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24 February 2012

Dear Ms. Trowbridge:

In its meeting of 16 February, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the revised concept design for a new retaining wall between North Road and the General Services Building in the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoological Park adjacent to Rock Creek Park. Expressing appreciation for the effort to reduce the visual impact of this large wall, the Commission approved the concept submission and delegated review of the final submission to the staff with the following comments.

The Commission members supported the option of a planar treatment of the wall surface, without articulation, to minimize visibility of the expansion joints. However, they expressed concern regarding the durability of the proposed method to create the faux stone coloring on the surface of the concrete wall; they recommended the specification of a technique with a demonstrated resistance to fading over several decades. They also requested that additional trees be planted at the foot of the wall to further screen its visibility.

As delegated, the staff is available to assist you in the development, review, and approval of the final design.

Sincerely,

/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Secretary

Ann Trowbridge
Associate Director for Planning
Smithsonian Institution
P.O. Box 37012, MRC 511
Washington, DC 20013–7012

cc: Don Pruett, Quinn Evans Architects
Peter May, National Park Service

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Last Modified: February 24, 2012