“Forget about the humidity,” said landscape architect Madison Cox, whose design of boxwood, rose and herbaceous borders was just being installed at the new Edmond J. Safra Lodge at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. “It was the 27 levels of bureaucracy that got to us.”

Cox was one of 250 guests at the Library of Congress dinner last week celebrating the opening of the 34-room residential facility for families of patients admitted to the U.S. Congress’ most well-endowed research and medical facility, which was funded with a $5 million donation from Lily Safra. Other guests included Ethel Kennedy; Lucky Roosevelt; Leonard and Evelyn Lauder; Deeda and William McCormick Blair; Lynn and Oscar Wyatt; Peggy Noonan; Marvin and Terry Hamlisch, and Cecile and Ezra Zilkha. Safra also invited a trio of favorite grandkids, including Ariel, Lily and Samuel Elia.

Cox, meanwhile, said the whole project made him realize that working for the Agnelli family, for whom he’s also designed gardens, is much easier. “They govern by autocracy,” he said, “which is far more efficient than a bureaucracy when it comes to getting work done on time.”

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