The original Federal Reserve Board Building (now called Eccles Building) designed by Paul Cret in the modern classical style was dedicated in 1937. In 1974, Cret’s successor firm, Harbeson Hough Livingston and Larson (later renamed H2L2), was engaged to design an additional building, called the Martin Building. Its surrounding garden, built over the parking garage, was designed by George E. Patton. In 1977 a winter storm destroyed much of Patton’s evergreen plantings. David Lilly, a Governor of the Federal Reserve, engaged James van Sweden and Wolfgang Oehme, of Oehme van Sweden, to renovate the garden and create a more useable outdoor public space. Their planting design created a new American garden style, an aesthetic inspired by the American Great Plains and by the use of native plant palates by European landscape architects Karl Foerster and Mien Ruys.
The redesign incorporated earthen berms planted with broad masses of perennials and grasses that channeled views in and out to the Mall. Central and side lawn panels were scaled to host rotating sculpture exhibits. Elements of Patton’s earlier design, including a dramatic fountain, raised planters which provided spatial variety, and site-specific lighting standards were retained.