27 April 2012
Dear Ms. Wright:
In its meeting of 19 April, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the project for perimeter security at the Herbert C. Hoover headquarters building of the Department of Commerce at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. The Commission commended the design team for its clear and thorough presentation and approved the concept with the following recommendations, delegating review of the final design submission to the staff.
For the typical segments of the perimeter barrier, the Commission members approved the alternative featuring two rails only, noting that this configuration would be more transparent and would not be obtrusive within the setting of the building. They recommended that the design of the new barrier elements match the existing granite and generally follow the simple design of the historic building's base without adding extraneous detail; they recommended omitting the two reveals proposed near the top of the piers and bollards as a stylistic device that would soon appear dated.
The Commission members also recommended further study of several elements of the proposed barrier system. They suggested consideration of reducing the number of bench alcoves to simplify the overall appearance of the streetscape, possibly locating the benches where the concentration of pedestrians is greatest such as at the corners of the site. They commented that the proposed corner treatment appears to introduce an unrelated element into the perimeter system, and they instead recommended a more continuous and integrated design that accommodates seating. They recommended studying the design of the sidewalks to facilitate pedestrian passage, suggesting consideration of increasing the width of the 15th Street sidewalk balanced with the necessary size of street tree planting areas. For the proposed flagpoles located at the 14th Street entrance, they recommended the option of four equally spaced poles, which will help define the entry sequence and reinforce the building's architecture.
The Commission members expressed support for the intention of the General Services Administration to develop a consistent approach for the design of perimeter security throughout the Federal Triangle. As always, the staff is available to assist with development of the final design.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Mina Wright, Director
cc: Dawud Abdur-Rahman, General Services Administration
Last Modified: April 27, 2012