perform the work, but are also willing to donate considerable time, effort, and resources to help improve the quality of life for youth in the city. SOM’s D.C. office has long participated in the event.
For the 2014 Community Improvement Day, held on September 27, 2014, SOM designed and constructed a bench in memory of Garrett. The bench was installed at this year’s project site—the Dwight A. Mosley Sports Complex, located at 20th and Otis Streets in D.C.’s Brookland neighborhood. Volunteers from SOM constructed and installed the bench over several nights and weekends in the autumn of 2014. The project was financially supported by donations from SOM staff and leadership, as well as a generous donation from Debra Lehman Smith, a former SOM associate partner and founding partner of LSM.