Meeting of the Commission of Fine Arts
17 May 2012
The meeting was convened in the Commission of Fine Arts offices in the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001, at 10:03 a.m.
A. Approval of the minutes of the 19 April meeting. Mr. Luebke reported that the minutes of the April meeting were circulated to the Commission members in advance. The Commission approved the minutes upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Schlossberg. Mr. Luebke said that the minutes will be made available on the Commission's website.
B. Dates of next meetings. Mr. Luebke presented the regularly scheduled dates for upcoming Commission meetings: 21 June, 19 July, and 20 September 2012; he noted that no meeting is scheduled during August.
C. Anniversary of the establishment of the Commission of Fine Arts, 17 May 1910, and centennial publication. Mr. Luebke reported on the Commission's two historical anniversaries falling in May: the 102nd anniversary of the Commission's establishment on 17 May 1910, and the 82nd anniversary of the Shipstead–Luce Act of 16 May 1930. He noted the continuing production of a centennial book on the Commission's history, anticipated for completion later in the year.
D. Report on the 2012 National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Program. Mr. Luebke reported on the federal grants program administered by the Commission: the applications from Washington arts institutions have been processed, and grants will be distributed in the coming weeks. He noted the meeting on 3 May of a panel that confirmed the eligibility of the 23 applicant institutions, all of which have previously received grants. He said that the total appropriation for the grants is slightly under $2 million, resulting in a median grant of $70,000; the recent trend has been to reduce the budget, which in past years had been as high as $9.5 million.
E. Report on the approval of objects proposed for acquisition by the Freer Gallery of Art. Mr. Luebke reported that the Commission had visited the Freer Gallery earlier in the morning to inspect ten artworks proposed for acquisition, in accordance with Charles Lang Freer's will. The objects include a Japanese drawing and two prints from the 19th century, and seven paintings from Udaipur, India, from the late 17th and 18th centuries. Chairman Powell confirmed his approval of the acquisitions and said these works would be important additions to the Freer collection.
F. Report on the new CFA lobby coin display by the U.S. Mint. Mr. Luebke reported that the U.S. Mint staff has assisted in reorganizing the display case of coins and medals in the Commission's lobby. He noted that the Commission has been providing design advice to the Mint since 1924.
G. Report on recent and upcoming public presentations. Mr. Luebke reported his acceptance earlier in May, on behalf of the Commission, of the Arthur Ross Award for Stewardship given by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. He also reported the presentation of the Charles Atherton Memorial Lecture on 9 May at the National Building Museum; professor Lance Brown discussed the use of public space in Washington. He noted the annual convention of the American Institute of Architects, currently commencing in Washington; his own presentations include two panel discussions and a lecture on the Commission's history, necessitating his absence from the afternoon portion of the Commission meeting.
II. Submissions and Reviews
Mr. Luebke introduced the three appendices for Commission action. Drafts of the appendices had been circulated to the Commission members in advance of the meeting.
Appendix I – Direct Submission Consent Calendar: Mr. Lindstrom reported the addition of one project: a submission from the National Park Service for improved lighting at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center, where a major tennis tournament is held annually. The tournament sponsor would donate the new lighting equipment, which would reduce light spill into the adjacent neighborhood although requiring greater height of the support poles. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Schlossberg, the Commission approved the revised Direct Submission Consent Calendar.
Appendix II – Shipstead–Luce Act Submissions: Ms. Batcheler reported the changes to the draft appendix. One project has been added (case number SL 12–068) after being removed from the April appendix; the design revisions are now satisfactory. One project has been removed (case number SL 12–084) to allow additional time for design revision. One recommendation has been changed from unfavorable to favorable (case number SL 12–083) based on revision of the design. She also noted the addition of a report on two projects being approved by the staff pursuant to the Commission's delegated authority; for the extended–stay hotel at L'Enfant Plaza (case number SL 12–086), the approval will be finalized upon the anticipated submission of revised drawings that are currently being prepared. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Schlossberg, the Commission approved the revised appendix. (See agenda items II.D.1 through II.D.4 for additional Shipstead–Luce Act submissions.)
Appendix III – Old Georgetown Act Submissions: Mr. Martinez reported the changes to the draft appendix. One project has been removed at the request of the applicant (case number OG 12–211). Several recommendations have been updated in response to supplemental materials, with one recommendation changed from unfavorable to favorable (case number OG 12–157); this recommendation will be finalized upon confirmation of the revised window details. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Schlossberg, the Commission approved the revised appendix.
B. National Park Service
CFA 17/MAY/12–1, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commemorative Plaque. Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Replacement plaque. Final. (Previous: CFA 18/APR/02–1.) Mr. Luebke introduced the proposed replacement of an existing at–grade plaque at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, submitted by the National Park Service on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. He said that the plaque had been placed at the memorial to honor veterans who had died as a result of, but after, their war service in Vietnam, making them ineligible to have their names inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall. Similar plaques with inlaid lettering are located at the Gen. George Gordon Meade Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the Korean War Veterans Memorial. He asked Peter May of the National Park Service to begin the presentation. Mr. May emphasized the difficulty of maintaining the legibility of the lettering on the plaque; he introduced Steve Lorenzetti of the National Park Service to describe the problem and proposed solution in more detail.
Mr. Lorenzetti said that the lettering deteriorated soon after the plaque was dedicated in 2004. A new plaque was installed two years later with more deeply engraved lettering that was filled with a darker grout having a raised profile to shed dirt and water. However, the legibility of the lettering continued to deteriorate; the National Park Service increased the frequency of cleanings and began painting the grout, again without success. Following complaints from the public and members of Congress about the plaque's condition, the current proposal is to install a new plaque with inlaid bronze lettering; the bronze would match the nearby Three Servicemen statue and the font style would match the existing plaque. The bronze would be set flush with the surface of the plaque to prevent theft and the accumulation of debris. He confirmed that the National Park Service does not anticipate further problems with the proposed plaque; inlaid metal lettering is used at other park sites, and the additional maintenance required for the metal lettering should be feasible.
Upon a motion by Mr. Powell and second by Mr. Schlossberg, the Commission approved the replacement plaque. Mr. Powell asked about the status of other current construction projects on the Mall; Mr. Lorenzetti responded that the current turf replacement work would be completed in late fall 2012, and completion of work on the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool is expected in late June.
C. General Services Administration
1. CFA 17/MAY/12–2, St. Elizabeths Hospital Campus, 2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE. Master Plan Amendment: Federal Use Parcel of the East Campus. Final. (Previous: CFA 20/NOV/08–2, Master Plan for the Department of Homeland Security Headquarters.) Mr. Luebke introduced the proposed amendment to the master plan for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters consolidation at St. Elizabeths, the first of two proposals associated with St. Elizabeths submitted by the General Services Administration (GSA). The Commission previously reviewed the master plan in November 2008 to accommodate the consolidation on the West Campus of St. Elizabeths; the amendment adds proposed development of a portion of the East Campus, known as the Federal Use Parcel, for the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). This development would require demolition of the Dix Pavilion, a 1950s building that was formerly part of the federal psychiatric hospital complex; the Federal Use Parcel is also adjacent to a recent development to the north, a larger group of buildings to the south being redeveloped by the D.C. government, and a complex of early 20th–century farm buildings associated with the historic hospital grounds. The amendment also addresses transportation improvements associated with the DHS headquarters, including the widening of Martin Luther King, Jr., Avenue; modifications to the interchange of Malcolm X Avenue and South Capitol Street; and a vehicular connection from this interchange to the planned West Access Road through Shepherd Parkway. Mr. Luebke asked Mina Wright of GSA to begin the presentation.
Ms. Wright said that the planning process for the DHS consolidation at St. Elizabeths is continuing despite the funding reductions that have affected the project. GSA has arranged with the D.C. government to use the 11–acre Federal Use Parcel, part of the 172–acre East Campus of St. Elizabeths, in order to address the concern of excessive density in the development of the West Campus for the DHS consolidation. She introduced architects Antonio Fiol–Silva and Yogesh Saoji from Wallace Roberts & Todd to present the Master Plan amendment for the FEMA headquarters and engineer Jon Whitney from HNTB to present the proposed transportation improvements.
Mr. Saoji said the purpose of the master plan amendment for the FEMA headquarters is to define the boundaries of the Federal Use Parcel and to establish a preferred alternative for developing the site. He emphasized that the DHS facilities are intended to function as a single entity even though the FEMA headquarters will be across Martin Luther King, Jr., Avenue from the West Campus containing the other DHS buildings. He indicated the adjacent existing buildings on the East Campus, including the D.C. Unified Communications Center, as well as historic buildings on the West Campus that are visible from the East Campus. He presented sections illustrating the 25–foot grade change across the Federal Use Parcel. Mr. Rybczynski asked about the intended use of the southern part of the East Campus. Mr. Saoji responded that it would be a mixed–use complex containing retail and residential space, being developed by the D.C. government. Mr. Luebke added that this D.C. project may be presented to Commission later in the summer.
Mr. Saoji described the FEMA program of a 750,000–square–foot office building for 3,100 employees and an employee parking garage with space for approximately 70 to 75 vehicles. A pedestrian tunnel below Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue would connect the FEMA headquarters with the West Campus, where space for some shared functions would be located. The Federal Use Parcel is located within the historic hospital context of the two campuses of St. Elizabeths, a National Historic Landmark; several contributing structures are immediately adjacent, including the Horse Barn, the Dry Barn, and three residential buildings. Constraints on the site include a security setback and other setback requirements; a 75–foot–wide right–of–way for the realignment of Pecan Street, planned by the D.C. government, plus a further setback for streetscape in front of the future FEMA building; the reconfiguration of Pine Street to connect with FEMA and D.C. government parking; and the planned widening of Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue. He indicated the various vehicular and pedestrian circulation patterns that would be established on the site, including employee parking, drop–off, shuttle bus stops connecting to the Metro system, and emergency access.
Mr. Fiol–Silva then presented the potential configuration of the FEMA headquarters building on the Federal Use Parcel, emphasizing the need to relate to the federal development on the West Campus as well as to the adjacent mixed–use development, and to satisfy the requirements of a Level 5 security perimeter. He said that the design team has narrowed a range of alternatives down to three, labeled as the "east–west bars," the "campus reflection plan," and the "atrium." The preferred option is the campus reflection plan, which he said would reconcile the FEMA building's enormous scale with the surrounding structures. This option would also take advantage of the 25–foot drop in grade by placing a lower structure along Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue; as the site descends to the east, a series of three separate but interconnected buildings, ranging from four to seven to nine stories, would mediate the slope and create courtyards opening to the south and to views of the historic campus. The design would include a series of landscapes across the site, intended to blend the project seamlessly with the rest of the historic site and to manage stormwater according to stringent regulations. The entrance court would have a mix of hard paving and porous walks, fountains, and plantings; rain gardens would extend the length of the site; the buildings would have green roofs; and planters along the perimeter would provide water retention, with the perimeter landscape weaving in and out of the security perimeter.
Mr. Schlossberg asked the intended use of an area north of the Federal Use Parcel; Nia Francis of GSA responded that it is planned by the D.C. government as a community garden. Mr. Freelon asked about a small structure identified as "staff entrance" along Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue. Mr. Fiol–Silva responded that it would be the main entrance pavilion for employees arriving by bus or as pedestrians, allowing entry to the underground connection to the West Campus; the VIP entrance would also be at this location. He said that massing studies for the buildings have been developed, but the architecture is not yet defined. The design goal for this pavilion would be to provide a civic front; the architectural guidelines encourage the development of a contemporary architecture that is compatible with the historic context and reflective of the mission of the federal government, including sustainability.
Mr. Whitney then discussed the transportation improvements in the proposed master plan amendment. Improvements to Martin Luther King, Jr., Avenue would be made where it passes between the East Campus and West Campus, and would continue south through the Congress Heights commercial area to Alabama Avenue. The street would be widened from four substandard lanes to four eleven–foot–wide lanes; a median would be added to accommodate left–turn lanes and raised landscaping areas. Sidewalks would be widened and a landscaped buffer between the sidewalks and curbs would be installed.
Mr. Whitney described the proposed master plan for the interchange of I–295, Malcolm X Avenue, and South Capitol Street; he described the configuration as "an unusual, atypical interchange design" that has been developed in consultation with the D.C. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. The interchange would provide access to the DHS headquarters through a road leading to West Campus Gate 4 and would also improve connections to Malcolm X Avenue, to the military base on the west side of I–295, and to southbound I–295. He emphasized the effort to minimize impacts on the parkland of Shepherd Parkway in coordination with the National Park Service while providing all of the necessary vehicular connections, and to minimize the height of retaining walls by following the existing terrain where possible. He said that the master plan focuses on road geometry and the number, width, and alignments of lanes; later phases will address more detailed design issues such as lighting and materials. He presented a series of renderings to illustrate the interchange configuration.
Mr. Schlossberg observed that the intersection would be complicated, and its signage would also be complicated. Mr. Whitney agreed, adding that many vehicular movements would be added that are not currently available. He said that signage on the interstate would follow federal standards; new signs would also be added to the local streets, but a signage plan has not yet been developed.
Mr. Freelon offered support for the preferred alternative of the campus reflection plan for the FEMA headquarters, commenting that it is less limiting than and superior to the other alternatives. Upon a motion by Mr. Schlossberg, the Commission approved the master plan amendment for the FEMA headquarters and the transportation improvements.
2. CFA 17/MAY/12–3, St. Elizabeths Hospital. West Campus, 2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE. Phase 1 Site Lighting Project. Final. Mr. Luebke asked Ms. Wright of the General Services Administration (GSA) to continue with the second proposal for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) consolidation at St. Elizabeths, for site lighting in the first phase of development at the West Campus. Ms. Wright said that the campus has no existing historic light poles, and the project therefore provides an opportunity to introduce a contemporary design that will later be used throughout the DHS campus. She introduced architect Tom Mozina of Perkins + Will to present the proposal.
Mr. Mozina said that the lighting goal is to provide a low level of light for interior walks that will give the campus a residential character. He presented the list of design criteria that has been developed by the design team, GSA, and the parties consulting in the historic preservation review process, calling for a contemporary style that would be compatible with both the new construction and the historic buildings. The proposal includes installing 128 pole lights spaced at 90– to 100–foot intervals, along with 25 smaller bollard lights and 25 step lights. The pole lights would be a single fixture on a sixteen–foot–high pole. LED lamps would be used due to their energy efficiency and low maintenance needs. The amount of light would follow LEED guidelines, with a minimum of one–quarter of a foot–candle on walks and a required minimum of one foot–candle on egress routes. Historic fixtures would be replicated at Gates 1 and 2 along Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue. He noted that some of the proposed fixture types have previously been approved by the Commission for the U.S. Coast Guard headquarters being built on the campus.
Mr. Mozina concluded with site plans of the proposed fixture locations and the anticipated lighting for future phases of development on the West Campus. He noted that the pole lights would be placed on the opposite side of the roads from historic buildings where possible.
Mr. Rybczynski asked if the proposed new type of pole light, labeled "Type XF 1," would have a reflector or just a lamp at the top. Mr. Mozina indicated the reflector within the thin saucer at the top of the fixture, held up by four thin arms and open to the air beneath; he described the design as a simple, contemporary fixture on a simple pole at a residential scale. He added that the LED light would have a soft quality, and the lamp would be screened by a diffuser lens.
Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Schlossberg, the Commission approved the lighting proposal.
Chairman Powell recused himself from participation in the following agenda item; Mr. Rybczynski, the senior Commission member present, chaired the meeting for this presentation.
D. D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs—Shipstead–Luce Act
1. SL 12– 085, 420 10th Street, SW (L'Enfant Plaza). Replacement retail pavilion and alterations in courtyard. Final. (Previous: SL 12–051, February 2012.) Ms. Batcheler introduced the proposed final design for the new retail entrance pavilion and landscape for the central courtyard of the L'Enfant Plaza complex; the design has been revised in response to the Commission's previous comments. She asked Dean Cinkala of the JBG Companies to begin the presentation; Mr. Cinkala introduced architect John Crump of SmithGroup to present the design.
Mr. Crump noted the Commission's previous approval of the concept design and support for the simple pavilion form with a balanced surrounding landscape; he indicated the design's expression of the axial relationships of the surrounding buildings. He presented details of the proposed landscape design. Around the proposed pavilion would be two rings of sawleaf zelkova, a variety selected because it is appropriate for urban settings, having a shallow root system and a round, dense canopy to provide shade. The proposed lawn panels would include berms to create sufficient depth for tree planting. The north and south edges of the plaza would be planted with lines of sweet birch trees, installed in precast concrete planters with liriope; he noted that the sweet birch tree is also successful in urban settings and is used nearby on the west side of 10th Street, SW. The two vent structures in the courtyard would be enclosed with green screens; he presented illustrations of the proposed screens and said the plantings would be English laurel and various ivies. The walks would be broom–finished concrete, scored to match the existing concrete of the courtyard. Pole lights would provide general illumination at night.
Mr. Crump presented the proposed design for the pavilion. Its central atrium would rise eighteen feet from grade to the parapet; the east and west entry vestibules would be several feet lower, with the elevator overrun contained within the east vestibule and aligned with its parapet. The top of the vestibules would align with a horizontal mullion of the atrium, providing a datum around the pavilion at the fifteen–foot height. The pavilion would be a simple structure of white–painted steel columns supporting steel beams; the 4.5–foot–wide module would relate to the existing 27'–9" grid of L'Enfant Plaza. At the top of the pavilion, a shadow box would conceal the structure; clear glass with a frit pattern would extend down to a metal closure panel at the base. He confirmed that the shadow box would have a glass face, placed three inches in front of a metal panel that would conceal the steel beam; the surface would therefore be perceived as glass. Gutters would be concealed within the valley of the roof, running through beams and within columns; drainage of the vestibule roofs would be concealed alongside the atrium edge.
Mr. Luebke requested further presentation of the design details, such as for the proposed frit pattern, as part of the final submission. Mr. Crump clarified that the frit pattern would be a white ceramic 20% dot pattern on the inside of the glass walls and roof of the atrium to provide solar control; the vestibule walls would be a clear high–performance glass. He noted that the proposed frit pattern is slightly exaggerated in the renderings for visibility. The horizontal glass joints would be contained within mullions; the vertical joints of the atrium would be butt–glazed. The metal parapet coping and all interior metal would be painted aluminum. He confirmed that the frit pattern would extend to the glass at the shadow box.
Mr. Freelon recalled the Commission's previous support for the simplification of the design and the comment that the detailing would be critical; he said that the proposed final design is successful in minimizing the impacts of details, and overall the project has improved. Mr. Schlossberg agreed that the building is now very elegant and attractive. He asked about signage, which is not shown in the submission; Mr. Cinkala responded that a signage plan has not yet been developed. Mr. Schlossberg cautioned that signage has the potential to detract from the building's appearance, and requested further information on this issue. He also asked about lighting of the pavilion; Mr. Crump responded that the interior lighting of the pavilion would be subtle and even, and the frit pattern on the glass would further diffuse the exterior appearance of the lighting; light fixtures would be located on the interior columns and aimed toward the floor rather than the structure.
Mr. Schlossberg requested further information on the proposed vent enclosures. Mr. Crump responded that the detail drawings are not included in the presentation, but the enclosures appear in the perspective views. Mr. Schlossberg offered general support for the design intention and suggested that the green screens have flowering plants that would be a positive addition to the landscape, rather than merely being neutral elements. Mr. Crump confirmed that the proposed design includes a wire mesh that would support ivy, placed six to eight inches beyond the metal vents; he agreed to include flowering plants.
Mr. Rybczynski said that the project has improved significantly; he summarized the consensus of the Commission to support the proposal. Upon a motion by Mr. Freelon with second by Mr. Schlossberg, the Commission approved the submission.
Southwest Waterfront Development (Previous: CFA 19/JAN/12–4 to 17, Master Plan.)
D. District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs—Shipstead–Luce Act (continued)
2. SL 12– 081, 900 Water Street, SW (Parcel 2). New residential and theater building. Concept.
3. SL 12– 088, 800 Water Street, SW (Parcel 3a). New office building. Concept.
4. SL 12– 089, 850 Water Street, SW (Parcel 3b). New hotel building. Concept.
E. District of Columbia Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development / Hoffman–Madison Waterfront, LLC
CFA 17/MAY/12–4, Southwest Waterfront Development public spaces and landscapes associated with Parcels 2, 3a, and 3b, District Pier, and Transit Pier. Concept. (Previous: CFA 19/JAN/12–4 to 17, Master Plan.)
Ms. Batcheler introduced the joint presentation of several submissions for the Southwest waterfront, part of the redevelopment project named "The Wharf" that was reviewed as a master plan in January 2012. The current submissions include three buildings submitted as private–sector projects under the Shipstead–Luce Act, and the adjoining public spaces and piers submitted as a D.C. government project. She asked project director Shawn Seaman of Hoffman–Madison Waterfront, the overall developer of The Wharf and of some of the individual buildings, to begin the presentation.
Mr. Seaman described the components of the presentation. He introduced architect Stan Eckstut of Perkins Eastman / EE&K, the master planner for the project and the lead designer for the residential portion of Parcel 2; he said that Mr. Eckstut would also present the music hall on Parcel 2 and the office building on Parcel 3a, both designed by other firms. He also introduced architect Greg Cranford of BBG/BBBM for the presentation of the proposed hotel on Parcel 3b. He added that the remainder of the development's first phase would soon be submitted for the Commission's review.
Parcel 2 and adjacent spaces
Mr. Eckstut presented Parcel 2 and described some of the general features of the adjoining public spaces. He said that one of the project's overall goals has been to integrate the ground floors of buildings with the public spaces to form a complete pedestrian experience. As an example, the Maine Avenue approach to the District Pier would provide animation to the ground level of Parcel 2; the public space would be made distinctive by the variety of buildings facing it. He emphasized that the south corner of Parcel 2 has received particular design attention, helping to frame the public space at the District Pier that would be large enough to stage many different events and would effectively serve as a town square for Washington; the space is named the Civic Commons.
Mr. Eckstut noted the large size of Parcel 2 and said that each side would be treated differently; the parts would be joined together by the music hall, located in the middle of the parcel with a primary entrance facing the waterfront. He said that Theater Alley on the northwest side of the parcel, including the loading dock, would be an event in itself. An adjacent area would serve temporarily as parking, and he indicated the entrance ramp to the proposed below–grade parking garage. He confirmed that this ramp was previously shown within the Parcel 2 building but is now shown across the alley to be more removed from Maine Avenue, in response to the Commission's previous concern.
Mr. Eckstut indicated the vehicular cul–de–sac at the waterfront end of the Theater Alley that would be a major place of arrival to the music hall, the wharf, and the Transit Pier. He said the planning for the water itself envisions performance barges and commercial ships that would dock at the District Pier, which would serve to connect the city with the water traffic. He indicated the vehicular and pedestrian circulation patterns, including vehicular drop–off locations, and explained that the development would offer a pedestrian environment with no curbs. He indicated the pedestrian route from the below–grade parking, ascending through the vertical circulation within the Pierhouse that would be centered within the District Pier. He emphasized that Maine Avenue would remain the most important street in the Southwest neighborhood; the District Pier would connect Maine Avenue with the water, while the Transit Pier would relate to the wharf and the music hall's lobby. The project would also include some improvements to the market pier, continuing to allow for boat access.
Mr. Eckstut presented the plans and elevations for the proposed building on Parcel 2. He said that the exterior has been redesigned in response to comments from the Commission and others that the architectural expression needed to be toned down and given appropriate scale. Special architectural treatment is given to entrances and corners, where important uses will be located. A multi–story co–generation power plant, providing power for all Phase 1 buildings, would be located at the corner of Maine Avenue and Theater Alley. The south corner would have the main entrance to the music hall facing the water, with adjacent retail and club space; the lobby would be three to four stories high with a series of projecting balconies. The frontage of Parcel 2 facing the District Pier would be lined with retail food and beverage establishments. The residential portions of Parcel 2 would be entered through a single main lobby, and other secondary lobbies would open off of the District Pier and Theater Alley; a secondary entrance to the music hall would be located along Maine Avenue, next to the main residential lobby. Above the music hall is a roof landscape, designed by Warren Byrd, that would be a raised lawn designed for large events surrounded by small event pavilions; a series of rain gardens would be planted with local species. Some apartments would have private terraces, and a swimming pool would be located near the club and bar. Mr. Rybczynski and Mr. Freelon asked whether the roof features would be for residential or public use. Mr. Seaman responded that the roof area is an amenity for the apartments; the public bars and restaurants would be in the levels below.
Mr. Eckstut described the facade modifications to Parcel 2 in further detail. In moderating the architectural expressiveness, the implied character of numerous abutting buildings has been modified to provide a limited number of repeated motifs; the intention is to create continuity around the block while giving each elevation a different character. He noted the Commission's previous comment that many of the design elements competed with the music hall entrance, the feature that deserves the most emphasis. He said that the design uses a "waterfront" architectural style, using larger windows for the big spaces that would look out toward the river; the bases of the buildings have been designed to provide human scale, using less invention throughout the building and treating the elevations almost as a series of background elements to emphasize the music hall entrance and the other buildings. He added that the material palette has been simplified: only two types of brick will be used, and all of the red brick on the elevations would be the same color.
Mr. Eckstut said that along the Civic Commons, the scale is broken down with more vertical elements and multiple building facades. The waterside arrival of visitors entering the Civic Commons is marked by the corner tower element on Parcel 2; this tower and the other corner elements of the parcel would serve to frame the view corridor from nearby Banneker Overlook, with special use of curtainwall facades on the corners to highlight the importance of this view. He added that an additional design goal is to develop a common family of architectural languages that would be used for all buildings in The Wharf. He confirmed that the lower part of the tower would contain apartments, while the upper part would contain unoccupied mechanical space. He said the composition of the long Maine Avenue elevation of Parcel 2 has been simplified by focusing on the entrance. The base has been lowered to the same scale used on other buildings around the District Pier and the co–generation plant has been treated in the style of an industrial building or warehouse, using the same materials as previously presented but in a simpler, more straightforward manner.
Mr. Eckstut presented the proposed design for the entrance to the music hall, designed by the Rockwell Group. It features a grand classical portico, an intentional overlay of federal Washington architecture; however, the portico would be designed with a spirit of rebellion suggestive of the contemporary popular music that would be performed here. He compared the design to the previously submitted version, which he said was too similar to a sports arena entrance and did not have a character appropriate for Washington. He described the proposal as a "fun" adaptation of the familiar classical portico, using oversized 75–foot–tall columns—comparable to those inside the National Building Museum—with a seven–foot diameter at the base. The columns would be placed on a circular plan radiating from the lobby, and the center of the portico would be aligned with the Banneker Overlook view corridor; he said that visitors looking out from the lobby through the portico would have a clear view of the waterfront. The finish of the columns would be either metal or formed concrete with a rough surface; the capitals, an abstraction of an Ionic capital, would probably be made of riveted steel plates. Projecting between the columns at different levels would be a series of angular balconies with glass rails bearing images of theater bunting. The balcony floors would be constructed of cast iron and cast glass, comparable to sidewalk vaults; they would glow from above in daylight and would be underlit at night. He emphasized that the portico would make the building feel like part of Washington without being yet another federal portico; he called this feature an important advance in the design and a strong marker for the anchor building of the wharf.
Mr. Eckstut said that Theater Alley would have comparatively less pedestrian activity. Little space is available to step back the facade along this alley; the base would be maintained at around three stories and would support a series of vertical elements. The design would therefore focus attention on the Civic Commons, the central part of the District Pier. He said that the material palette along Theater Alley would again be simple: two kinds of brick with precast concrete used for highlights; dark metal mullions; and non–reflective glass that is tinted for solar control.
Mr. Eckstut next presented the office building proposed for Parcel 3a. He noted the Commission's previous concern that the design was too busy for an office building and would detract from the larger development by drawing too much attention to itself. He said that the north corner of the building—at Maine Avenue and the entrance to the District Pier—would protrude, like a prow moving through the water, to mark an important entrance to the waterfront and give views of the water. The base would be simple, and the busy character of the roofline has been eliminated. He described the floor plan: the office entrance on Maine Avenue; retail facing the District Pier and wrapping around the mews; and a service entrance toward the middle of the mews frontage, opposite the service entrance of the hotel building. The most important elevation, along Maine Avenue, would be treated in a straightforward manner with the exception of the special articulation of the north corner. The west corner facing the District Pier and the adjacent hotel would be marked with a simple tower, relating to the hotel design. Materials would include one type of brick and several different treatments of limestone in dark colors, as well as light metal, clear glass, and a light spandrel glass.
Mr. Cranford of BBG/BBBM presented the design of the hotel proposed for Parcel 3b. He said that the design goal is to create a series of architectural events on the building that are scaled to break down its mass. The site at the intersection of the wharf and the District Pier allows the hotel to create a gateway into the development through the device of an iconic clock tower. He noted the Commission's previous concern with the height of the clock tower; this has now been reduced by approximately half a floor to project seven feet above the mechanical space, and its overall design has been simplified. The base of the tower has been unified using a palette that includes zinc–gray metal panels at the detached windows, which will create "glazing zones" along the waterfront and wrapping the smaller retail spaces along the street. A smaller tower on the southeast would mark the hotel entrance, facing an open space named the Yacht Club Piazza.
Mr. Cranford described how the elevations have been simplified, while the building would retain a diversity of massing. Materials would include a red brick reminiscent of warehouse construction, and terra cotta panels would help to define the corners of the towers. The two–story base would be a thermal–finish granite, also reminiscent of warehouse materials, and a gray metal that will also appear in the towers, fascias, balconies, and storefronts. The hotel entrance would be a simplified granite volume that continues the color and scale of the metal–clad base of the building. Overhangs would create a consistent rhythm, and projecting storefronts would accommodate waterfront restaurants. The hotel would have eight floors of guestrooms, expressed on the facade as stacked two–story modules with an asymmetrical balcony to give the hotel a residential scale along with monumentality. A bridge would link to the adjacent parcel at either the second or third floor. The building's top floor would include event space, a lap pool behind the monumental letters of a sign for the hotel, a penthouse with a balcony, and a green roof. A large white metal arch would define the entrance to the mews alongside the building, and retail frontage would be provided along the mews at the corners; he added that the mews would be a functional part of the design, with loading docks and office windows.
Public Spaces and Landscapes Associated with Parcels 2, 3a, and 3b
Mr. Eckstut began the presentation of the public spaces and landscapes by discussing the wharf as a continuous element that would connect all of the project's parts. He described the changes since the previous review: a carefully developed design for wood fendering along the water and further development of the paving design. He said that the graphics of the public spaces have been removed from the current submission; this component is being refined and will be submitted for future review.
Mr. Eckstut said the main paving element along the wharf would be stone, varying by type, size, and pattern. The wood edge along the waterfront would function as both railing and seat, allowing people to sit facing the water or the wharf, similar to the treatment of such elements in cities with historically active waterfronts such as Copenhagen. The recessed base of the wood edge would allow for lighting that would wash the ground surface at night and emphasize the wharf edge. A series of vertical masts would stand along the waterfront, with blue maritime lights on every fourth mast.
Mr. Eckstut said the waterfront would be a pedestrian area; vehicles would be given clear indications of where they can go through subtle changes in the color and texture of stone paving. The continuous promenade along the waterfront would include a 20–foot–wide middle zone with rougher stone used for the through–traffic lane and for parking; a drop–off lane and a cafe seating are would also be defined. Pedestrian crossings would be made of smaller stone blocks set in a fan pattern. The promenade along the cafes would have continuous paving of smooth stones laid in common bond. A continuous metal stormwater grill would eliminate the need for multiple drains and manholes.
Mr. Eckstut described additional features of the public spaces, adding that the intention is to take advantage of every square foot of space. Along the promenade, small pavilions are proposed for vendors; the structures would be 10 feet to 13'–8" high and approximately 12 feet long, perhaps arranged in groups, and would be placed outside of important view corridors. He said the pavilions would not extend along more than ten percent of the frontage.
Mr. Eckstut described the Transit Pier design: the pier would use the same materials as the wharf except at the area of the Transit Pavilion, which would have wood paving and steps leading down to the deck and to the theater stage. The pavilion would be a light structure of glass and wood with a variety of steps and bleacher seating, designed to encourage people to walk up to the second level.
Mr. Eckstut described the District Pier, which he said would be the most important place on the waterfront and would be the location where ships from around the world would dock. The pier would have a variety of elements, including the Pierhouse joining the city to the water. He said this structure would recall the traditional pier warehouse building but would be a lighter structure and would contain a cafe. The material would be local Carderock stone that would also be used throughout the project for the bases of columns and other elements. Metal arches would establish a civic presence toward Maine Avenue, serving to define the pedestrian passage area.
Mr. Eckstut presented the revised design for the District Pier structure and sign at Maine Avenue. He acknowledged that the previous design was heavy and resembled a gantry; the current proposal is a thinner, taller, more transparent design that would use conventional modern details rather than recreating a historical style. A cafe would be located within a lower building with a green roof and a simpler palette of stone and black metal, with a glassed–in area that could be opened in good weather; he added that the cafe would provide a more animated element.
Mr. Eckstut described the treatment of the District Pier extending into the water, intended as a space for events and celebrations. Posts along the pier, with Carderock stone at the base, would provide a sense of civic scale and would accommodate light and sound systems; the posts would be fifty feet tall, spaced at sixty–foot intervals. At the end of the District Pier would be the dock master's building.
Mr. Eckstut concluded by described the proposed streetscape along Maine Avenue, which would be designed to look like a normal Washington thoroughfare through the use of street trees and the addition of a bicycle lane. Paving that is typical of the wharf would be extended to Maine Avenue to emphasize the proximity of the waterfront.
At this point the Commission recessed for lunch, deferring its discussion of the project until the afternoon session. During the recess, Mr. Luebke departed the meeting due to scheduled presentations at the annual American Institute of Architects convention; Mr. Lindstrom represented the staff for the remainder of the meeting.
Upon the resumption of the meeting, Chairman Powell began by offering support for the progress that has been made in simplification of the project. He asked the Commission members to provide comments on each of the submitted components in the order of their presentation.
Discussion of Parcel 2
Mr. Freelon agreed that simplification of the building on Parcel 2 has been a move in the right direction but he expressed concern with the proposed columns at the entrance to the music hall; although their color has been toned down, he said that the introduction of a classical vocabulary into this composition is questionable. He also commented that the design still has too many conflicting geometries and motifs. Mr. Powell agreed, emphasizing that simplification of the elevations was a positive move, but said that the proposed columns are a cliché—as though the south portico of the White House had been moved to the waterfront. He expressed appreciation for the attempt to refer to the classical architectural heritage of Washington—and also for the need to create an identity for the theater—but said that the proposed design may have gone too far.
Mr. Schlossberg said he was impressed with the plan of Parcel 2, placing the theater in the center with other uses built up around it; he called it an elegant and interesting array of functions. Although the idea of the building was solid, he expressed concern with how it meets the ground and said that pedestrian access does not seem central to the experience. He commented that too many of the design gestures are too high on the elevations, with most people experiencing the waterfront at ground level; especially in this building, the ground–level experience has not been given enough attention. He emphasized that the project would benefit if the design were considered from this perspective; although the design of the public spaces reflects attention to how people will move around, the building designs do not support this effort. He said that the clarity of the building's several components should be articulated at the ground level.
Mr. Rybczynski supported the emphasis on the entrance to the music hall, which is a special use deserving special treatment. He commented that, as a non–Washingtonian, he is not insulted by the columns but suggested treating them in a lighter, wittier manner, rather than with the big and heavy character that was presented. Mr. Powell clarified that he had not objected to the columns as insulting but thought they appeared to be more of a cliché than an architectural solution; he said that referencing Washington's architectural past could be a worthwhile direction to follow.
Mr. Rybczynski agreed that the planning of the building is logical, even inevitable, in response to the size of Parcel 2 and the proposed uses. He commented that the design of such a large building can follow either of two strategies: either break up the mass and make it look like many small buildings—a faux strategy which most modern architects don't like to follow—or design it as a large unified composition. He commented that this design is trying to do both: the architecture suggests several different buildings with motifs repeated in an attempt to unify it. He recommended a more clear choice of which strategy to follow. If designed as a large building, he said that the first two floors—what people would see most closely—should be special and playful; the treatment of the building's upper part is less important because the building will not typically be seen from the water, the view illustrated in the presentation. He added that this comment applies to all of the buildings which were presented—each is torn between trying to be unified and trying to break up the mass, which can only be achieved with a firm decision to design a building to look like several different buildings.
Chairman Powell summarized the consensus of the Commission to provide this guidance for further development of the design, rather than taking a formal vote on the Parcel 2 proposal.
Discussion of Parcel 3a
Mr. Freelon commented that the design refinements show more promise for Parcel 3a than for Parcel 2—the planning principles on Parcel 3a are clear and work well. He said that the treatment of the canopies varies too much around the building, suggesting more unity among them. Mr. Powell commented that the design had improved since the last submission, although he still finds it eclectic and complicated. Mr. Schlossberg reiterated the advice to treat the street level with more texture while eliminating some of the complexity in the upper portion of the building. He offered the example of buildings in New York's Soho, where the street–level expression seems intentional rather than decorative.
Mr. Rybczynski observed that the project renderings typically show other buildings in the background as black and white, making a particular building appear to be a foreground structure; in reality, all of the buildings will exist together. He expressed concern that each building would have such an active design that it would cancel out its neighbors and, more importantly, cancel out the ground plane which is the strongest part of the project. He observed that each building is being described as iconic and unique, but in fact they are not and should not be: a hotel is just a hotel, not an icon; only the District Pier should be iconic. He recommended that the design be calmed further so that the buildings won't compete with each other; Mr. Powell agreed.
Mr. Schlossberg commented that all the buildings are obviously discrete but still interdependent, and all of the pieces of the project therefore need to be orchestrated. Mr. Eckstut responded that the project team is intending to design the buildings as an ensemble rather than as separate buildings. Mr. Schlossberg clarified that he was not recommending against treating the buildings as individual designs, but was emphasizing that a design gesture made on one building would affect the others.
Chairman Powell said that the underlying theme is the need to knit the disparate pieces together. Mr. Lindstrom noted the consensus of the Commission to request a resubmission of the office building proposal after further development of the design.
Discussion of Parcel 3b
Mr. Powell commented that the design has improved but the proposal is difficult to understand when presented against a white background. Mr. Freelon said that the design is moving in the right direction and recommended continued simplification. He observed that the proposal includes four different canopy treatments within a span of 150 feet, as well as the arch leading into the mews, and commented that this was a lost opportunity to unify the design. He questioned the decision to use terra cotta and brick near each other on this building because they come from the same family of materials and are virtually the same color.
Mr. Schlossberg observed that the clock tower would be a distraction that does not benefit the building, commenting that the design would be more coherent without it. He said that the mews would be beautiful without the white arch, which looks like a trailer hitch instead of an expression of the space inside. He agreed that simplification of the canopies would be beneficial, emphasizing that having the buildings meet the street well will be key to the success of The Wharf.
Mr. Rybczynski agreed that the clock tower does not add anything to the design. He also criticized the proposed lettering at the roofline, which he said makes the building look like a commercial project on this important; he added that this feature may also conflict with Washington sign regulations. Mr. Seaman responded that the sign would be problematic under current regulations but the developer is working with the D.C. government to obtain a waiver of sign regulations for The Wharf, as was previously done for Gallery Place.
Mr. Rybczynski said he sympathized with the concern that the hotel might look like a bureaucratic office building, and agreed with the desire to have it appear appropriate for a recreational waterside project. However, he said that the rooftop sign would go too far—it is both too commercial and too emblematic of a sign, and it needs to be more subtle. He concluded by offering support for the design direction of the structures facing the water.
Discussion of Public Spaces
Mr. Freelon commented that the variety in the materials palette works well, and he offered support for the proposed patterning and the subtle changes to colors and textures; visitors would be able to perceive these changes at a pedestrian scale, making for a pleasing experience. However, he expressed concern with the large, heavy–handed treatment of the letters at the Maine Avenue end of the District Pier; he added that this may relate to the regulatory issue of the signage on the hotel. Mr. Seaman asked whether, if the regulatory waiver were obtained, the Commission would consider a similar but smaller sign, or would recommend no sign at all to signify the major entrance to the project area. Mr. Freelon said he would recommend a smaller sign. Chairman Powell said some kind of sign could be acceptable, but support for a large sign would be unlikely; he questioned the need for something as large as the proposed sign for the District Pier.
Mr. Freelon asked if the masts along the District Pier are now shown smaller than previously submitted; Mr. Eckstut responded that they are now fifty feet high, reduced from sixty, adding that the thickness of the steel parts has also been reduced to result in a lighter structure. Mr. Freelon expressed support for these changes. Mr. Powell said that many of the design modifications are positive, commenting that the mews would be a beautiful space, but said that the proposed arch at the mews entrance would be too theatrical.
Mr. Schlossberg commented that the structure referred to as the Pierhouse, located within the land portion of the District Pier, is too high and too large; the stone, wood, and other details are fighting with the proposed height. He suggested that it be only about thirty feet high to give the intimacy needed for this social space. He said that the scale of the proposed large letters also fights this sense of creating a social place and marketplace whose success will depend on whether people want to gather there. He added that the effort to use all parts of the project site, as described in the presentation, would make that popular appeal difficult to achieve; as noted in the previous review, he recommended introducing fabric or other soft materials to recall sails, to add color, and to make the pier look like a pier rather than a symbolic representation of one. He observed that plants and trees are not typical of piers, whereas fabrics and banners are. He reiterated the recommendation that this structure be lower and softer, adding that it is the lowness of spaces situated on rivers or bodies of water that makes them appealing, and these changes would improve the design dramatically.
Mr. Rybczynski agreed that the renderings present compelling images of the feeling of the development. He said that the design may include too much street furniture and other features, observing that New York's Battery Park City has only benches and a walk—all that is needed with a view of water, a powerful thing in itself. He also recommended treating the buildings as background elements for life at the waterside, as they are sometimes drawn; he said that their ghosted white representation in the renderings gives the appearance of Miami Beach, which has the simple design quality of the beach and the white background wall of buildings.
Mr. Eckstut clarified that the height of the Pierhouse was originally 40 feet; it had been reduced to 35 and then again to 22 feet. He said that a further height reduction was considered, but the concern was that this would detract from its graceful civic quality. Mr. Schlossberg questioned whether the height is shown correctly in the renderings in comparison to the scale of the people. Mr. Eckstut said that the size of the people may be drawn incorrectly, and he indicated other renderings which should have the right scale relationships. Mr. Schlossberg reiterated that the other renderings still give the wrong impression of the height. Mr. Eckstut emphasized that the design team has attempted to respond to this issue and has tried to achieve the sense of an intimate space by lowering the structure and letting trees grow through its frame. He noted the struggle to balance the urban and maritime images in this area, intending it as a place where they could exist together. The end of the District Pier is treated more urbanistically; he acknowledged that the pier image may be the most appropriate for this location. He also acknowledged the Commission's concern with overdevelopment of the public space in this area, a perception that may be resulting from incorrect representation in the renderings.
Chairman Powell acknowledged the design effort and said that the Commission looks forward to seeing further development of the design. Mr. Eckstut asked if the Commission supports the design for the wharf, including the paving and fendering. Mr. Schlossberg said that some of the design elements are good, but emphasized the need to consider the human scale and the way the buildings would work at the pedestrian level; he reiterated that these issues would be critical to making this project work. The discussion concluded without a formal action.
F. D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
CFA 17 MAY/12–5, Square 50 (Fire and Engine Company No. 1), 23rd and M Streets, NW. New mixed–use building with commercial space, residential units, and fire station. Concept—revised design. (Previous: CFA 20/OCT/11–7.) Mr. Lindstrom introduced the submission for a mixed–use building that would include a D.C. fire station; he noted that the proposal is a revision of the previous submission that was presented to the Commission in October 2011. He asked Christopher Glass of TEN Arquitectos to present the design.
Mr. Glass described the context and program for the building, noting that not all of the Commission members present had seen the previous presentation. He presented several of the massing studies prepared in the search for an appropriate solution to this complicated program: underground parking; a firehouse on the first and second floors, a multi–level squash club on the middle floors, and apartments on the fifth through ninth floors as well as a portion of the fourth floor. He emphasized that the goal has been to make the design cleaner and simpler than in the initial submission. He said that the squash club space has been extended into a portion of the fourth floor, and another residential story had been added to the top of the building.
Mr. Glass described the response to the Commission's previous review. He noted the Commission's comment that the residential block appeared corporate rather than residential, and that its facade was too vertically oriented in comparison with the other parts of the building. In response, the current submission has a simpler design of punched windows that breaks down the elevation, with windows removed from the apartment facades where feasible in order to provide increased visual interest. The upper floors have been set back from the north property line in order to provide greater clarity of the residential volume and avoid the appearance of crowding the neighboring building. The cantilevering of the upper volume has been reduced to provide a less aggressive character to the building volumes. He added that the configuration of the fourth floor was studied further in response to the Commission's comment that the recessing of this floor created too much of a break between the building volumes. Eliminating the recess altogether was an unsatisfactory response: the upper residential volume resting directly on the squash club volume made the building appear too heavy. The revised articulation of the fourth floor in the current proposal is consistent with the shift of some parts of the squash club into this level.
Mr. Glass described the elevations in further detail. The west elevation of the squash club volume has not been changed substantially, remaining essentially a solid wall because squash courts do not require daylight. The west facade of the two–story firehouse would be a curtainwall with either frosted or back–painted glass to provide the interior spaces with some natural light while screening the firehouse functions from street–level views, as requested by the fire department. He added that this wall will glow at night and provide a sense of transparency. He indicated the proposed projecting canopy above the first floor, aligned with the overhang of the third floor, that would provide protection for people entering the building and would relate the building volume to the pedestrian scale of the street. The green roof on the firehouse would partially project in front of the squash club volume. He said that the projecting beams on the penthouse that had expressed the form of the cantilever would now be integrated into the penthouse block.
Mr. Glass described the proposed materials: a perforated red metal for the firehouse; a dimpled aluminum panel for the squash court volume; a white fiber–cement rain–screen panel on the primary residential facade; and perforated aluminum on the penthouse to accommodate a variety of louvers. He added that the mechanical equipment has been pulled inside the penthouse, which has been integrated as two simple volumes that will slip past each other. He presented the streetscape plan, indicating the revised configuration of planting areas and utility vaults that would improve pedestrian circulation and provide more sidewalk space near the entrances.
Mr. Rybczynski asked about the use of the roof areas above the protruding volumes. Mr. Glass responded that the roof above the firehouse trucks would be planted but would not be occupiable; the roof above the third–floor squash club would be an occupiable terrace that would be available to users of the club.
Mr. Freelon offered strong support for the proposal, commenting that the development of the design has been an improvement and the proportions are now appropriate. Mr. Powell supported the proposal and complimented the presentation. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Schlossberg, the Commission approved the concept design.
G. Department of the Treasury / U.S. Mint
Mr. Simon introduced Ron Harrigal, acting chief engraver of the U.S. Mint, to present alternative designs for four Congressional gold medals and a commemorative coin. Mr. Harrigal provided two examples of recent Congressional gold medals and coins for the Commission's inspection: the medal for Navajo code talkers, the forerunner of the medals currently proposed; and the Star Spangled Banner silver dollar. He noted that their sizes match the size of the medals and coin being proposed.
1. CFA 17/MAY/12–6, Congressional Gold Medals of Honor for the Native American code talkers of World War I and World War II. Designs for four gold medals (with silver and bronze duplicates) for the Comanche Nation, Kiowa Tribe, Santee Dakota Sioux Tribe, and Tlingit Tribe. Final. (Previous: CFA 17/May/01–2, Navajo Code Talkers Congressional Gold Medal.) Mr. Harrigal summarized the legislative authority to issue medals recognizing the dedication and valor of the Native American code talkers of the U.S. military during World Wars I and II. The Navajo code talkers were recognized with a previous medal authorized in 200; twenty–two additional Native American tribes have been identified as providing code talkers, and a gold medal will be struck for each tribe. A silver duplicate medal will be awarded to each individual code talker or the next of kin, and bronze duplicates will be offered for sale at two sizes. He noted that the number of tribes being honored may increase with further research. Mr. Powell asked about the number of code talkers; Mr. Harrigal responded that there were several hundred.
Mr. Harrigal said that the medal designs are being coordinated with the U.S. Army Center of Military History, which was designated by the Department of Defense as the liaison to review the accuracy of uniforms and other elements. In February, the Mint's Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) considered a proposed concept of designing these medals using a unique obverse for each tribe and a common reverse based on military service; instead, the CCAC recommended a unique obverse and reverse for each tribe. The Mint now proposes that the obverse would commend military service and the reverse would represent each tribe. He added that the legislation does not require any specific inscriptions; the Mint proposes that the obverses be inscribed with the tribe name, the phrase "Code Talkers," and perhaps a phrase in the tribe's language, and the reverse would have the phrases "Act of Congress 2008" and "World War I" or "World War II" as appropriate. He introduced attorney John Plata of Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker to speak on behalf of the Comanche Nation and the Kiowa Tribe. Mr. Plata said that the descendants of the code talkers have been working closely with the Mint and CCAC to refine the designs and choose preferred alternatives.
Mr. Harrigal presented design alternatives for the Comanche Nation medal. The three obverse alternatives are based on the Comanche Codetalker Memorial, a sculpture located at the Comanche Nation Headquarters near Lawton, Oklahoma, and feature the inscription of the tribe name in the native language and in English; he said that the Comanche Nation prefers obverse #2. The two reverse alternatives are based on the Comanche Nation's emblem depicting a horse and rider, symbolizing the fighting skill of the Comanche; flanking the horse and rider are the insignia of the 90th Infantry Division from World War I and the Fourth Infantry Division from World War II, the emblems worn by the Comanche code talkers. Inscriptions include "Honor Dedication Valor" on reverse #1 and, on reverse #2, an inscription in the native language which he said translates approximately as "soldiers talking on phones made of metal." He said that the Comanche Nation prefers reverse #2.
Mr. Schlossberg suggested deferring to the preferences of the Native American groups; Mr. Powell agreed. Mr. Schlossberg recommended that the two military insignias on the reverse be reduced in size to fit within the circular border, which he said would improve the overall design and the legibility of the insignias; Mr. Harrigal said that the CCAC had made the same recommendation. Mr. Schlossberg also questioned the legibility of the circular motif within the reverse depiction of the horse and rider—intended as a shield—and suggested eliminating it to improve the elegance and clarity of the design. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Schlossberg, the Commission recommended obverse #2 and reverse #2 for the Comanche Nation medal, subject to the comments provided.
Mr. Harrigal next presented design alternatives for the Kiowa Tribe medal. The two obverse alternatives have the inscriptions "Kiowa Tribe Code Talkers" and "689th Field Infantry, Europe." The tribe's preference is obverse #1, depicting a kneeling soldier using communications equipment. The three reverse alternatives all feature the Kiowa Tribe emblem with a warrior on horseback prepared for battle, surrounded by a ring of feathers representing sacred medicine bundles and with a buffalo head at the bottom symbolizing the Kiowas' dependence on this animal; the reverse inscriptions include the words "Dedication Honor Valor." Mr. Harrigal said reverse #2 differs slightly from #1 in its treatment of the buffalo head and #3 has a slightly different font. He also presented the actual tribe emblem and noted its use of color, which on a coin has to be represented through texture and finish. He said the Kiowa Tribe prefers obverse #1 and reverse #2.
Mr. Schlossberg commented that the two–textured background surrounding the buffalo head on reverse alternative #2 is difficult to understand and is a needless representation of contrasting colors from another medium; he recommended a single lighter–textured background. Mr. Freelon noted that the tribe members would be familiar with the graphic design of the tribe emblem; Mr. Schlossberg said that the vertical line dividing the background tones would nonetheless be confusing. Upon a motion by Mr. Schlossberg with second by Mr. Freelon, the Commission recommended the Kiowa Tribe's preferred alternatives of obverse #1 and reverse #2.
Mr. Harrigal presented design alternatives for the Santee Dakota Sioux Tribe medal. The two obverse alternatives depict a code talker and the inscriptions "Dwellers at Spirit Lake and Shooter Amongst the Leaves" in the native language, and the tribe name. Alternative #1, preferred by the tribe, includes a depiction of barbed wire representing the wartime threat faced by the soldier. The three reverse alternatives feature the tribe's emblem with varying degrees of stylization, depicting a bald eagle with outspread wings facing to the left and holding an arrow in its talons above a peace pipe. He said that the tribe prefers reverse #1 which most closely matches the emblem, while the CCAC recommended reverse #2 because of its more realistic depiction of the eagle; he added that the Mint is continuing to work with historians to obtain a better representation of the original emblem. Mr. Powell expressed support for reverse alternative #1, commenting that the odd representation of the eagle wings in alternative #2 gives the appearance of a three–headed bird; Mr. Schlossberg agreed. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Schlossberg, the Commission recommended obverse #1 and reverse #1.
Mr. Harrigal design alternatives for the Tlingit Tribe medal. The two obverse alternatives feature a kneeling Tlingit code talker, a rifle in one hand and a radio in the other, sending a coded message; three curved lines in front of the figure represent the transmission of radio waves. Alternative #1, preferred by the tribe, includes foliage to indicate that the soldier is in the field. The two reverse designs depict the whale headdress worn by the Killer Whale Clan in ceremonies, an iconic image for the Tlingit Tribe; reverse #2, preferred by the tribe, includes a circular pattern around the headdress. He added that the CCAC with both of the tribe's preferences but recommended a minor revision on reverse #2 to continue the circular element behind the feathers of the headdress. Mr. Schlossberg questioned the graphic feasibility of this change and recommended against it. He suggested supporting obverse #1 and the simpler design of reverse #1; Mr. Rybczynski agreed. Mr. Freelon said that reverse #2 would be preferable because its circular lines relate graphically to the parallel curves symbolizing radio waves on the obverse; Mr. Harrigal said that the CCAC had also supported this relationship of curved lines on each side of the medal. Mr. Powell supported acceptance of the tribe's preferences. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Freelon, the Commission recommended the Tlingit Tribe's preferred alternatives of obverse #1 and reverse #2.
Mr. Rybczynski noted the Commission's past concern that the Mint's submissions have included an excessive number of design alternatives; in contrast, the code talkers submission has an insufficient range of alternatives. Mr. Harrigal responded that the Native American groups were very specific about what they wanted on their medals, based on the many choices offered to them by the Mint. He said that the Mint would attempt to provide more alternatives for Commission review in future submissions of medals for this program.
2. CFA 17/MAY/12–7, 2013 Girl Scouts USA Centennial Commemorative Coin Program. Designs for a one–dollar silver coin. Final. Mr. Harrigal summarized the legislative authorization for a one–dollar silver commemorative coin honoring the centennial of the Girls Scouts. He asked Pamela Cruz, director of the Girl Scouts National Historic Preservation Center, to provide introductory remarks. Ms. Cruz described the artistic legacy of Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, which included designing the organization's symbol, the trefoil; she said Ms. Low would have been pleased at the presentation of the Girl Scouts coin to the Commission of Fine Arts. Ms. Cruz said the Girl Scouts have always sought diversity in their mission of helping girls acquire courage, confidence, and leadership abilities.
Mr. Harrigal described the required inscriptions for a coin and the various alternative inscriptions related to the Girl Scouts theme. He presented eleven design alternatives for the obverse, summarizing the subject matter of two or more girl scouts of diverse backgrounds involved in scientific pursuits or community projects, or proudly displaying their uniforms and insignia. He noted that many of the alternatives include some version of a girl scouts emblem—the historic trefoil design, the grouping of face profiles that was created in 1978, or the trefoil containing the numeral 100 in honor of the Girl Scouts centennial. He then presented the ten reverse alternatives, which focus on the Girl Scouts insignia singly or in combination. He noted that the preferences of the Girl Scouts USA are for obverse #8 and #9, and reverse #6 and #8.
Mr. Freelon expressed support for obverse #9, commenting that many other alternatives depict technologies or activities that could soon appear dated. Mr. Powell agreed that obverse #9 is a simple and elegant design. Mr. Freelon also supported reverse #6, depicting only the profile emblem, and commented that this modern image would provide a good contrast to obverse #9. Mr. Rybczynski asked about the significance of the profile emblem shown on reverse #6. Ms. Cruz responded that it is the Girl Scouts service mark, developed in 1978 as an adaptation of Juliette Gordon Low's historic trefoil emblem. Mr. Rybczynski asked if the profile emblem is used on a badge; Ms. Cruz responded that it is worn as a membership pin. Mr. Rybczynski supported reverse #10, depicting the historic trefoil, because of the composition and the emblem's historical interest; he commented that reverse #6 is unsuccessful because the third of the three silhouettes appears to be falling off the edge of the coin. Mr. Powell agreed. Ms. Cruz noted that the historic trefoil on reverse #10 is not the current emblem of the Girl Scouts, but all past Girl Scouts insignia remain forever valid; she cited Juliette Gordon Low's openness to risk–taking and new ideas while embracing the historic legacy.
Mr. Freelon reiterated his support for reverse #6, commenting that the use of the more contemporary emblem makes sense and citing the preference of the Girl Scouts for this design. Mr. Schlossberg noted that the combination of obverse #9 and reverse #6 would not include the words "Courage Confidence Character" as shown in many alternatives. Ms. Cruz responded that the Mint's Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) had recently recommended using these words in place of the phrase "100 Years of Girl Scouting" on obverse #9; Mr. Schlossberg supported this suggestion. Ms. Cruz said that the CCAC had also suggested replacing the historic trefoil under the three girl scouts with the centennial version of the trefoil, containing the numeral "100" in its center, and to replace the phrase "100 Years" on reverse #6 with the phrase "Girl Scouts." Mr. Schlossberg supported these changes. Mr. Harrigal confirmed the CCAC comments but said that the official CCAC letter is still being prepared.
Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Freelon, the Commission recommended obverse #9 and reverse #6 subject to the modifications that were discussed.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 3:12 p.m.
Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Last Modified: June 25, 2012