Meeting of the Commission of Fine Arts
21 March 2013
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 10:08 a.m.
A. Approval of the minutes of the 21 February meeting. Mr. Luebke reported that the minutes of the February meeting were circulated to the Commission members in advance. The Commission approved the minutes upon a motion by Mr. Powell. Mr. Luebke said that the minutes will be made available on the Commission's website and are also available in the Commission's offices.
B. Dates of next meetings. Mr. Luebke presented the regularly scheduled dates for upcoming Commission meetings: 18 April, 16 May, and 20 June 2013.
C. Report on the Charles Atherton Memorial Lecture and the Commission of Fine Arts centennial publication. Mr. Luebke reported the concluding work on the project marking the Commission's centennial in 2010. Printing was completed the previous week for the book on the agency's history, titled Civic Art: A Centennial History of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts; the bookbinding phase is forthcoming, and delivery of the books is anticipated for late April. Chairman Powell offered congratulations. Mr. Luebke noted that the book includes the topics addressed in the centennial symposium held in May 2010, along with staff research on the Commission's work. A public presentation by Mr. Luebke on the book is scheduled for the evening of 15 May at the National Building Museum, part of the Charles Atherton Memorial Lecture Program that honors the Commission's long–serving Secretary.
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 said that there were no changes to the draft appendix. Upon a motion by Ms. Plater–Zyberk with second by Mr. Powell, the Commission approved the Direct Submission Consent Calendar. Mr. Luebke noted the standard procedure that Commission members may make an advance request for the presentation of any project that is listed on the Consent Calendar.
Appendix II – Shipstead–Luce Act Submissions: Ms. Batcheler reported the changes to the draft appendix. Three projects have tentative updated recommendations based on ongoing coordination with the applicants, and she requested authorization to finalize these recommendations upon receipt of the anticipated drawings (case numbers SL 13–049, 13–051, and 13–055). She added that the listing for the CVS sign project (13–051) will be corrected to note its location at the Watergate West building. Upon a motion by Ms. Plater–Zyberk with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the revised appendix.
Appendix III – Old Georgetown Act Submissions: Mr. Martinez reported several changes to the draft appendix. Three cases were removed at the request of the applicants and will be revised for further review by the Old Georgetown Board. Removal of an additional case is anticipated, but it remains on the appendix pending receipt of a written request for withdrawal. Other recommendations have been updated to note the receipt of supplemental drawings. Upon a motion by Mr. Freelon with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the revised appendix. Mr. Luebke noted that the recommendations on the appendix would be forwarded to the D.C. government.
At this point, the Commission departed from the order of the agenda to consider the submission for the Justice Park Apartments.
F. D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
CFA 21/MAR/13–7, Justice Park Apartments, 1421 Euclid Street, NW. New multi–unit residential building. Final. Mr. Luebke said that the Commission may want to act on this submission without a presentation, noting that the project is too large for inclusion on the Direct Submission Consent Calendar. He said that the staff generally supports the design, with the suggestion that small windows be added to the interior corridors along the east elevation. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Ms. Plater–Zyberk, the Commission approved the project and delegated further review to the staff.
The Commission returned to the order of the agenda with item II.B.
B. National Park Service
CFA 21/MAR/13–1, National Mall. Center lawn panels (#18 through 26) between 7th and 14th Streets. Phases II and III, reconstruction of the turf and soil, and installation of an irrigation system and new granite curbs and gutters. Final. (Previous: CFA 20/SEP/12– 2.) Mr. Luebke introduced the proposed final design for the reconstruction of lawn panels on the National Mall between 7th and 14th Streets. He noted that the first phase of reconstruction, for the lawn panels between 3rd and 7th Streets, had been approved by the Commission in November 2010; this work was completed in fall 2012 and appears to be a successful project. The proposal for 7th to 14th Streets was presented three times in 2012; in September, the Commission had approved a concept which included two wider crossings of the Mall with significant paved areas to the sides of the lawn panels as the best compromise to accommodate programming. The Commission had also recommended further reduction in the amount of paving, if possible, along with resolution of management issues to create greater control over staging and the implementation of a limit on the size and location of temporary structures; he noted that the National Park Service has been developing a new management plan. He said that the current proposal does not propose further reduction in the amount of paved areas, and the Commission staff remains concerned about the total width of almost 200 feet of pavement at 7th Street; he acknowledged that the design also has many successful aspects. He asked Peter May of the Park Service to begin the presentation; Mr. May introduced Bob Vogel, the superintendent of the National Mall & Memorial Parks.
Mr. Vogel cited the Mall reconstruction project as one of the most important elements of the National Mall Plan. He said that the completed first phase features engineered soil, new cisterns, a new irrigation system, and new grass that should grow well in this climate and withstand heavy visitor use; the challenge now is to maintain the Mall's improved appearance. He noted that the Mall will always need to accommodate large rallies and major national events, such as the recent presidential inauguration, and said that the National Park Service is creating a national model for managing an urban landscape. An order recently issued by the Secretary of the Interior provides the authority to turn down inappropriate uses. Another tool being developed is the extensive Mall Turf Operations and Maintenance Manual, which will provide clear guidance on turf management and the stringent conditions for permits including new procedures for cost recovery. He said that commitments have been received from key partners on reconfiguring major events, such as the Smithsonian Institution for the National Folklife Festival. He emphasized the change to the tradition of using the National Mall for any event at any time without thought to the consequences; even protest events will not be allowed to damage the Mall, and sponsors will have to move activities to hard surfaces when necessary.
Mr. Vogel said that the viability of this complex management plan requires that the Mall have some amount of hardscape. The proposed design is intended to address the Commission's request to do everything possible to reduce the amount of paving and to limit the size and location of temporary structures; he emphasized that the current proposal includes the minimum amount of hardscape necessary to balance all the needs of the Mall while maintaining the integrity of this important landscape. He said that the planned limitations on placing tents and other structures on turf will present a real challenge for many large events, but even these can be accommodated if sponsors are willing to compromise and to plan creatively. He added that Madison and Jefferson Drives would also be used to accommodate large events. He thanked the Commission for its time and support, and introduced Suzette Goldstein of HOK to present the design.
Ms. Goldstein said that the project had been initiated because of the long–term "deplorable" condition of the Mall, which was caused by many factors: soil compaction, poor drainage, dust from gravel sidewalks, and tents being left too long on the turf. She said that the completion of Phase I from 3rd to 14th Streets has resulted in an elegant green landscape of lawn panels defined by granite curbs which include integral drains. Beneath the lawn, a new industrial–grade irrigation system includes an extensive pumping station for irrigation and filtration of storm water along with two cisterns capable of holding 500,000 gallons of water; two more cisterns with the same capacity would be constructed in the next phases, and this reused water will supply almost all of the Mall's irrigation water. In the Phase I work, most of the soil was reused by combining it with a sand mixture to control compaction. Three rows of industrial–grade sprinklers in each of the 180–foot–wide panels provide a full range of coverage with relatively few sprinkler heads, similar to what would be used on a golf course. She presented views of the lawn panels before and after the Phase I implementation to illustrate the successful result.
Ms. Goldstein said that the new Mall Turf Operations and Maintenance Manual, as previously requested by the Commission, addresses operations for events as well as maintenance of the turf and the irrigation system. It outlines the permitting process, the consequences for damage, and cost recovery fees; the protocol for event maintenance is more restrictive than previously. She said that a turf manager has been hired for the Mall; Department of the Interior policies also call for preservation of this site as a historic landscape, emphasizing the need for turf protection and allowing for varying permit fees.
Ms. Goldstein discussed how the new lawn panels had been protected during the recent inauguration–an event that served as a test of attempting to require a sponsor to cover the lawn with turf protection fabric panels, as recommended in the manual, and of how well such panels would protect the lawn. For the inauguration, the protective panels were brought from throughout the country and installed on the lawn panels in three days following a period of heavy rain, and they effectively protected the newly rehabilitated turf. Other successful changes included placing the large outdoor television screens on pavement instead of grass.
Mr. Vogel added that he was proud of this result and called it a testament to the commitment of the National Park Service and the Secretary of the Interior. He said that he had been apprehensive about the damage the inauguration crowds might cause to the turf following the heavy rains and before enactment of the new procedures; but the Inaugural Committee agreed to fund the installation of the panels, which was supported by the Secretary of the Interior. He said that the lawn's successful protection during this event demonstrated that the new methods would work, receiving national attention and encouraging further implementation of the Mall reconstruction project. He noted that several large groups which had been planning to hold events on the Mall have decided to find other locations–another indication of the success of the new restrictions.
Ms. Goldstein described the successful process that resulted in the lawn appearing to be unaffected by the inaugural activities: the turf protection panels were put down quickly, stayed down for only one day, and were quickly removed in the same order in which they had been laid. The work had been done methodically to make sure that no one section of lawn was covered any longer than it needed to be, in line with recommendations based on studies of the maximum amount of time that grass can be covered.
Ms. Goldstein read excerpts from the Commission's letter of September describing its approval of the concept alternative that was presented as Scheme 4. She noted that the currently proposed work would use the same design elements that were used in Phase I: curbs, soil rehabilitation, new irrigation, and crowning of the grade in the center of lawn panels to emphasize the green vista.
Ms. Goldstein discussed in more detail the issue previously raised by the Commission of reconsidering the widths of the north–south walks. The past presentations had included detailed information about the dimensions of such walks and various alternatives. Scheme 4, which the Commission had approved as a concept, proposed a regular pattern of 60–foot–wide walks, with two wider 105–foot walks in the center of the project area and several larger paved areas off to the sides of the lawn panels. She said that this solution is consistent with the National Mall Plan, which had identified the paradoxical challenge of preserving the historic landscape while supporting high levels of use. She emphasized that the proposed design would require compromise from all parties but would preserve the historic landscape and vista. She presented a summary of data for events in 2010 including the Library of Congress Book Festival, the Black Family Reunion, and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival which is the largest annual event. This information was evaluated to determine the siting of events, their duration, their intensity of use, and the size and location of their tents. Most events had been held on turf; the tents used were primarily smaller, though larger events had many large tents. She said that with Scheme 4, the two largest sizes of tents would not be permitted within the central viewshed of the Mall; they would instead be located on three side panels removed from the central area. Smaller tents could be placed on the center walks; 60–foot–wide walks would accommodate tents up to only 35 feet wide because space must be allowed for ballast, fire egress, and pedestrian access. Eighty–foot–wide tents could be set up on the 105–foot–wide walks. Under Scheme 4, approximately 56 percent of events from 2010 would require reconfiguration to use fewer of the larger tents and to arrange them differently; 40 percent of events, mostly smaller events, would not require changes.
Ms. Goldstein explained that under Scheme 4, the 7th Street corridor would be treated somewhat differently than other north–south crossings: it would have a 60–foot–wide walk on each side, with a 20–foot–wide grass verge between each walk and the street. She said that a stage site is needed at 7th Street because this location provides backdrop views of the Capitol as desired for events; the stages are typically on trailers, and the goal is to keep them near the street and off the turf. Under the new policies, event planners would have to place large stages within the green verge or on the 60–foot–wide walks; support equipment and activities would have to be located to the sides, off the lawn panels.
Ms. Goldstein concluded with the previously presented animation depicting the Mall's appearance at eye level with Scheme 4. She described the progression walking from the Smithsonian Metro Station north along the 12th Street alignment and proceeding east on the Mall, crossing the various walks expanded from the existing 40–foot width to the proposed 60 feet, and seeing newly paved areas off to the sides. The animation then moved back to the west along the centerline of the Mall, with the intent of demonstrating how the wider walks tend to disappear from view because of the crowning of the lawn panels.
Chairman Powell expressed the Commission's appreciation for the comprehensive presentation and the extraordinary efforts of the project team. He asked about the planned schedule for the currently proposed work; Mr. Vogel responded that the hope is for funding in the fiscal year 2014 budget.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk supported the commendation of the proposal, saying that the project team's pride in the Phase I result is warranted and the reconstructed portion of the Mall now looks beautiful. She noted that the Commission's concern had involved the width of the north–south walks and asked for clarification of the proposed wider walks; Ms. Goldstein indicated the 105–foot–wide walks proposed at the alignments of 9th and 12th Streets to accommodate 80–foot–wide tents. Ms. Plater–Zyberk asked if accommodating 60– or 70–foot–wide tents could be sufficient. Ms. Goldstein responded that this question was discussed again with tent vendors after the previous presentation to the Commission, and the conclusion was that the 80–foot–wide tents are needed: tents are manufactured in standard 20–foot modules with the next smaller size at 60 feet wide, and limiting the largest tents on the Mall to 60 feet wide would dramatically change the way events can be run. She said that event planners are already being asked to compromise, and an additional compromise is using streets for bigger events; a further limitation to 60–foot–wide tents would result in losing more of the larger events, and therefore accommodating 80–foot–wide tents is necessary.
Ms. Meyer noted that despite being a new member of the Commission, she knows the site and this particular project very well. She asked if the pressure to widen the walks had increased because of the transfer of jurisdiction over Union Square from the National Park Service to the Architect of Capitol, noting that the National Mall Plan had identified Union Square as the area most suitable for large public gatherings. Mr. Vogel responded that this transfer had altered the situation and forced a reconfiguration by the National Park Service.
Ms. Meyer expressed support for the intention to use Madison and Jefferson Drives for event structures, but she questioned the proposed treatment at 7th Street. She said that she had walked around this area of the Mall for an hour earlier in the day and observed that the longitudinal section of the Mall is not flat but irregular, rising from 6th Street towards 8th. The presentation drawings and animation do not show the view west to 7th Street, and she noted the difficulty of understanding whether the surface would appear as a slightly tilted plane; if it would be completely flat, perhaps the design already includes a solution for varying the height of the granite coping to accommodate the grade change. She said that perceptually, at eye level, the impact of the proposed paving is difficult to evaluate. Ms. Goldstein responded that the grade change is minimal; due to the overall length of the Mall, the scale of the space, and the mounding of the panels, the effect of the grade change could be mitigated. Ms. Meyer said that from approximately the 6th Street alignment at the center of the Mall, 7th Street would clearly be visible at double its current width; she emphasized that the actual perception of the width would be more than what is apparent in the presentation.
Ms. Meyer asked whether 7th Street would have to be closed to traffic when a stage is placed there. Ms. Goldstein responded that traffic would continue behind a stage that is set up along the street. Mr. May and Ms. Goldstein noted that 7th Street is under control of the D.C. government and is a major route that cannot be shut down regularly; in contrast, Madison and Jefferson Drives are controlled by the National Park Service and are inconsequential for through–traffic.
Ms. Meyer suggested that the areas along 7th Street be treated as "sacrificial turf" that is replaced whenever damaged by an event, rather than being paved. She observed that a significant feature of the Mall's geometry is the relationship between the centerlines of blocks and the streets between the Capitol and the White House; the proposed wider paving along 7th Street would not follow that established rhythm but would be like an off beat in a piece of music, and this would result is an unfortunate circumstance. She asked for assurance that every other possible surface for accommodating events had been explored and that the cost of replacing sacrificial turf at 7th Street would be prohibitive. Mr. Vogel expressed appreciation for the comments and said that every possible alternative has been considered. He added that the plan emphasizes preservation; Ms. Meyer said that the approach proposed for the lawn panels is rehabilitation, not preservation nor restoration. Mr. Vogel emphasized the position that event sponsors will no longer be able to destroy the turf and then expect the National Park Service to fix it; this has been an unsatisfactory approach that has led to thoughtless damage that costs millions of dollars and leaves the turf unavailable for months during rehabilitation. He noted that the proposal has been reviewed by the D.C. Historic Preservation Office, which concluded that the project would have no adverse effect. He said that he does not want to advocate hardscaping, but the proposal is an attempt to find a workable compromise.
Mr. Krieger said that the promise of meticulous and beautiful lawn panels at the cost of some additional paved areas seems better than having ragged lawns and slightly fewer paved areas. Unless there is more flexibility about the size of tents, he agreed that the plan seems to be a fairly reasonable compromise.
Upon a motion by Mr. Freelon with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the concept; Ms. Meyer voted against the motion. Chairman Powell reiterated his support for the project team's work and said that the city and nation will benefit greatly from it.
C. General Services Administration
CFA 21/MAR/13–2, Federal Office Building #8, 200 C Street, SW. Public art installation on plaza by artist Jessica Stockholder. Concept. Mr. Lindstrom introduced the proposed installation of artwork by Jessica Stockholder on the plaza in front of the newly rehabilitated Federal Office Building #8 (FOB 8), now named the Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Federal Building. He asked Mina Wright, director of the Office of Planning and Design Quality at the General Services Administration (GSA), to begin the presentation.
Ms. Wright summarized the history of the project. The landscaping plan for the adjacent Mary Switzer Building came before the Commission for review several times before being approved. Ms. Stockholder was originally selected to work on both the Switzer and FOB 8 sites, but the project has subsequently been limited to the FOB 8 plaza only. She introduced Christine Ewing, the fine arts officer for GSA's National Capital Region, to continue the presentation.
Ms. Ewing said that GSA's Art in Architecture Program commissions artists through financing derived from new construction and major modernization projects; for FOB 8, a half–percent of the rehabilitation budget was reserved for public art. She said that Ms. Stockholder's work knits itself into a site, intersecting with the architecture and landscape; Ms. Stockholder was selected to create a work for the plaza that will add color, visual interest, and a sense of place. Ms. Ewing noted that Ms. Stockholder had won prestigious awards and formerly held a faculty position at Yale University; she currently chairs the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago.
Ms. Stockholder provided background on her work, which includes small gallery pieces as well as large outdoor constructions. Among the works she illustrated was a piece installed near Paris for a scientific institute, a large work with moveable parts that represents a math game; and a piece titled Flooded Chambers Maid, now located in St. Louis but originally designed in relation to a walkway in New York's Madison Square Park. Ms. Stockholder said that she is interested in how materials–like words–convey differing meanings depending on time and place; picture–making that intersects the physical experience of objects, materials, and spatial context; and framing, which she finds metaphorically resonant with how people think and understand things.
Ms. Stockholder said that the proposed work for FOB 8, tentatively named Try Angle, has gone through a long process to address various and conflicting needs. It began as a concept involving the two blocks fronted by the four government buildings on the 200 and 300 blocks of C Street, SW–the Switzer and Wilbur J. Cohen buildings, FOB 8, and the Department of Health and Human Services headquarters building. The goal was to generate a design that might be replicable in front of all four buildings to address the entire streetscape. A geometric shape that she had planned to use as the base of the works has now been pared down to a triangle: a simple, direct, bold shape. She observed that a large piece of sculpture occupying the center of this space would not be desirable; the sculpture needs to be passive and secondary to the public quality of the plaza while also being strong and generous.
Ms. Stockholder said that her piece would use simple, ground–covering materials that are able to withstand the elements. She acknowledged the difficulty of using bright colors without having them fade, and provided the Commission members with a sample of the proposed material of colorfast glass embedded in colored concrete. She said that the overall color of the triangle would be red, perhaps including two or three different shades of red or rose to distinguish the shape from the existing landscape pavers. To the north, the piece would rise through the ground as a three–dimensional wall segment that may be made of cast stone since this material holds its color well outdoors. The triangle would extend into the foyer of FOB 8 and become part of the floor surface, which is made of a type of glass that takes on different colors.
Mr. Powell observed that this concept proposal is closer to a final design. Mr. Luebke agreed that the proposal is relatively simple, and suggested that the Commission may want to delegate review of the final proposal to the staff. Ms. Wright noted that the scope of the project may continue to evolve: funds may become available to add another feature to this piece. Ms. Stockholder explained that this feature would be a fragment of a second, smaller triangle, perhaps in yellow; the points of the two triangles would intersect in the lobby, and on the exterior the smaller triangle would be made of pixilated pavers to give the impression that it is dissolving into the landscape. Ms. Wright added that this uncertain scope is the reason for submitting the current proposal as a concept.
Ms. Stockholder said that when she is invited to make a work for an interior space, such as at a museum, the work takes advantage of what is there; she considers how the work can intersect with what is possible–in this case, a work knitting together the building and the landscape. She said that she has not previously worked with the federal government but has learned a lot from this process, which she described as appropriately complicated; she does not object to her work being reactive to what is possible, and she accepts the challenge of making sure that the artistic intent does not get lost in the process. Mr. Powell commended this approach and said that her piece is creative and interesting.
Mr. Freelon asked how the materials of the red triangle would vary between the exterior installation and the lobby interior. Ms. Stockholder responded that the interior pavers have been laid; they were supposed to be made of the same material as the outdoor pavers but are not, and so they may be removed and replaced with another material such as terrazzo, resin, or porcelain tile. Mr. Krieger asked if the intention is for some color to be duller and some to be more reflective or luminous; he commented that concrete pavers would likely have a relatively dull finish. Ms. Stockholder responded that the materials should be colorful, and whether they are shiny or dull is not as important; she wants to ensure that the tiles are really red and not, for example, brown or terra cotta. The shift in color is intended to acknowledge the landscape design; her work would be part of the landscape but also distinct from it, not limited by the boundary of the sidewalk or the grass. Mr. Krieger recommended careful study of the colored concrete pavers, observing that they will form the major part of this piece and might be duller than she would like. Ms. Stockholder acknowledged that the pavers could also fade over time, and said that using red glass as part of the cast–stone aggregate may be a solution; Mr. Krieger supported this method.
Ms. Meyer expressed support for the proposal and asked about the treatment of the artwork at vertical surfaces. Ms. Stockholder confirmed that the red color would extend to the walls, preferably using a colored cast material rather than tile so that, over time, normal wear would create a pleasant effect rather than present a problem. Ms. Meyer noted that the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial will be located only a block away and she recommended careful attention to the accessibility of the plaza.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested studying the effect of extant lighting on the project. She also recommended ensuring that no infrastructure elements, such as manholes or utility caps, would interfere with the artwork; she said that adjusting the artwork to accommodate underground features would be preferable to having an unexpected, jarring element within it. Ms. Stockholder responded that such an object within the area of the artwork, if not very large, would be fine if it could be colored red.
Chairman Powell commended Ms. Stockholder for an interesting project; he suggested approval of the concept and delegation of the final review to the staff. Upon a motion by Mr. Krieger with second by Mr. Freelon, the Commission adopted this action.
D. Department of the Army
CFA 21/MAR/13–3, Fort McNair, Building 18, Corner of B and Canal Streets, SW. New vehicular storage facility and operations building for U.S. Army Transportation Agency (White House). Concept. Mr. Lindstrom introduced the proposal for a parking garage and support space for official vehicles used at the White House; the facility would replace commercial space in downtown Washington whose lease is expiring, and the proposed relocation to Fort McNair would provide the desired level of security for this function. He asked architect Marisa Colligan of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to present the proposal.
Ms. Colligan described the proposed location in the northeastern portion of Fort McNair. The project includes four components: renovation of the existing Building 18, a two–story brick structure from the early 20th century, to house administrative offices; an adjacent new operations facility that would hold forty vehicles and additional second–story administrative space; the interior renovation of the existing Building 33, a warehouse building that is not historically significant, to serve as a vehicle maintenance shop; and renovation for limited use of the currently non–operational gate toward the eastern end of the fort's P Street frontage, including replacement of the existing guard booth. She said that the work at Building 33 and the P Street gate would have minimal impact, and the presentation will focus on Building 18 and the new operations facility.
Ms. Colligan summarized the history of Fort McNair, dating from the late 18th century and largely reconstructed in the early 20th century in accordance with a master plan by McKim, Mead & White. The master plan established a symmetrical organization for the fort, with administrative buildings and stables grouped along the northern side of the central parade field and houses along the east and west sides. The fort largely retains the character of this master plan but has been expanded to the east, where it was formerly bounded by a canal that has been removed. The site for this project is at the transition between the historic area of the fort and the later expansion area; she emphasized that these two areas have different architectural styles. She described the character of the Colonial Revival buildings along the parade field's north side, with careful framing of the fort's central north–south axis and a gradual simplification of the architecture extending further to the east and west. The proposed operations facility would continue this pattern with a south facade that is related to but simpler than the adjacent Building 18 facade to the west. The operations facility would also relate to the prevailing industrial character of the buildings to the north and east, including the renovated former stables and a small gas station. She noted the prevalence of arches in the nearby historic architecture, both as features of the brick facades and as part of the window shapes; the historic brickwork also has beautiful and subtle detailing of headers, cornices, and bond patterns, while the more modern brick buildings nearby are characterized by simple variations in bond patterns. Vertical features on the existing buildings, such as pilasters and reveals, also contribute to a sense of rhythm and symmetrical organization. She emphasized that the proposed operations facility would draw on this range of architectural details.
Ms. Colligan described the functional requirements for the operations facility: storage for forty vehicles; an attached wash bay for vehicles; and direct adjacency to the administrative support area. The operations facility would also include facilities for drivers, including a training area, locker room, and break room with kitchen; she noted that drivers are on duty at all times. Most of the administrative support would be placed in Building 18; the program requires a secure conference room which will be placed in the operations facility to avoid the extensive construction impacts of inserting this specialized facility into Building 18.
Ms. Colligan presented the proposed configuration of the operations facility. Its southern end would have two stories, with a second–story bridge connecting to Building 18 through an existing window opening; this would fulfill the programmatic requirement of linking directly the administrative and garage spaces while minimizing the impact to the historic building and the site. The remainder of the operations facility would be a single–story garage area with a vegetated roof. The bridge would provide a second egress from the upper story of Building 18 to meet modern life–safety requirements and would allow the elevator in Building 18 to provide barrier–free access to the second story of the operations facility, minimizing the vertical circulation space for the overall complex. The open–air walkway beneath the bridge would be 6.5 feet wide, accommodating pedestrians and avoiding impact of the operations facility construction on the existing foundation of Building 18. The proposed site of the operations facility is currently a parking lot; an existing green space to the north of Building 18 would remain, and some existing paved areas would be changed to pervious surfaces. The new building would maintain a ten–foot setback from the diagonal alignment of 5th Avenue to the east, and the south facade would be set back ten feet from the south facade plane of Building 18 to suggest a hierarchy of buildings. The site design includes a stormwater retention pond and improvements to an existing exterior mechanical pad.
Ms. Colligan described the proposed facades of the operations facility, indicating the articulation of bays, windows, and horizontal lines of precast concrete. In keeping with the overall evolution of the fort's architecture, the detailing would be simpler than on Building 18 and the windows would be rectangular rather than arched. The roof would be flat, allowing the sloped roof of Building 18 to remain dominant. The side elevations would be articulated with pilasters, varied brick bond patterns, and arched brickwork above the windows. The north elevation would have three large garage doors, and the brick wall would have arched embellishments; the center door would be on the projecting pavilion of the wash bay, echoing the projecting pavilion on the north side of Building 18. She concluded with several perspective views of the operations facility and Building 18.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk acknowledged the effort to accommodate the program on a tight site with careful attention to fitting the project into the context, particularly on the north side. She observed that the south facade of the operations facility would be part of a long sequence of facades along the north side of the parade field and recommended further consideration of how the proposal would fit into this sequence; based on the photograph of this larger context, she suggested that the new facade should add more variety, rather than closely follow the vocabulary of Building 18. She said that the window proportions and floor levels of the new building do not appear to correspond with those of Building 18, and she suggested developing a proportional system and facade design based on the needs of the operations facility rather than drawing from Building 18. She described the current proposal for the south facade as overly focused on repeating elements such as horizontal bands and brick details. She also suggested consideration of a sloped roof above the two–story portion of the operations facility to correspond better with the overall sequence of facades along the parade field.
Mr. Krieger agreed with these concerns, commenting on the oddness of the proposed south facade trying to be compatible with Building 18 while not sharing its grace of proportions. He observed that the vertical emphasis on existing buildings is more pronounced than on the proposed facades, perhaps resulting from the greater width of the proposed bays. He also questioned the relationship of the horizontal band slicing across the center of the door opening on the proposed south facade. He suggested careful attention to the masonry details, noting the difficulty of relating modern and traditional mortar joints and bricks which often results in the newer building having a coarser and less elegant appearance.
Mr. Freelon observed that the renderings do not adequately convey the depth of the various architectural elements; the separation between Building 18 and the operations facility would be strengthened by the strong shadows at the recessed bridge, and the relationship between their facades would be more successful than is suggested by the renderings. Chairman Powell supported the comments on further study of the roof form and the horizontal articulation in relation to the door opening. Mr. Krieger commented that one of the renderings gives the appearance that the operations facility's roof had been lost in a storm. Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested the design goal of having Building 18 and the operations facility appear to be two buildings of the same period with similar proportions, resulting in two very different but compatible buildings; changes in the roof treatment, parapets, bays, and banding would all be acceptable within similar proportioning systems. She expressed interest in the issue of modern brick detailing; Mr. Krieger confirmed his advice to study the use of a different brick type to address the inevitable contrast of new and old construction.
Chairman Powell summarized the consensus of the Commission to approve the concept with the comments provided; upon a motion by Mr. Krieger, the Commission adopted this action.
E. District of Columbia Department of General Services
1. CFA 21/MAR/13–4, St. Elizabeths East Gateway Pavilion, 2700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SE (East Campus of St. Elizabeths, 1100 Alabama Avenue, SE). Temporary pavilion for food vendors, farmers market, and community uses. Final. (Previous: CFA 21/ FEB/13– 4.) Ms. Fanning introduced the proposed final design of the temporary gateway pavilion. She summarized the previous comments of the Commission in February 2013, particularly concerning the relationship of the pavilion to the Redwood Drive axis. She asked Michelle Chin of the D.C. Department of General Services (DGS) to begin the presentation.
Ms. Chin, the project manager for the St. Elizabeths campus, said that the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development has partnered with DGS to execute this project. Following the completion of the new hospital building at St. Elizabeths in 2010, development of the 183–acre East Campus is being initiated to help end its isolation from the surrounding community. The D.C. government plans to create a technology hub on the campus, and the gateway pavilion is intended to make a bold statement and become a destination. A design competition was held to attract excellent designers, and the winning design is by the team of Davis Brody Bond/Kadcon. Because of the aggressive development schedule, the design was quickly revised following its first presentation to the Commission in November 2012, and the concept was approved in February 2013. She introduced architect Peter Cook of Davis Brody Bond to present the design.
Mr. Cook summarized the characteristics of the site along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE. The site is located on the axis of Redwood Drive, which terminates to the east at the historic Maple Quad and the Nichols Building which has a prominent cupola. The original design was a pavilion supported at its northwest and southeast corners to create a covered area of 20,000 square feet; this has been reduced in size by approximately two–thirds. He said that the current design responds to three concerns expressed by the Commission: mitigating the sharpness of the northern edge; clarifying the capacity and configuration of the rooftop; and developing the design for the surrounding public space.
Mr. Cook described the additional study of the pavilion's northern edge, paying careful attention to its relationship with existing buildings. He said the Commission and other agencies had commented that the original design was too heavy; the goal is to create the light appearance of a floating or hovering pavilion by tapering the structure to a point. The alternatives considered have included rotating the edge to shorten the length of the prow; softening the profile of the edge; and decreasing the prominence of the guardrail. The corners of the northern edge are proposed to be centered around the east–west Redwood Drive alignment. After considering various options for moving the edge, the proposal is to shorten the projection on an oblique line without otherwise changing the structure. This results in shortening the pavilion on the north by 7.5 feet, reducing the extent of its projection into the visual corridor of Redwood Drive while maintaining the structure's symmetry. He also indicated in the section detail that the sharpness of the guardrail profile has been modified by this 7.5–foot realignment.
Mr. Cook used section drawings to present several options for treating the edge of the cantilever. One alternative that was studied would cut the pavilion far back to open up significantly the view along the Redwood Drive axis, but the concern was that from certain angles the pavilion edge would look heavy and wall–like. Other alternatives use a 10– or 15–foot cantilever to reduce the sharpness of the prow while retaining the rooftop vantage point that would allow people to see a perspective of the campus along the historic view corridor. He said the tapered quality of the nose would open up this view while creating visual lightness. The option preferred by the project team would use a 15–foot cantilever at the north; this solution balances the idea of pulling back and softening the edge with the goal of lightening the overall structure. A bullnose edge is proposed to give the softer effect of light hitting a rounded rather than a sharp edge. Radii of 2, 4, 6, and 10 inches were studied for the bullnose; by rounding the edge in different ways, the pavilion's extension into the view corridor could be further reduced by up to 8 inches. He also described the dimensions of the plate girders that would support the proposed cantilever: most would require a depth of approximately 4.5 feet, and with a 42–inch–high guardrail the overall height would be approximately 8 feet.
In response to the Commission's comments on the importance of the Redwood Drive corridor, Mr. Cook said that additional modeling was prepared to study the movement of people as they would approach and pass the pavilion along this corridor. He noted that the pavilion's programming would result in visitors moving around the site, engaging dynamically in different activities rather than sitting still.
Mr. Cook then described the capacity and configuration of the rooftop and the technical support for the amphitheater. Various sizes and types of auditorium spaces were studied, including a Smithsonian Institution auditorium which seats 355 people and has a 20–by–45 foot stage; Wolf Trap, with a capacity to seat 3,200 people on the lawn; and American University, which has an auditorium with an 800–square–foot stage and seating for 475 people. Based on these studies, the pavilion design includes an 18–by–45–foot stage which could be expanded or reduced; the different configurations could accommodate audiences from fewer than 100 to approximately 445 people. Stations at each of the stairs could be used for concessions, ticket sales, or access control. Lighting could be set up in designated areas, and numerous electrical outlets would be provided; wireless internet access would also be available.
Finally, Mr. Cook discussed the development of the public space design to make it usable and comfortable for people who have not come for shopping. Multi–function rooms would be provided at the pavilion's ground level; the rooftop would be open to the public, including the stage areas, and people would be free to sit or move around the roof; and seating has been increased throughout the landscape. He added that the D.C. government is considering establishment of additional programming areas on the site.
Mr. Cook then asked landscape architect Rodrigo Abela of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol to describe the development of the landscape design. Mr. Abela said the pavilion would be integrated into the larger site through a composition that reinforces the image of the pavilion as a gateway. The pavilion's form would be extended northward into the landscape, framing the visual axis of the Redwood Drive corridor with a garden to balance the activity associated with the pavilion. Acknowledging the multiple ways to move through the site, he said that most people would enter from the corners, and the walks would follow these diagonal alignments. A diagonal walk from the north, for example, would use the Redwood Drive axis as an entry point to the pavilion, extending slightly beyond its footprint to end in a sitting area with benches; trees would be planted to frame the axis and provide shade. He indicated another primary access route to the south that would provide two points of entry into the pavilion, including a diagonal walk that would lead to the pavilion but remain outside the critical root zone of the notable large tree. Each walk would have benches alongside, providing areas to sit in either sun or shade.
Mr. Abela described the proposed landscape on the east side of the pavilion, which was developed using the geometry of the hardscape to accept the crosswalks and relate the garden area to the pavilion. The paving of the Redwood Drive axis would be articulated differently, creating a triangular public space near the garden. The goal is to create an immersive experience–a landscape with depth and detail that will also strongly frame the visual axis. Open lawn areas would be contrasted with bands of varied plantings for people to walk through and experience changes in height and openness. Different types of plants would change with the seasons, from the fragrant shrub Clethra with yellow foliage and white flowers in summer, to ornamental grasses forming the central figure of the garden, to an evergreen hedge of wax myrtle framing the garden. Some plants bearing red leaves or berries are proposed to provide color during the winter, a season when grasses will dominate. Flowering trees, including serviceberry and hornbeam, will be planted to frame the historic view; these varieties are easily transplantable when the pavilion is eventually removed as planned. He said that the garden would be designed to draw people from the community repeatedly to experience different cycles in different seasons. The slightly sloping site would be graded to handle cistern overflow and bioretention.
Mr. Cook described the proposed simple palette of materials. The edge and the exterior covering of the pavilion would be a ductile material to reduce weight, speed construction, and allow for clean joints and varying profiles. The inside face of the rails at the south stair would be clad with a rot–resistant wood, such as Eastern Canadian larch; a stainless steel kickplate would be at the bottom of the railing. The ceiling for the covered area of the pavilion would be a translucent fabric, stretched taut along the underside of the steel structure; lights behind the fabric would give the space an even glow. On three sides of the pavilion, the "Schüco" system of parallel openings would allow natural ventilation through the market space. Flooring would include two different tones of landscape paving, one on the Redwood Drive axis and another in the garden spaces, with polished concrete used in the enclosure.
Steven Campbell of the D.C. Department of General Services offered closing comments. He said that the D.C. government is excited about this project and that the design had been improved by addressing the concerns raised by the review agencies. He emphasized the importance of having a project that would generate conversation and even controversy; the goal is that people will come to the site so they can experience seeing it in a variety of ways. He acknowledged that the profile of the pavilion's north edge might be the most controversial aspect, but stressed that the project team has carefully explored a variety of options. He said that his agency strongly supports the more tapered profile because it would give the pavilion a lighter appearance, but assured the Commission that any of the proposed solutions would be acceptable. He noted the intention to construct the pavilion by the end of the summer.
Ms. Meyer expressed appreciation for the design effort and for the D.C. government's commitment to the project. She acknowledged the thoughtful response to her comment in the previous review that the design should encourage public use of the site; she observed that the site proposal now appears to have a very different sense of being a public realm than it did a month ago. She noted her previous concern that only the lawn would be public, and supported the response of extending the Redwood Drive corridor into a plaza that would act as a spatial joint between the garden and the market.
Mr. Freelon noted the statement in the presentation that people would have a variety of different experiences when approaching the Redwood Drive axis from various locations along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue; he observed that this would be a continuous experience, and the specific length of the pavilion's cantilever would not make or break the project. He supported the D.C. government's preference to have the longer profile and bullnose, commenting that maintaining an edge and bringing the nose back 7.5 feet would not be a drastic change but is a move in the right direction.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk said she stands by her comment from the last review that the pavilion should not extend into the historic axis at all, and therefore she does not support the proposal. Acknowledging that the project would likely proceed, she questioned whether such a costly pavilion would actually be temporary, and therefore questioned some of the design choices. She observed that the fabric proposed for the ceiling would be within people's reach and could presumably be punctured, which would be problematic in comparison to the use of permanent materials elsewhere in the design. She recommended designing the ceiling so that the fabric will not sag nor be subject to damage. She said that the design conveys a great deal of wishful thinking about materials and maintenance, concluding that she is not satisfied with it but could offer no further helpful comments.
Mr. Krieger expressed appreciation for the elaboration of the roof design and the description of how it could be used for gatherings of different sizes; he supported the result. He agreed with Ms. Meyer in supporting the substantial elaboration of the landscape to suggest a more public design than previously presented. He also supported Ms. Plater–Zyberk's comment about "wishful thinking" concerning materials–he said that the columns still seem impossibly small–and her doubts about the durability of using fabric in a public place. He said that he simply does not like the design of the pavilion's north point, which he said resembles the nose of a truncated Concorde airplane; he expressed uncertainty whether this detail makes the pavilion design more dynamic, noting that many other details contribute to this effect. But he said that this concern would not cause him to vote against the project, acknowledging that the current design responds well to two of the Commission's three previous comments, with the result that both the rooftop landscape and the ground landscape are more convincing than before.
Mr. Luebke noted that the Commission's comments would have to be taken into consideration as final materials and details are specified. He asked if the Commission has a specific recommendation on the exact configuration and extent of the prow. Mr. Krieger cited Ms. Plater–Zyberk's comment that pulling back the prow by 7.5 feet would lessen the visual impact on the historic building beyond in the Maple Quad, and he supported this solution; Mr. Powell and Mr. Freelon agreed. Mr. Freelon suggested deferring to the architect's discretion for the dimension of the bullnose detail; Mr. Krieger predicted that this detail will change further as construction documents are developed. Chairman Powell and Mr. Luebke summarized the motion to approve the design including a 7.5–foot reduction in length at the pavilion's north end, with the detailing of the prow left to the discretion of the designers and with the comments offered about the durability of the materials; upon a second by Mr. Freelon, the Commission adopted this action. Ms. Plater–Zyberk voted against the motion. Chairman Powell reiterated the Commission's appreciation for the design team's responsiveness.
2. CFA 21/MAR/13–5, Horace Mann Elementary School, 4430 Newark Street, NW. Building renovation and addition. Concept. (Previous: CFA 20/SEP/12– 5.) Ms. Batcheler introduced the first of two concept designs for additions to D.C. elementary schools. She said that when the design for renovation and expansion of the Horace Mann Elementary School was previously presented in September 2012, the Commission had commended the general planning but did not approve the proposal, requesting that a more integrated design be developed. The current concept submission responds to comments from the Commission, the school community, and neighbors; the proposal is a more compact three–story addition to the historic school building. She said that two letters of support for the current proposal have been distributed to the Commission members, along with written comments from a concerned neighbor; she noted that people from the neighborhood were present and may wish to address the Commission. She asked architect Michael Marshall of Marshall Moya Design to begin the presentation.
Mr. Marshall noted the extensive consultation with school officials, immediate neighbors, and the D.C. Department of General Services to develop a new concept design that addresses the many issues raised by the Commission and others. He described the location of the school in the northern part of the Wesley Heights neighborhood; American University is to the north, and the Spring Valley neighborhood is to the west. Immediately north of the site, across Newark Street, is a large church; 45th Street to the west and Macomb Street to the south are both residential streets; and New Mexico Avenue to the east is lined by small–scale commercial buildings and townhouses. The school site occupies nearly the entire block; the historic former community center for Wesley Heights, now in private use, occupies a separate parcel at the southwest corner. The school campus includes the original 1931 two–story school building; a non–historic community building that is used as a cafeteria and gymnasium for the school; and several classroom trailers dating from the 1980s. These structures, all on the western half of the block, surround an open space called "the Range" that is an important focus for the campus. The grade drops approximately fifteen feet on the east to the school's playground and soccer field, and then thirty feet further down to New Mexico Avenue and the eastern portion of the Macomb Street frontage. Numerous large trees are on the east and south sides of the parcel, and pedestrian access to the Range is available from 45th Street on the west or up a long flight of stairs leading from Macomb Street on the south.
Mr. Marshall said that the existing historic school building is the only executed portion of the original 1931–32 plan that called for a pair of parallel classroom structures joined by an administrative block; the building now contains both administrative offices and classrooms. He noted that the D.C. Historic Preservation Office staff has requested that new construction not be sited too closely to the historic community center building.
Mr. Marshall said that following the previous Commission review, five new options have been developed for configuring the addition; all feature a plaza and enclosed atrium as the new entrance to the school, improving on the current situation of entering through the rear of the historic school building. He added that the glazed atrium is also intended to blur the distinction between exterior and interior space. The playing field would remain to the east, and the existing basketball court would be relocated to this area.
Mr. Marshall described each of the alternatives. Option 1 would retain the footprint of the prior concept submission with a two–story L–shaped addition that embraces the Range. A narrow open space would remain between the addition and the historic community center to provide access to the Range; large windows in the addition would give an effect of transparency. Option 2 is a two– and three–story L–shaped addition, configuring the program in a smaller footprint to provide a wider open space between the Range and 45th Street. The southern end of the addition would align with the rear wall of the existing school building, and the addition would also be aligned with the historic community center. Option 3 would create two parallel additions extending west from the existing school, redefining the Range as a space that opens to the west. The new southern wing would be connected by a bridge to the existing school building, allowing for an open–space connection from the southeast corner of the Range to the playing field on the east. Option 4 would similarly add one wing to the northwest along Newark Street; the second wing would be sited to the southeast along Macomb Street, built partially within the steep slope and connecting to the rear south facade of the historic school building. In Option 5, the entire addition would be placed east of the historic school building; the lowest level would be partially below grade, with portions opening to the playing fields on the east and Macomb Street on the south. A disadvantage of Option 5 is that part of the addition would block daylight along the east facade of the historic school building, and the design would require more sheeting and shoring due to the construction within the steep grade.
Mr. Marshall said that the project team prefers Option 2 because it would reinforce the rear alignment of the existing school building and would align the 45th Street facade with the historic community center. The wing along 4th Street would support the concept of buildings framing the Range on all sides while providing a wide opening for pedestrian access from 45th Street. The new building would be entered at grade from Newark Street and the Range through the atrium, providing access to elevators and stairs; a chairlift would accommodate the three–foot grade difference between the new and existing buildings. The existing exterior flight of stairs from Macomb Street would remain. He described the building program in more detail: the relationship among the science room, the performing arts rooms, and the library–media room in the wing along Newark Street would reflect an important part of the school curriculum. The roof of the two–story wing along 45th Street would have gardens for use by students. He said that the addition would have a simple palette of materials similar to the historic building–brick in the same color and texture, laid in the same pattern with the same grout color, and clear glass windows with green spandrel glass.
Mr. Freelon commented that Options 3, 4, and 5 have major shortcomings and would not be viable. He noted that the remaining Options 1 and 2 maintain the configuration of the previously presented concept, which he agreed is probably the correct place for the addition. He observed that the design has been simplified from the very complex previous concept, although the new Option 2 is still complex with many different shapes and materials and a particularly complicated roofline; he recommended further simplification. He noted that the community members apparently prefer Option 2, adding his appreciation for the design team's community engagement effort.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk acknowledged the neighbors' desire for a smaller building and their regret over the loss of some of the site's open space; but she noted that not all goals could be accomplished, and said that the project is moving in the right direction. She supported Mr. Freelon's recommendation to simplify the design, observing that it is already becoming more straightforward. She commended the design team for the variety of forms used, such as the expression of the interior stairway on the south elevation that is angled to draw people from the atrium to the picturesque courtyard of the Range. However, she said that some gratuitous elements might be discarded, such as the tree in the atrium and the curved fin wall on the north facade adjacent to the front entrance. She observed that the fin wall would block the view of the historic building, even though it would be pierced with a narrow opening to allow a partial view, and said the priority for the design of this corner should be to invite people to walk around it to the deep–set entrance.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk asked why the front elevation along Newark Street includes entrance doors into the library–media room. Mr. Marshall responded that this would accommodate library programming during and after school hours; he added that the first–floor classrooms along the Range would also have exterior doors, taking advantage of the placement of the addition's first floor at grade level. Ms. Plater–Zyberk commented that the proposed library bay flanked by doors would cause confusion with the actual main entrance; she suggested consideration of moving the library to the courtyard side of the addition to avoid this confusion, or perhaps eliminating the library's exterior doors as an unnecessary feature. She said that simplifying the roof massing would also help to clarify the design, but overall the proposal now shows a calm building envelope and is a great improvement over the previously presented concept.
Mr. Krieger said that Option 2 is preferable due to its site planning and also because it has the support of the community. He said he would look to the project team for further development of architectural details, predicting that the design, including the roof, would necessarily become simpler as a result of the budget and design development process. He agreed with Ms. Plater–Zyberk that the projecting edge of the arc–shaped fin wall seems unnecessary, and it would hide the historic school building as well as the new entrance located between the old and new buildings; he suggested cutting this wall back to align with the facade along Newark Street. He acknowledged Ms. Plater–Zyberk's concern that the library doors may create confusion with the main entrance, but said that if the library will be used after hours then locating its exterior entrance in the more private space of the courtyard would understandably be undesirable.
Ms. Meyer offered several comments about the relationship of the building to the landscape and public realm. She said that the design seems to have a confusion of scale: the new building would have a larger scale than the historic school, and the design of the landscape between the curb and the new building appears fussy. She also noted an inflation of terminology: trees are labeled as forming "allées" when they would not even be placed in rows, and a couple of trees together are called a "grove." She expressed concern about the conceptual presentation of the site drawings in relation to the architectural drawings; the diminutive scale of the landscape makes the building look strange, and vice versa. She encouraged the design team to avoid intensifying this disparity, observing that some neighbors are clearly troubled by the large scale of the new building relative to the smaller scale of the houses across 45th Street. She commented that the apparent response is to create a landscape on a domestic scale to relate to these houses, but the attempt is not working: the small scale of the landscape only makes the proposed addition look bigger. She observed that light from the proposed cafeteria and meeting room along 45th Street would shine into the bedrooms of the houses opposite on nights when the room is used for public meetings. Mr. Marshall responded that neighbors had emphasized their desire for a more transparent facade along 45th Street because they want to be able to look through the building to the Range and see the activity of the children, and also to receive sunlight through the building. He said that the proposed design is intended to find a balance between privacy and transparency; various methods of blocking the light, such as using timers to control lighting or window coverings, are being considered.
Ms. Meyer commented on the difficulty of distinguishing on the site plan between what is proposed and what is existing; she emphasized the importance of being able to see what features on a parcel are fixed and where the variables are. Mr. Marshall agreed that a revised site plan could differentiate between existing and new trees; he confirmed that four new trees would be planted along 45th Street and six along Newark Street.
Chairman Powell agreed with the other Commission members to recommend cutting back the addition's entrance wall and simplifying its roof. He commended Mr. Marshall for the refinement of the concept and cooperation with the community.
Chairman Powell recognized Kent Slowinski, the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission member for Wesley Heights, who asked to address the Commission. (Ms. Meyer noted that she and Mr. Slowinski were former classmates.) Mr. Slowinski described seven concerns with the proposal: design, height, shadows, mass, setbacks, access to the Range, and the view of the historic school building from 45th Street. He agreed with the Commission members that the design should be simplified. He said that the height of the addition is proposed at 46 feet on 45th Street where the houses opposite are only two stories and 16 to 20 feet high; he commented that the new building would overwhelm not just these houses but also the existing school building to the east and the historic community building to the south. He said that the shadow study prepared by the architect, in response to the community request, shows light conditions at 10 a.m. instead of at 7, 8, or 9 a.m., and the study therefore misleadingly indicates no shadow impact on houses along 45th Street. He said that the 1931 plan for the school complex had established a setback of approximately sixty feet from Newark Street, while the current proposal sets the addition only twenty feet from the curb; he noted that the zoning overlay for Wesley Heights has established setbacks for every block except this one, but he said that a building on this site should respect existing setbacks. He disagreed with Mr. Marshall's description of neighbors' comments and said that the neighbors would prefer not to have a 46–foot–high building on 45th Street blocking visual and physical access to the Range, which serves as a "village green" and a shared recreational space; he added that the neighbors are concerned that this partial enclosure of the Range would make the area less safe because it would block views into the Range from the street. Finally, he said that he and other neighbors recently met with an architect, a former member of the Old Georgetown Board, who suggested requesting that the view from 45th Street to the original school building be maintained and that the wings of the proposed addition be relocated to the east or south of the existing school. He said that he has submitted a preliminary site design to the D.C. Department of General Services showing smaller wings in new locations. He added that Horace Mann is an excellent school and emphasized the need to get this design right.
Chairman Powell next recognized Edward Cavalcanti, who lives near the existing school building and has a daughter attending Horace Mann. Mr. Cavalcanti emphasized the importance to him as a neighbor and taxpayer that the addition be built at a reasonable cost while meeting the highest educational specifications possible. He said that he does not want the project to lower the value of his house nor the quality of life in the neighborhood. He agreed with the comment of the Commission that Options 3, 4, and 5 are inappropriate designs for this school; he expressed appreciation that the design team had listened to the community.
Chairman Powell recognized Liz Whisnant, the principal of Horace Mann School. Ms. Whisnant said that the school is a four–time winner of the U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School award, among only about a dozen schools across the country to receive the award so often. She emphasized the importance of creating a space for the learning program that would be embraced by the community and would serve as a community gathering space. She commended the design team for working to maintain the Range and to reduce the scale of the wing along 45th Street in Option 2 to provide greater access to the Range. She said that the school would maintain the commitment to community space, and she described the new concept as an exciting plan.
Upon a motion by Mr. Krieger with second by Mr. Freelon, the Commission approved Option 2 with the adjustments recommended. Chairman Powell expressed appreciation for the public comments and for the project team's effort in considering a variety of design options.
3. CFA 21/MAR/13–6, Powell Elementary School, 1350 Upshur Street, NW. Building renovation and additions. Concept. Ms. Batcheler introduced the next proposal for expansion of a historic D.C. elementary school. The initial plan from 1929 comprised a north–facing central pavilion with two flanking wings; the design was only partially executed, omitting most of the west wing, which has resulted in an asymmetrical composition. The proposed expansion would complete the original plan with a two–phase addition. She asked architect Rick Harlan Schneider of IStudio to present the design.
Mr. Schneider described the project scope to plan for the phased overall site development and to achieve an environmental rating of LEED Gold for the project. He described the site at 14th and Upshur Streets, NW, in a neighborhood of low–rise apartment buildings and row houses. Nearby institutional uses include a high school and a branch library; Upshur Park is north of the site across Upshur Street. The school parcel has an irregular L shape at the western end of the block, including the entire frontage of the block on 14th Street to the west. The north facade is the existing building's primary front, facing Upshur Street; the first floor is elevated approximately ten feet above the street. Most of the building is a two–story structure dating from 1929 in the Colonial Revival style, with a partially completed slate hip roof and a pedimented portico with cupola that was intended as the center of the never–completed north facade. A two–story brick addition was built in 1959 to the east, with a flat roof and grouped aluminum windows that contrast with the 1929 building's paired double–hung windows. He described the existing site character: the building complex is surrounded by a "sea of asphalt" including parking, and several trailers provide additional classrooms space. The school site includes a garden area to the south that is used by the community and the school; an angled alley separates this area from the row houses facing Taylor Street on the south.
Mr. Schneider described the goals of the project in more detail: to complete the primary facade along Upshur Street; to take advantage of the southern solar exposure and prevailing breezes from the south and southwest; to improve the landscape and recreational character of the site; and to relate the school interior to the outdoor space. The building would be extended in two phases: a two–story classroom wing to the west in the first phase, extending the axial alignment of the existing school complex; and a two–story wing of support spaces to the south in a future second phase, including a new cafeteria, library, and rooms for art, music, and administrative support. The youngest students would occupy the eastern part of the complex with access to a small open–space area; older students would make use of a larger green space on the western part of the site, with access through an atrium between the two planned wings. The open spaces would include outdoor classrooms, community gardens, and playgrounds; parking would be located in the southern part of the site. He noted that the building organization is consistent with the D.C. Public Schools system–wide concept of clustered academic wings and centralized support spaces. Mr. Kreiger asked about the shifting locations of the community garden and parking areas; Mr. Schneider clarified that the garden would be moved closer to the building and recreation areas, and the required area for parking–which will increase due to the proposed doubling of the school size–would be moved to the current garden site. He added that the green area on the site would also be increased by introducing green roofs.
Mr. Schneider described the organization and design features of the proposed addition. The historic entrance on Upshur Street, within the prominent portico, would remain as the school's primary entrance. He noted that the cupola, in addition to its decorative and symbolic role, also serves as a critical part of the historic "solar chimney" system that provides natural ventilation to the classrooms; this ventilation concept would be incorporated into the design of the proposed addition. Daylight would be an important feature of the new spaces, while louvers and sunscreens along the south facade would provide solar control. He noted the use of such shading and ventilation features at several recent school and library buildings in Washington.
Mr. Schneider said that the design of the north elevation has been coordinated carefully with the staff of the Commission and the D.C. Historic Preservation Office. The classroom wing would be articulated as two elements: a hip–roofed extension of the 1929 building to give a sense of completeness to the historic design; and a further westward extension in a more industrial style to balance the 1959 addition to the east. The new facade would be distinctly modern while relating to the existing portions of the building in materials and form; the modern character would be most evident in the grouped windows that would contrast slightly with the paired windows of the 1929 building. He described the resulting design as a dialogue among the four segments of the north facade. He indicated the two new solar chimneys rising above the proposed classroom wing, noting that they will not exceed the ridge height of the hip roof; he emphasized that the historic cupola will remain as the dominant element of the roofline.
Mr. Schneider presented several views of the proposed building and site. He noted that the small recreation space to the east would be framed by the existing building wings, while the larger recreation area to the west would be framed by new building wings which allows for more design freedom in this landscape.
Ms. Meyer asked for clarification of the context to the east; Mr. Schneider responded that two–story row houses are located immediately east of the 1959 wing of the school along Upshur Street. Mr. Freelon questioned the organization of the western portion of the classroom addition as a single–loaded corridor with a south–facing corridor: he observed that this layout may be inefficient and results in problematic solar heat gain, notwithstanding the shading devices that are proposed. Mr. Schneider responded that the single–loaded configuration is intended to provide a thinner building volume that allows for a larger open–space area to the south; the design also opens up the interior circulation space to the outdoor space, helping to reduce the insular character of the existing interior. He noted that a similar single–loaded configuration is used at the Stoddert Elementary School in Washington. He emphasized that the shading and ventilation features of the design, in conjunction with the proposed shade trees immediately to the south, would result in a pleasant corridor space.
Mr. Krieger offered support for the proposed design, commenting that many of the decisions in the proposal seem very sensible. He said that designing the classroom addition as a continuation of the double–loaded corridor would result in an unpleasant interior; he therefore supported the proposal to expose the corridor along the south facade, expressing confidence that the solar heat gain would be controlled satisfactorily. He also supported the diverse range of landscaped spaces that are proposed for the site, noting the difficulty of achieving this result in conjunction with the enlarged building footprint and parking area. He commended Mr. Schneider for the concept proposal and encouraged development of the final design.
Ms. Meyer commented that the building design appears to have been studied very closely while the site design is less precise; she emphasized the importance of considering the impact of the building on the streets and city. She observed that the site has two major street frontages, but little care has been given to the appearance of the project from 14th Street on the west; she described the site design as jamming many programmatic elements into this area, with inconsistent planting that does not suggest a landscape facade. She also questioned the proposal to replace the community garden with a parking lot, commenting that the project would not be a good neighbor to the nearby houses. She suggested designing the parking area as a courtyard, perhaps useable for basketball or other functions rather than simply striped for cars; another approach would be to design this area with alternating bands of pavement and grass. She offered support for many of the building features, including the overall massing and location of the addition, and for the investigation of the historic building's natural ventilation system. Mr. Schneider offered to describe the open space areas in more detail, beginning with the patio adjacent to the atrium; Ms. Meyer said that the design of the parking area makes clear that the site plan needs further attention, noting that the two lots both have inefficient dead–end configurations and would be bad neighbors at a strategically important location on the site. Ms. Plater–Zyberk agreed that the parking lots are problematic; she supported the idea of designing the parking as a multi–use plaza, perhaps serving sometimes as a playground or basketball court, with further study of the geometry of the layout.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk questioned the proposed design for the north facade of the addition, suggesting that the historic window form of the 1929 building be repeated rather than changed; she recommended considering a design approach of simply completing the intended 1929 design. Mr. Schneider said that this approach was initially developed, but the staffs of the Commission and the D.C. Historic Preservation Office had encouraged finding a new design direction for the addition while relying on its materials and massing to suggest completion of the 1929 design. Ms. Plater–Zyberk acknowledged this prevailing approach to designing additions to historic buildings but urged reconsideration of this choice, commenting that people will just wonder why the design isn't quite right. Mr. Schneider noted the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for such projects; Ms. Plater–Zyberk clarified that these standards are not part of the National Historic Preservation Act, and Mr. Schneider acknowledged that varying interpretations are possible. Mr. Powell agreed with Ms. Plater–Zyberk that the addition should balance the 1929 addition more accurately; he described the proposed design as somewhat lopsided, and he suggested further consideration of this issue. Ms. Plater–Zyberk added that the westernmost part of the addition does not necessarily have to match closely the 1959 addition to the east. Mr. Luebke noted the extensive staff discussion of how to design the classroom addition as a coherent element that balances both the 1929 and 1959 portions of the existing building; numerous options were considered, and the resulting approach was to use a single window type that is recombined in varying ways. Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that the solution may be too ambitious.
Mr. Krieger supported the comments about redesigning the parking area. He also noted that modern windows and brick would not exactly match the historic facade elements, and an exact replication of the 1929 facade would therefore be infeasible; he offered general support for the approach of a complementary facade that is not a literal replica, observing that many symmetrically massed buildings have slightly asymmetrical window configurations. He said that a more problematic element may be the large groups of windows at the western end of the proposed north facade, which have the effect of diminishing the appearance of the 1929 design; he suggested a more sensitive design treatment of these windows, which he described as "somewhat ungainly." Mr. Schneider summarized the issue of determining how to avoid the problems of too little or too much symmetry.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk observed that the first–floor height of the addition–continuing the height of the existing building–would be substantially above the recreation space to the south, resulting in substantial retaining walls, ramps, and stairs in the site plan. She suggested consideration of ramping down the first–floor level of the addition to come closer to the grade of the playground. Mr. Luebke offered to work further with the design team on this issue.
Chairman Powell summarized the overall enthusiasm of the Commission for the project with comments on several issues for further study. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the concept proposal.
F. D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
CFA 21/MAR/13–7, Justice Park Apartments, 1421 Euclid Street, NW. New multi–unit residential building. Final. The submission was approved earlier in the meeting without a presentation, following agenda item II.A.
At this point Chairman Powell departed, and Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk presided for the remainder of the meeting.
G. Department of the Treasury / U.S. Mint
Mr. Simon noted the reassignment of staff from the U.S. Mint and introduced April Stafford, now the Mint's liaison to the Commission, to present the three submissions of medals and commemorative coins. He also noted the presence of Don Everhart, the Mint's lead sculptor–engraver.
1. CFA 21/MAR/13–8, Congressional Gold Medal for Raoul Wallenberg. Design for a gold medal and a duplicate in bronze. Final. Ms. Stafford summarized the legislation authorizing a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of Raoul Wallenberg for his achievements and heroic actions during the Holocaust in World War II. Bronze duplicates of the medal will be available for sale to the public; she provided the Commission members with a sample of the bronze duplicate of a previous medal. She described Mr. Wallenberg's early life, his wartime actions in Hungary while serving as a Swedish diplomat, and his disappearance in 1945.
Ms. Stafford introduced Ezra Friedlander, representing the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Commission that was founded to commemorate the centennial of Mr. Wallenberg's birth. Mr. Friedlander said that his grandfather was one of the people saved by Mr. Wallenberg; the gold medal will help to perpetuate Mr. Wallenberg's memory, contributing to the goal of the centennial organization.
Ms. Stafford said that no specific inscriptions are required for the medal; the proposed text, chosen in consultation with Mr. Wallenberg's family in Sweden, includes "Hero of Heroes," "One Person Can Make a Difference," and "He Lives On Forever Through Those He Saved," as well as Mr. Wallenberg's name and "Act of Congress 2012." Some alternatives also include his birth year of 1912 or the lifespan "1912–?" to signify his disappearance near the end of World War II. She presented fourteen alternatives for the obverse design, all featuring a portrait of Wallenberg; she noted that obverse #2–B is newly added to the presentation, and she distributed printouts of this design to the Commission members. This alternative, combining features of #2–A and #7, is preferred by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC); the family's preference was obverse #7, which they said has the best likeness of Mr. Wallenberg. She presented six alternatives for the reverse, noting the suggestions of the artists for the combination of obverse and reverse designs; she said that both the family and the CCAC prefer reverse #6.
Mr. Krieger expressed support for a medal honoring Mr. Wallenberg. Noting that this is his first review of a U.S. Mint submission, he offered several overall comments rather than a specific preference for an alternative. He supported the use of the powerful inscription "He Lives On Forever Through Those He Saved" as well as the informative text "Act of Congress 2012;" however, he questioned the inscription "Hero of Heroes" as a needless comparison to other wartime heroes. He suggested rendering the lifespan as "1912–Unknown" rather than "1912–?" for clarity. He also urged simplicity in the design elements; for example, he discouraged the complicated and cartoonish design of reverse #5 showing a group of people being led over a bridge to a city that resembles Manhattan. Mr. Freelon emphasized the importance of the family's preferences; Mr. Krieger agreed in supporting the family's preference for the portrait, although perhaps not for the inscriptions.
Ms. Meyer suggested omitting the text "1912" or "1912–?" altogether, commenting that the phrase "Act of Congress 2012" would provide a sufficient biographical suggestion of Mr. Wallenberg's centennial year and allow for straightforward further research by future viewers of the medal. She offered support for obverse #7 as preferred by the family, noting the simplicity of detail and text that would result in a more legible medal design in comparison to some of the more complex alternatives. Mr. Everhart responded that the medal's relatively large diameter of three inches will allow for more detailed rendering than on a typical coin.
Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk noted the consensus to support obverse #7 and the apparent support for the family's preference of reverse #6. She acknowledged the medal's large scale but nonetheless questioned whether reverse #6 would be successful, observing that it includes a large foreground document that is relatively simple, while the surrounding background depictions are small and complex. She suggested consideration of reverse #2, noting that it features text that is not included in the preferred obverse #7. For reverse #6, she suggested refinement such as reducing the size of the foreground document in order to give greater emphasis to the background scene and the people at each side; Mr. Freelon supported this revision. Mr. Luebke noted the need for coordination of the obverse and reverse text on the preferred alternatives; he added that the multiple inscriptions on reverse #6 may be excessive. Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that one design solution for reverse #6 could be to omit the lower text, move the document downward, and allow more room for the other design scenes; she reiterated the advantage of reverse #2, which emphasizes only text rather than a scenic depiction.
Upon a motion by Mr. Freelon with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission recommended obverse #7 and a revision to reverse #6 with the comments provided.
2. CFA 21/MAR/13–9, National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin program. Reverse design for five–dollar gold, one–dollar silver, and half–dollar clad coins. Final. Mr. Simon described the program of three commemorative coins sharing a similar design. The submission includes only the reverse design; the obverse proposal would be a future submission resulting from the Mint's forthcoming public design competition. Mr. Freelon said that the Commission may prefer to see both sides in a single review in order to evaluate their relationship; Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk confirmed the Commission's typical preference for considering both sides together. Ms. Stafford responded that some of the coins in the baseball program would have a curved surface, the first time that the U.S. Mint has used this shape; the production process requires substantial research and development that results in an unusually lengthy timeframe for this program. The design competition for the obverse, as specified in the program's authorizing legislation, further constrains the production schedule. These factors have resulted in the Mint's request for review of the reverse prior to submitting an obverse design. Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk asked if the competition entrants for the obverse design would therefore benefit from knowing the reverse design. Ms. Stafford responded that the reverse design may not be fully developed in time for the competition period, but the general character of the reverse–resembling a baseball–is already specified in the legislation; she confirmed that this would be publicized to the competition entrants.
Ms. Stafford summarized the legislated program of three commemorative coins to benefit the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The one–dollar and five–dollar coins are to have a curved surface, if feasible. She provided the Commission members with a sample of a curved coin from Australia, noting that other mints have also produced such curved coins, and confirmed that the sample is approximately the size of the proposed one–dollar coin. She said that the reverse design, common to all three coins, would depict a baseball; the obverse design to be selected in the competition is required to be emblematic of the game. Mr. Luebke and Ms. Stafford clarified that the three coins would be of different sizes and metals; the half–dollar clad coin would be flat but would otherwise share the design of the curved five–dollar gold and one–dollar silver coins. The gold coin would be approximately the size of a circulating nickel; the half–dollar coin would be similar in size to the circulating half–dollar.
Ms. Stafford summarized the six required inscriptions; the reverse would include "United States of America," "E Pluribus Unum," and the denomination, while the remaining inscriptions would be on the obverse. She added that the design competition will also allow additional obverse inscriptions. She presented eight alternatives for the reverse, noting that the alternatives would be the same for each of the three coins except for different wording of the denomination. She said that two of the alternatives–numbered 2–A and 2–B–have been newly developed in response to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), which recommended revisions to the text font and placement in alternative #2. She noted the CCAC's comment supporting the placement of "United States of America" across the baseball's "sweet spot," as seen in #2, 2–A, and 2–B, a feature that would be recognizable to fans of the game.
Mr. Freelon supported the curved alignment of the text across the baseball, as seen in alternatives #1, 2–A, and 3; he questioned whether the lettering height is correctly following the perspective of the surface. Mr. Everhart responded that legibility may be an issue, and the lettering size cannot be decreased beyond a certain limit toward the edge of the coin. He noted the additional constraint that the lettering would be polished, and the baseball will be highlighted with a frosted finish.
Mr. Krieger expressed disappointment that the coins would not be closer to the actual size of the baseball, as seen in one of the samples that was provided. He supported the placement of the lettering on alternatives #2–A and 2–B, emphasizing their appeal for baseball fans by suggesting the finger placement for certain baseball pitches. He also said that some of the other alternatives have a flat rather than round appearance for the baseball's surface. Ms. Plater–Zyberk observed that the phrase "E Pluribus Unum" follows the stitching alignment in alternative #2–A but not in 2–B; Mr. Everhart responded that the artist's intent in 2–B is for "E Pluribus Unum" to be parallel to "United States of America." Ms. Plater–Zyberk commented that the perspective of curvature is questionable in each of the alternatives; Mr. Freelon reiterated that he shares this concern, and Ms. Meyer agreed that the curving text does not follow the baseball's centerline. Mr. Everhart responded that some of these issues can be addressed in the sculpting process, when these details will be easier to visualize.
Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk noted the support for reverse #2–B; Ms. Meyer agreed, commenting that the single line of lettering across the center of 2–A becomes too distorted near the edges of the coin. Mr. Krieger suggested reverse #2, which combines "United States of America" and "E Pluribus Unum" into a single area of the baseball and avoids the problem of edge distortion. Mr. Everhart responded that the CCAC had wanted "United States of America" to stand alone in one part of the design; Ms. Stafford added that the CCAC had also objected to the denomination text in #2 being larger than "United States of America." Ms. Meyer commented that the combination in #2 of the text "E Pluribus Unum" and the denomination "One Dollar" for one of the coins could suggest a confusing conflation such as "Out of Many Dollars, One." Ms. Meyer and Mr. Krieger agreed that "E Pluribus Unum" should be placed alongside "United States of America" rather than with the denomination.
Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk summarized the consensus of the Commission to support reverse #2 with adjustments to correct the perspective geometry and perhaps to reduce the font size of the denomination. The Commission confirmed this recommendation.
3. CFA 21/MAR/13–10, 2013 Presidential One Dollar Coin Program–First Spouses. Designs for the seventh set of five ten–dollar gold coins and bronze medals: Ida McKinley, Edith Roosevelt, Helen Taft, Ellen Wilson (1913–14), and Edith Wilson (1915–21). Final. (Previous: CFA 20/OCT/11–4, 2012 issues.) Ms. Stafford summarized the legislation authorizing the series of coins and medals, which corresponds to the series of one–dollar coins depicting each of the U.S. presidents. The obverses have a portrait of the First Spouse, based on historic photographs from various collections; the reverses are to have images emblematic of the spouse's life and work. She noted the similar designs for the coins and medals; the coins would bear additional inscriptions that are required for legal tender.
Ms. Stafford presented four obverse and three reverse alternatives, noting the preference of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) for obverse #1 and reverse #2. Mr. Freelon supported the CCAC preferences and noted the quality of the portrait in obverse #1. He said that the concept of reverse #2–a close view of Mrs. McKinley's hands while crocheting–provides an interesting counterpoint to the facial portrait on the obverse, avoiding the problem of presenting a face on each side.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk observed that the wrists in reverse #2 are treated differently in relation to the border: the wrist toward the right extends through the braided motif to the edge line of the composition, while the wrist toward the top stops short of the border which results in the hand having a disembodied appearance. She acknowledged the Commission's usual preference for keeping design elements out of the border ring, but said that in this composition the extension of the wrist through the border motif would be preferable.
Mr. Krieger questioned whether the subject of reverse #2–Mrs. McKinley crocheting–is satisfactory in comparison to the more active alternatives. Mr. Luebke said that the other reverse alternatives may be too similar to the use of a portrait on the obverse, which could suggest a two–headed coin as noted by Mr. Freelon. Mr. Krieger said that the depiction of Mrs. McKinley's work as a bank teller, as shown in reverse #1, could be expressed as a close–up view of her hands with money; Ms. Meyer commented that this solution could be misinterpreted.
Upon a motion by Mr. Freelon with second by Ms. Meyer, the Commission recommended obverse #1 and a modified version of reverse #2 for Mrs. McKinley. Mr. Luebke noted that three of the four obverse alternatives use the profile pose that the Commission has often requested.
Ms. Stafford presented seven obverse and four reverse alternatives honoring Edith Roosevelt, noting the CCAC's preference for obverse #2 and reverse #3. Mr. Freelon agreed with the CCAC's preference for obverse #2. Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested adjusting the coin text so that "Liberty" is not so close to Mrs. Roosevelt's nose; Mr. Krieger agreed, and Mr. Everhart confirmed that this adjustment would be feasible.
Ms. Meyer offered support for obverse #1, commenting that the pose in #2 appears overly deferential; Ms. Plater–Zyberk agreed that Mrs. Roosevelt appears to be bowing in obverse #2. Mr. Krieger joined in supporting obverse #1. Ms. Stafford recounted the discussion by the CCAC of the alternative portraits: the pose in #2 is known by the family as the "goddess pose" and is based on a famous portrait of Mrs. Roosevelt; Mr. Everhart added that the historical portrait was a favorite of President Roosevelt's. Ms. Stafford said that the CCAC had similarly leaned toward obverse #1 until learning of this historical information, and then shifted its support to #2. The Commission members agreed that the portrait in #2 is the best choice within the historic context.
For the reverse, Mr. Krieger offered support for alternatives #1 and #3; he noted the intriguing inclusion of Augustus Saint–Gaudens in the conversational group depicted in #1. Ms. Plater–Zyberk offered tentative support for the CCAC preference of #3 but said that some features should be corrected; Mr. Luebke noted that the Commission can also choose not to support any of the submitted alternatives, and can instead request new designs. Ms. Meyer said that capital on the column in reverse #3, the central feature of the design, is poorly proportioned and would not convey a good impression of the White House restoration work during Roosevelt's presidency; she nonetheless supported the subject matter as a concept. Mr. Freelon agreed, supporting the concept but questioning the assemblage of design elements.
Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk asked if the Commission members prefer to support reverse #1. Ms. Meyer noted the potential conflict of the portraits on reverse #1 in combination with the obverse portrait. Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested a simplified version of reverse #3, perhaps including only the White House, the text identifying its restoration, and the year 1902; Ms. Meyer agreed that a simplified design would be preferable to the proposed overlapping composition of objects at three different scales. Mr. Krieger observed that eliminating the large central column from the design would likely require extending the depiction of the White House across the width of the design, eliminating the panel of text on the left; he suggested a more thorough redesign of reverse #3 while agreeing that its overall idea is powerful.
Ms. Meyer suggested that the Commission not recommend any of the submitted reverse designs, but instead recommend the concept of reverse #3 depicting the restoration of the White House, with the request for a revised design that is simpler and more accurate. The Commission members agreed with this response.
Greg Weinman of the U.S. Mint asked for clarification of the Commission's advice on revising reverse #3. Mr. Freelon said that placing the column at the center to create a symmetrical composition is a promising approach, but the resulting design elements are asymmetrical and fighting each other. Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested shifting the column away from the center. Mr. Krieger noted that this solution would shrink the area available for the text; he also suggested more careful study of the proportion of the capital in relation to the column, while acknowledging that the small scale may make such details unimportant. Ms. Meyer suggested using an accurate architectural elevation of the column and the White House, rather than the perspectival view which gives the appearance of a distorted elevation. Ms. Plater–Zyberk also suggested studying the accurate shape of the White House columns, which may have entasis.
Mr. Luebke asked for examples of the Commission's request for simplification. Ms. Meyer suggested that the range of text treatments be reduced to a single design, perhaps moving the year "1902" to join the phrase "The White House Restored," and eliminating the graphic of a rose. She also questioned the characterization of this work as restoration. Mr. Luebke responded that the work during Roosevelt's administration did not literally restore the initial design but returned the building to a classical style, eliminating the Victorian alterations of the late 19th century; Ms. Plater–Zyberk and Mr. Krieger concluded that the term restoration is acceptable for this work. Ms. Meyer said that the depiction of the divider, a traditional drafting tool, is intriguing in conjunction with the term "restored" but may suggest the wrong impression of the scope of alterations in this period; she therefore suggested consideration of eliminating this element. Mr. Krieger commented that eliminating the divider would exacerbate the problems with the depiction of the column, leaving it as just a large undefined central element; he suggested consideration of removing the column. Mr. Everhart offered to study shifting the column slightly to the left, and reducing the text size to fit in the remaining space; Mr. Krieger agreed. Ms. Plater–Zyberk commented that the resulting longer depiction of the White House south facade across more of the design may be an improvement. Ms. Meyer reiterated her request to use an architectural elevation of the facade; Mr. Krieger questioned whether people would recognize it in this form, commenting that the curved plane of the south facade may be difficult to understand–particularly at a very small scale.
Vice–Chairman Plater–Zyberk summarized the consensus of the Commission to provide numerous comments for the revision of reverse #3 without recommending a specific solution.
Ms. Stafford presented four obverse and four reverse alternatives honoring Helen Taft, noting the CCAC preference for obverse #2 and reverse #4. Ms. Meyer commented that the depiction of Mrs. Taft's hair is awkward in obverse #2, resembling a poorly fitted wig. Ms. Plater–Zyberk observed that Mrs. Taft's mouth is downturned in obverse #2, giving her an awkward and sad appearance; Ms. Meyer said that #1 would be preferable, if not for the CCAC recommendation of #2. Mr. Krieger said that Mrs. Taft's appearance in obverse #4 is more youthful; Ms. Plater–Zyberk asked about the source material for the obverses, and Ms. Stafford confirmed that they are based on historical White House portraits. Mr. Krieger suggested obverse #4, observing that the hair in this portrait is simpler. Ms. Meyer commented that the artwork on obverse #1 appears to be more refined than on #4. Ms. Stafford noted that #1 was the CCAC's close second choice for the obverse.
Mr. Freelon suggested supporting obverse #2 with revisions to the hair; Ms. Plater–Zyberk and Ms. Meyer suggested #1. Ms. Meyer commented that the modeling of shade and shadow is superior in #1; Mr. Krieger agreed while noting his continuing support for #4. Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk summarized the consensus of the Commission to support obverse #1.
For the reverse, Ms. Plater–Zyberk and Ms. Meyer asked if the close–up depiction of cherry blossoms in #4 is accurate; Ms. Stafford confirmed that the design is based on actual images of the correct variety of cherry trees. Ms. Plater–Zyberk commented that the design of #4 is appropriately simple for the small scale and clearly relates to an important initiative of Mrs. Taft. Mr. Freelon added that the artwork of the other reverse alternatives is inferior to #4. Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk noted the consensus of the Commission to support reverse #4.
Ellen Wilson (1913–14)
Ms. Stafford presented five obverse and five reverse alternatives honoring Ellen Wilson, who died during President Wilson's first term. She noted the CCAC's preference for obverse #2 and reverse #5, which illustrates the White House rose garden that Mrs. Wilson created. Ms. Plater–Zyberk commented that obverse #1 and #2 are the best. She acknowledged the Commission's usual preference for profile poses, as in obverse #2, but said that the portrait in #1 is preferable; the other Commission members agreed.
Mr. Freelon and Ms. Meyer supported reverse #5, commenting that placing the roses in the context of the background image of the White House is more legible than the isolated image of roses in reverse #4. Mr. Krieger offered support for #1, which depicts Mrs. Wilson's work with underprivileged children as well as the background roses; he acknowledged that this design may be too subtle, and agreed to support #5.
Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk noted the consensus of the Commission to support reverse #5. She questioned the placement of the White House abutting the upper left border of the coin, suggesting that these elements be separated further. Mr. Krieger commented that this revision would be difficult to discern at a small scale. Mr. Everhart responded that the adjustment of the White House position would be feasible and would improve the perception of its silhouette. Mr. Freelon suggested that the roses could be reduced in size to allow more room for the White House depiction; Mr. Krieger agreed that a slight reduction could be helpful, perhaps in conjunction with reshaping the stems. The Commission members agreed to convey these comments.
Edith Wilson (1915–21)
Ms. Stafford presented three obverse and four reverse alternatives honoring Edith Wilson, whom President Wilson married during his first term. She noted the CCAC's preference for obverse #3 and its request for additional reverse designs emphasizing the theme of Mrs. Wilson's stewardship following President Wilson's stroke. Mr. Freelon commented that obverse #3 has a flat appearance, lacking the depth of the other alternatives; he supported the similar pose in obverse #1 as having a more nuanced rendering of the face. Mr. Everhart responded that the portrait in #3 has more subtlety than is conveyed in the presentation graphics, which may have been produced with insufficient contrast. Mr. Krieger offered support for #3 on that basis; Ms. Meyer agreed, and Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk noted the consensus to support obverse #3.
Several Commission members expressed agreement with the CCAC's request for additional reverse alternatives, commenting that the poses and clothing give the appearance that Mrs. Wilson is a secretary or domestic servant. Ms. Meyer emphasized that Mrs. Wilson should have a more dignified appearance. Ms. Stafford responded that the Mint is preparing a revision to reverse #2, depicting Mrs. Wilson assisting the President at his desk. The Commission members said that the problems extend beyond the clothing; for example, in reverse #4 both figures could be seated rather than standing. The discussion concluded without a recommendation for the reverse, requesting additional alternatives on the theme of Mrs. Wilson's service to the President during his infirmity.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:35 p.m.
Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Last Modified: April 19, 2013