Meeting of the Commission of Fine Arts
20 March 2014
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 9:13 a.m. (The starting time of the meeting was published as 9:00 a.m., one hour earlier than usual, due to the anticipated length of the agenda.)
(Due to the absence of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman presided at the meeting.)
Mr. Luebke noted the absence of a quorum and said that the Commission members present would provide recommendations that would be subject to confirmation by a quorum at the next Commission meeting. Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk asked if the lack of a quorum would delay the projects from moving forward. Mr. Luebke said that the Commission's recommendations made today would be provided to the applicants using the normal procedure, including advice to the D.C. government for reviews under the Shipstead–Luce Act and Old Georgetown Act, with a notation that the actions are provisional until confirmation by a quorum; he anticipated no changes to these recommendations at the time of confirmation. He added that applicants do not need to treat the lack of a quorum as an impediment to moving forward on the basis of the recommendations provided today.
A. Approval of the minutes of the 20 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. Krieger (subject to confirmation by a quorum).
B. Dates of next meetings. Mr. Luebke presented the regularly scheduled dates for upcoming Commission meetings: 17 April, 15 May, and 19 June 2014.
C. Report on the 2014 National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs program. Mr. Luebke reported on the federal grants program administered by the Commission to support Washington arts organizations. The application deadline for the 2014 program was on 1 March; 22 organizations have applied, all previous recipients of grants, and the staff is in the process of evaluating the applications for conformance with the program's guidelines. He said that the appropriated budget for the program is slightly less than $2 million, which will be apportioned in accordance with an established formula; disbursements are anticipated in June 2014.
D. Report on the approval of one object proposed for acquisition by the Freer Gallery of Art. Mr. Luebke reported the Chairman's approval earlier in the week of an artwork being considered by the Freer Gallery of Art for acquisition at auction; the Freer bid successfully on Wednesday to acquire the work for its permanent collection. He said that the artwork from India is a red sandstone sculpture of the head of the Buddha dating from the 2nd to 3rd century A.D., an early period of classical Indian sculpture.
Mr. Luebke reported that Ms. Fernández has announced her forthcoming resignation from the Commission; he expressed appreciation for her conceptual insights as a member of the Commission since 2011.
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 Mr. Krieger with second by Ms. Plater–Zyberk, the Commission approved the revised Direct Submission Consent Calendar (subject to confirmation by a quorum).
Appendix II – Shipstead–Luce Act Submissions: Ms. Batcheler reported several substantial updates to the draft appendix, in addition to minor notations of dates for receipt of supplemental information. Three projects listed on the draft appendix with provisional or unfavorable recommendations (case numbers SL 14–052, 14–066, and SL 14–072) have been removed based on consultation with the applicants in order to allow more time for submission of design revisions. The provisional recommendation for an additional project (SL 14–060) has been revised to be unfavorable due to the lack of sufficient design information on the design. Upon a motion by Mr. Krieger with second by Ms. Fernández, the Commission approved the revised appendix (subject to confirmation by a quorum).
Appendix III – Old Georgetown Act Submissions: Mr. Martínez said that a sentence has been added to one recommendation (case number OG 14–112) to request removal of a flagpole that was installed without review, based on a recent site visit by the staff in conjunction with the submitted project for replacement windows; he said that the applicant may choose to submit the flagpole for review. He also noted that the recommendations of the Old Georgetown Board for two projects (OG 14–116 and 14–117) include delegation of final review to the staff; he anticipated that satisfactory submission materials would be provided to the staff in the next few days. Upon a motion by Ms. Fernández with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the revised appendix (subject to confirmation by a quorum).
B. Department of State
CFA 20/MAR/14–1, Foreign Missions Center, Walter Reed Army Medical Center—western portion bounded by 16th Street, Alaska Avenue, Fern Street, and Main Drive, NW. Master plan. Concept. Mr. Lindstrom introduced the draft master plan for a new Foreign Missions Center, a development that would be similar to the International Chancery Center near Connecticut Avenue. The Foreign Missions Center would be a compound of chanceries located in the northwest portion of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center between 16th Street and Georgia Avenue, N.W.; the medical center has been relocated through the Defense Base Closure and Reassignment process. The Department of State is taking control of the 43.5–acre northwest section of the medical center; the District of Columbia government will oversee redevelopment of the remaining portion. He asked Clifton Seagroves, the director of diplomatic properties for the Office of Foreign Missions at the Department of State, to begin the presentation.
Mr. Seagroves said that U.S. efforts to acquire diplomatic properties overseas are often challenged, in part because few appropriate sites are available for foreign chanceries in Washington; the Foreign Missions Center would therefore help the U.S. to negotiate the acquisition of secure facilities abroad, improving the protection of U.S. government personnel working overseas in substandard facilities. He said that the center would also help the U.S. economy by creating jobs and by enabling the federal and D.C. governments to collaborate on the economic revitalization of this neighborhood.
Mr. Seagroves said that the Department of State has authority under the Foreign Missions Act to accept a transfer of property from the Defense Department, and to develop and manage such property in perpetuity. The Department of State will fund the development using proceeds from the assignment of parcels to foreign governments, and will not seek Congressional appropriations. He said that the Commission, in addition to reviewing the master plan, could review individual development plans for new buildings or the reuse of existing buildings at its discretion. He introduced architect Charles Enos of EYP Architects and Engineers to continue the presentation.
Mr. Enos said that the master plan is approximately 65 percent complete, and the project team has started developing the design guidelines. The draft environmental impact study is nearing completion, and the historic preservation review process is underway; he noted that the U.S. Army has nominated the entire Walter Reed site as a historic district, and archeological research will begin soon.
Mr. Enos said that the northwestern area of Walter Reed is a natural landscape that will provide a buffer for the adjoining residential neighborhood. The grade slopes steeply from north to south. Historic features include individual buildings and structures contributing to the potential historic district, as well as landscape features and Main Drive along the southern edge of the Foreign Missions Center. Analysis of the buildings has identified several for reuse as chanceries and recommended retention of the memorial chapel. He asked architect Rick Kuhn of EYP to continue the presentation.
Mr. Kuhn described the general parameters of the master plan. The Walter Reed site is surrounded by dense residential neighborhoods on three sides, and Rock Creek Park is on the west; he said that the park character extends across 16th Street onto the site. The process has included identifying defining features, determining which to emphasize to create a distinctive character for the campus, and trying to relate this site to the District portion of Walter Reed. He noted that the roads would tie into the city's street grid, including prominent north–south axes. The scale of blocks would be defined by streets, and surrounding neighborhood blocks might inform the subdivision of the site. He said that the project team has analyzed axes between significant buildings, identified important open spaces, and considered how to take advantage of the steep slope; the master plan calls for preserving as many large trees and as much tree canopy as possible.
Mr. Kuhn said that the most important site elements identified include Dahlia Street, Main Drive, the chapel and its precinct, and the extension of Rock Creek Park. Dahlia Street and a new linear park, called 14th Street Park, would be the foundation of the design, which he described as an open space framework plan. He said that the flowing green route of Main Drive would give identity to the campus and establish the character of the open space on the south side. A primary goal is making improvements to the east–west corridor of Dahlia Street, which will be a hub for the District portion of Walter Reed; the District plans for Dahlia Street to be lined with five– to seven–story buildings, which will step down to a residential scale as they move away from Dahlia. This will influence the treatment of Dahlia Street on the Foreign Missions site; the master plan calls for a more urban character on the blocks north of Dahlia Street and a more open character on the blocks to its south. The greatest massing would occur along Dahlia, with buildings of three to four stories, scaling down on the north with two to three stories against residential neighborhoods and two to four stories elsewhere. While the division of parcels would be flexible, the intention is to maintain the urban character of the north side of campus with smaller lots, and an open character to the south where larger lots would be used. He summarized that the area to the north can accommodate up to 13 smaller lots, creating a potential of up to 24 lots on the entire site. Mr. Krieger noted the summary of historic resources and asked if Building 40 would be retained; Mr. Enos responded that if a user is not found for Building 40, it can be removed and its site subdivided further. He said that the proposed alignment of 14th Street has been shifted slightly, part of the effort to create parcels of roughly equal size and to provide flexibility in retaining buildings if they can be used by foreign governments. Mr. Seagroves added that at the International Chancery Center, most of the lots were approximately one acre, but this size may be too limiting; the proposed Foreign Missions Center could have a maximum of 24 lots but some may eventually be combined, and the number of chanceries would probably be ten to twelve.
Mr. Krieger commented that the master plan has several aspects that make sense, particularly the emphasis on Dahlia Street and the extension of 14th Street to connect with Main Drive. He observed that the drawings appear to depict trees of two different sizes on the federal and D.C. portions of Dahlia Street, but the landscape should be continuous across the Walter Reed site. He noted the unclear treatment of the western portion of the site, which currently extends the character of Rock Creek; he suggested the potential reuse of many office buildings and houses on the site that are slated for demolition, perhaps as affordable housing. He also raised the question of density, an issue of concern in Washington during the recent study concerning height limits; he observed that the master plan envisions this area becoming less dense and more pastoral or suburban, which may not be the right approach for this large area of urban land. He summarized his reaction that the site planning for the two major roads and the basic decisions governing the plan seem appropriate, while broader concerns about the proposed low density and accommodating future growth could be addressed.
Mr. Seagroves responded that the neighbors have stated a preference for low density. Mr. Krieger said that neighbors always have this preference; he advised considering this a plan for the next century, commenting that suburban aspirations may be outdated; he said that the proposed density seems odd given the potential of the planning process to use land more efficiently now than in the past. Mr. Seagroves emphasized that the master plan is intended to allow flexibility, including the potential subdivision of larger lots. Mr. Enos added that the grid would allow for a variety of lot sizes and subdividing in all areas of the campus. Mr. Luebke noted the basic assumption of this planning process that the Foreign Missions Center would accommodate stand–alone foreign missions, each having all needed services and a security barrier; these necessarily require a certain irreducible size, with the result that the campus will have a much lower density of development than mixed–use commercial and residential buildings.
Mr. Enos clarified that the remnant forest area to the west is proposed to become two parcels, one at the top of the hill and one at the bottom; the goal is to preserve the tree canopy and treat this as an area covered by trees. Mr. Krieger suggested establishing a setback requirement on the campus to support this approach, and also recommended more density for the parcels near the center of the complex, where neighbors would not see it.
Ms. Fernández said that the master plan embodies decisions about the site's character that will not be changed for decades. She commented that if the goal is a relatively low density, then the landscape is crucial. She questioned the drawing convention for rendering the trees to be very large, as if they would immediately fill up the space; this is not the actual condition, and Dahlia Street would not be lined by such large trees for many years. She said that the campus would not resemble the master plan unless transitions between the forested area and the more open areas are carefully studied. She suggested consideration of treating the northwest portion less like a preserved woodland, and more as a gradual transition into the overall master plan.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk commented that a master plan is caught between the desire for flexibility and the desire for predictability. She acknowledged the need for flexibility in parcel sizes, but emphasized the need to establish from the beginning a predictable character for the site through the public realm, particularly streets. She supported extending the wooded area downhill; she also emphasized that the treatment of Dahlia Street will be key, as it can knit together the Walter Reed site. She said that the master plan should fundamentally concern the creation of a special character for this district that will attract people and make them proud to be here. She gave the example of embassy row in London, an enclave of mansions in a landscaped setting; it has a tremendous amount of presence and grace because these embassies were probably originally private residences and so possess a relationship in scale, setback or build–to lines, fencing, and other elements, which should also be the goal for the Foreign Missions Center. She said that the onus to guarantee an attractive character will therefore be on the design guidelines. She recommended being as specific as possible when writing the design guidelines, particularly concerning the depth of setbacks. She emphasized that the Department of State should control the identity of the site as a whole through the harmony of its public space. Mr. Krieger agreed, adding that occupants could ask for variances if necessary.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that Dahlia Street should be considered the center of the campus, not a roadway that separates it. She suggested increasing the density along Dahlia Street, commenting that streets gain character through having an envelope of buildings of symmetrical density or height. She added that the density could be transferred here, or elsewhere, from the three northernmost lots. She recommended giving Dahlia Street a continuous character through consistent treatment of its landscape and of such elements as fences, gates, and setbacks. She added that lots should face Dahlia rather than the smaller streets, unless the sides of buildings resemble front facades. She emphasized that the key issue is establishing a character that will create a wonderful and appealing place.
Mr. Krieger agreed that the design of Dahlia Street should be more structured. He observed that cities historically had small lots, and if someone wanted more space they bought two or three lots. He said that flexibility could be arranged in different ways, and careful structuring of the lot size now would help to control the character. Mr. Seagroves responded that the plan already addresses this; foreign governments could select how many small lots they need. Mr. Krieger said this would be desirable but is not obvious from the master plan, which appears to designate some large lots at the outset.
Mr. Krieger asked if the landscape would be the responsibility of the occupants of individual lots; Mr. Seagroves responded that the treed areas would be common spaces maintained by the State Department, while the parcels would be maintained by foreign governments. Mr. Krieger said that the landscape edge where the parcels meet Dahlia Street would need to continue and amplify the campus character, either through the careful supervision of the State Department or through strict design guidelines.
Mr. Luebke noted that the master plan has been submitted for concept approval, and he summarized the apparent consensus that the Commission has no fundamental problems with it but has questions about details. He asked if the Commission members want to have a further review. Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk said that the comments have been clear, generally supporting the layout while suggesting changes in how massing is allocated. She recommended approving the concept and having a subsequent review with details about design guidelines and the landscape. Upon a second by Ms. Fernández, the Commission adopted this action (subject to confirmation by a quorum).
C. District of Columbia Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development / Hoffman–Madison Waterfront, LLC
1. CFA 20/MAR/14–2, Southwest Waterfront Development. Public spaces, amenities, and landscapes associated with Parcels 1, 2, 3b, 4, and 5, District Pier, Transit Pier, Market Pier, 7th Street Park, the Mews, Yacht Club Plaza, and Maine Avenue, SW. Concept. (Previous: CFA 19/JUL/12– 6.)
2. CFA 20/MAR/14–3, Southwest Waterfront Development. Waterfront Park, Water Street and M Place, SW. Concept. (Previous: CFA 19/JUL/12–7.)
Ms. Batcheler introduced the proposal for the public spaces, amenities, and parks associated with Phase I of the Southwest Waterfront, known as the Wharf, submitted by the D.C. government in cooperation with the developer Hoffman–Madison Waterfront. She noted that the Commission had approved the concept designs for the public spaces and several buildings in 2012. She asked Shawn Seaman of Hoffman–Madison Waterfront to begin the presentation.
Mr. Seaman said that the project planning has been underway for eight years, and the groundbreaking was held the day before. He described the project as a component of the D.C. government's Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, which is part of the Deputy Mayor's plans to revitalize the city's waterfronts and rivers. He noted that the master plan and the horizontal elements—parks and public spaces—have been treated as direct submissions from the D.C. government, while the individual buildings have been submitted under the Shipstead–Luce Act jurisdiction. The project encompasses approximately 25 acres of land and 50 acres of water, and it has been divided into two phases; the current submission involves only the horizontal elements of the first phase. He recalled that the master plan was first presented to the Commission in November 2010, followed by several submissions in 2012 resulting in concept approval of multiple components but not the Waterfront Park, which is part of the current submission. He introduced the designers of the parks and public spaces: architect Hilary Bertsch of EE&K; Michael Vergason of Michael Vergason Landscape Architects; and Paul Josey of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects.
Ms. Bertsch summarized the goals and development of the design. She said the intention is to activate the entire ground level and provide continual opportunities to see and connect with the water. The wharf, running the length of the site, would be the key public space and would tie together all of the other public spaces. Attributes common to all of the open spaces would include high–quality materials, landscape elements, and a simple kit–of–parts approach to designing the vertical elements, as previously suggested by the Commission.
Ms. Bertsch described the treatment of the wharf. Its sixty–foot width would include twenty feet for a promenade zone along the water, marked with wharf pylons and a double line of trees; twenty feet for a shared zone, the primary circulation space that would accommodate limited one–way vehicular traffic and access for fire and service vehicles; and twenty feet for a mixed–use zone along the buildings. A loop road would lead to the wharf from Maine Avenue. Materials would include three kinds of granite, with colors used to mark the different zones; she confirmed that the result would effectively be two primary paving materials plus an accent granite, as well as a metal trench marking the separation between the promenade and shared zones. The steps at some locations would be wide enough for sitting. She said that the trees would be planted in high–density soil with an irrigation system, and the largest available size would be selected. The long waterfront would have timber fendering and seats along the edge; views from the water to the city are being treated as of equal importance to views from the city to water.
Ms. Bertsch said that the pylons along the wharf, using standardized design components, would carry plumbing and electrical hookups as well as lighting; the only change to these features from the approved concept was determining the dimensions of materials. The ten pavilions along the wharf would also use a standard design system. Three of the pavilions would be built in Phase I: a pair flanking the District Pier and a slightly larger pavilion fronting Parcel 3b.
Ms. Bertsch then presented the other open spaces, progressing from northwest to southeast, and noted that all of the larger spaces would be designed to accommodate special events. The Market Pier would be adjacent to the day docks, a series of boat slips for short–term use; the docks would also be used by the existing fish market to the west. The Market Pier would be simple in character; barges would line up along this pier, and it therefore would not have seating along the edge. It would be paved in scored concrete, and the end would be marked with a sign made of wood slats and letters along with a controlled metal gate providing entry to the slips.
Ms. Bertsch described the Transit Pier, associated with Parcel 2, which would include the Transit Pavilion made of southern yellow pine treated for durability. Steps providing views of the water would lead down to docks and an event space. She emphasized the effort to simplify the design of elements such as the cable railing. Mr. Krieger asked about access to the pier without using stairs; Ms. Bertsch indicated the proposed elevator and a ramp along the stairs, similar to New York's High Line. She described the series of water elements along the wharf; a simple water feature would terminate the vista between Parcels 1 and 2, and these buildings would be canted to allow for the views. The District Pier would be the largest public space; at the northeast end near Maine Avenue it would have a water court and entry into an underground parking garage, then continue to the Pierhouse building, the Civic Commons, an exhibition pier, and the Dockmaster Building. The exhibition pier, 50 feet wide and 450 feet long, would have berths for tall ships as well as exhibit and event space. Its 40–foot–high rigging pylons would be the tallest in the project, and the pier would have a functioning maritime area. At the water court, the steps down to the parking garage would be marked by a cascade of water over walls of Carderock stone. Ms. Bertsch confirmed that this is a locally quarried stone that would also be used at the Pierhouse building. In the middle of the Civic Commons, the Pierhouse restaurant would be designed for maximum transparency and would serve as a gateway to the wharf. The Dockmaster building would house the dockmaster office on the second floor, with offices, storage, and public restrooms below; it would be constructed of wood with a standing–seam metal roof.
Ms. Bertsch described the three smaller, more intimately scaled corridors fronted with retail spaces: Pier Mews, Avenue Mews, and Jazz Alley. Pier Mews between Parcels 3a and 3b, would use the landscape to soften the spaces; a series of overhead arches would be constructed in the metal vernacular style of the wharf and rigging pylons. The Avenue Mews, also between Parcels 3a and b, would connect to the Capital Yacht Club (CYC) Piazza; stanchions would mark the buildings on either side of the entrance. Jazz Alley, the smallest, is intended to be the most active. Located between Parcels 4 and 5, its entry would be indicated by a sign, and a small platform would provide a performance space; strings of lights would cross overhead.
Ms. Bertsch said that the uses around the CYC Piazza at the end of Avenue Mews would include a hotel, a high–end residential building, and a signature restaurant; the piazza would also include a large tree and moveable planters to define the turnaround. She said that ample soil would be available for the tree's health, notwithstanding the location above the project's two–story parking garage.
Ms. Bertsch said that Maine Avenue would be the formal urban face of the project, extending along the entire length of the waterfront redevelopment; its treatment must meet D.C. Department of Transportation standards. Existing trees would be kept and a second row of trees planted. Sidewalks would be paved in concrete using the same color palette as the granite on the wharf. The transitional zone would include cafe seating and plantings. A ten–foot–wide bicycle lane would run the entire length, and she indicated a series of bicycle racks and Capital Bikeshare stations. Intersection designs would be safe for all forms of traffic, and at Parcel 11 the bicycle lane would turn off from Maine Avenue to Waterfront Park.
Mr. Vergason presented the design of 7th Street Park, which would connect the community to the wharf and water. The park would be the centerpiece of a residential square, framed by a hotel to the northwest and a residential building to the southeast. He described the proposal as a composition of soft and supple forms designed as a raised oval of turf and trees, rolling over a large storm sewer pipe below; the park is intended to provide a calm area along the active wharf. The pier, part of Phase II, would slope down to the water, connecting to the wharf at an overlook which will have stepped seating. Paving would include precast pavers as well as cast–in–place concrete walks in the form of a series of loops connecting to the wharf. The curbless shared–use street would include bollards to control car access. A rain garden on the south would absorb most of the park's runoff; south of the rain garden, an interactive fountain would have looped jets framing a cloud of mist. The planting palette would include five types of native deciduous trees and bluegrass turf.
Mr. Josey then presented the design for Waterfront Park, a community park for the existing residential neighborhood of Southwest D.C., and adjacent to existing piers for tour boats and boats for marine police and firefighters. The park would highlight views to the water and includes a lawn and a fountain for playing, a plaza, a pergola overlooking a stepped fountain with a small waterfall, a bocce court, and a small storage structure. A line of mature willow oaks would be preserved, and water would be treated in bioswales and rain gardens along the waterfront. Materials would transition from stone to wood along the stairs and dock, recapitulating the geological transition from the Piedmont to the Coastal Plain that is characteristic of the Washington region. A pergola circling a third of the lawn would be asymmetrical in section and constructed of powder–coated steel. The plaza would be used for temporary events and also for emergency helicopter landings, as an occasional parking lot for police cars, and as a turnaround.
Mr. Luebke noted that the Commission had granted conditional approval to these projects in July 2012, and the staff considers the revised proposal to be responsive to the Commission's previous concerns. Mr. Seaman added that the permit application for the horizontal elements would likely be filed in September 2014.
Ms. Fernández opened the discussion with a concern about the generic use of the word "water" in the presentation, observing that the term water alone does not mean anything. While the fountain in Waterfront Park was thoughtfully designed, she said that the other water features seem to have been added without consideration of their appearance or relation to each other. Noting that the wharf will be a space experienced by people walking through it, she emphasized the need for a meaningful relation between fountains and the sounds and shapes of their flowing water. She said that the proposed Theater Alley fountain is generic and appears unrelated to any other feature; the cascade at the elevator and the children's play fountain also appear completely unrelated. She recommended devising a coordinated design approach for the fountains as had been done for the vertical features of the open spaces.
Mr. Vergason said that the intention for the fountain at 7th Street Park is to introduce the presence of water as people approach from a distance because Washington Channel would not be visible, and also to create a playful, cooling place in a sunny spot among the trees; he added that the design responds to the geometry of other forms nearby. Mr. Seaman said that the Theater Alley fountain would be located adjacent to a parking garage entrance and a truck loading area for the theater, resulting in very limited room for interrupting the road surface. The fountain is proposed as a means to soften this constricted space rather than as one of a series along the waterfront. Ms. Fernández said her concern is not about the size of the space but that the fountain's design is unrelated to the language of anything else on the wharf; Ms. Plater–Zyberk added that this fountain looks pre–fabricated. Ms. Fernández emphasized that such elements need to be designed, regardless of whether constraints are present; in this case, the appearance is that an attempt was made to create an inviting space but a generic element was added without thinking about how the space would be used. For example, she said that sound is important as a sensory effect that sets a tone, and an understanding is need of how these different aspects of fountains will affect the experience of moving through this space.
Ms. Fernández commented that the designers' previous approach of making every element a unique event had produced a carnival–like environment; she commended them for toning this effect down, noting that the wharf and the water are themselves the main events and do not have to be enlivened at each intersection. Mr. Krieger commented that the project could use more editing, which may become necessary because of budgetary constraints. He suggested that presentations to the Commission should be required to include two renderings of spaces, one with people and one without, because spaces need to be understood without people. He said that the project still appears to be trying too hard, contrasting it with the remarkable quays of London and Rome that are simpler than this design; the proposal seems overloaded, apparently due to fear that otherwise people wouldn't come. He commended the project as both ambitious and thoughtful, reflecting a strong commitment to Washington's public environment, but nevertheless recommended further simplification. He also encouraged selecting larger trees, suggesting a nine–inch rather than the proposed eight–inch caliper.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk commented that the project is a wonderful opportunity, and she agreed in recommending simplification. She observed that the few steps along the wharf accommodating the level change might pose a hazard; with so much activity along the wharf, she said that the proposed ground surface is generally too busy, and its paving needs to be treated entirely as background. She recommended running the granite and other features uninterrupted from one end of the wharf to the other, and she stressed the need for consistency as well as simplification: the wood of the pier should start at the pier rather than extend into the wharf, and the patterns around fountains should start at building lines. She indicated the stairs in one rendering, which are depicted as feathering where the levels change; she said this would be both annoying and hazardous. She advised restudy of the level changes, bearing in mind that people should not have to pay attention to them; in this case, she said that the level change could become an overlook since it would not be very useful for sitting. She added that the color of steps should change at the nose and not at the riser so they can easily be seen by people descending; Mr. Krieger added that the six–inch risers might be too high for older pedestrians.
For the Transit Pier, Ms. Plater–Zyberk reiterated that wood should be restricted to the pier and not used on the wharf; similarly, the paving at the theater fountain should not extend to the wharf. She observed that the rigging pylons would be used sometimes independently and sometimes to hold up roofs; she recommended avoiding a proliferation of vertical rigging elements for uses that could be combined. She also recommended drawing all of the vertical pieces in one rendering to see if their number could be reduced.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk acknowledged the need for the sign at the Market Pier but said that its arched shape and wood construction are unrelated to the language of the wharf; the vertical elements throughout are metal, and the sign should perhaps be related to these—made of metal, and not an arch. Mr. Luebke noted that this issue had also been discussed concerning the metal arches at the mews. Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that the Jazz Alley sign, with its freestanding letters, is best because it does not use an arch. She suggested that all signs in the smaller spaces could be letters hung from the buildings at a higher level, or hung at their current level but with fewer of them. She advised against adding more vertical supports if infrastructure could simply be hung between the closely spaced buildings, as is done in cities with narrow streets such as Rome. Mr. Seaman responded that the current design calls for cable–supported lights, and the arches shown in the renderings may be from an earlier version of the design; Ms. Plater–Zyberk and Mr. Krieger support this revision.
Mr. Luebke noted that the size of the Jazz Alley sign is not indicated in the presentation materials; while the D.C. government has established a special sign district for the Wharf, the signs would also be subject to Commission review under the Shipstead–Luce Act. He said that signage is a larger issue, recalling that two years ago the Commission had lengthy discussions about the use of commercial signs at the top of buildings in this project. He emphasized that the project team needs to understand that the Commission will be looking at signs carefully.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk then discussed the proposed treatment of Maine Avenue. She supported the new line of trees and the bicycle lane, but observed that this would leave only ten feet for the sidewalk and restaurant seating, which may be tight; she suggested considering fewer trees and installing planters flush with the ground to accommodate cafe tables. Mr. Seaman clarified that the proposal includes a ten–foot–wide sidewalk and a five–foot zone for low–impact landscape that would be interrupted by intermittent paved areas for seating, adding that the ten–foot–zone is required by the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative. Ms. Plater–Zyberk said the paving would be best if it were flush with the landscape, not raised above.
Discussing the other parks, Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that 7th Street Park was described as a quiet and calm place, but she observed that the curving geometry of the walks seems very active. For Waterfront Park, she said that the fountain may be too complex, observing that the park is designed with numerous levels and multiple shapes; she added that placing wood next to water is a potential maintenance problem, and she recommended simplifying the design.
Mr. Krieger reiterated that the wharf itself should be more consistent along its length; it is interrupted at many points with distinctive alleys, mews, and fountains, but along the edge the design should be calmer, as in all great quays. He said that some things would always change, such as buildings and canopies, but on the whole there should be fewer interruptions such as canopies and gaps. He recommended a more continuous line of trees to balance all the varied elements, and treating the wharf as a consistent datum line to enable people to understand the variations along its route. Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that the wharf will be a three–dimensional space that needs to be modulated; she noted that the location of gaps between buildings will be clear and does not need to be marked by pavement changes. Mr. Krieger agreed that such events do not always have to be called out.
Mr. Luebke asked for clarification of the large area of pavement depicted in front of the planned church building at Parcel 11. Mr. Seaman confirmed that this is an interim streetscape design for the first phase; Phase II will include a park in this location designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh, which had been presented to the Commission in 2012 as a series of boulders and undulating forms running from Maine Avenue to the Washington Channel. He said that the depicted Phase I concrete paving would be a temporary, relatively inexpensive forecourt to the church that can be removed in two years when the M Street Landing project is built. He added that the design for this park will be presented again when the church is completed and Phase II has begun. Ms. Plater–Zyberk commented that the sidewalk and planting along this park should be continuous with Maine Avenue.
Mr. Luebke noted the Commission's previous concept approval of the open spaces and said that no action is needed on the current submission. He summarized the overall support of the Commission members for the project's direction and said that the staff can work with the project team on addressing the Commission's specific comments. Noting the procedural complexity of the project, he suggested that the Commission could allow the future final design submissions to be placed on the consent calendar if staff concludes that the design is satisfactory. Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk requested that the project be presented again to the Commission—particularly to allow for further comments from Ms. Meyer, the landscape architect on the Commission, who is not at today's meeting. Ms. Fernández agreed, commenting that even a small change would be significant on such a large site.
D. District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
1. Shipstead–Luce Act:
SL 14–073, The Museum of the Bible (Passages), 300 D Street, SW. Additions, alterations, and rehabilitation of Washington Design Center Building and adjacent office building. Revised concept. (Previous: SL 14–001, 21 November 2013.) Ms. Batcheler introduced the revised concept design for alterations and additions to a complex of buildings proposed to house the Museum of the Bible, a private museum dedicated to the exhibition of items from the Green Collection of rare biblical texts and artifacts. She summarized the previous review in November 2013, when the Commission supported the project's general height, scale, and configuration while raising several concerns about the design of the building and site. The concept has been revised following consultation with the D.C. government and the Commission staff. She introduced Harry Hargrave from the Museum of the Bible to begin the presentation.
Mr. Hargrave commented that the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board has recommended approval of the concept, and that the project team has been working closely with the D.C. Office of Transportation and the D.C. Office of Planning in designing a lively streetscape beyond the building face, which is at the property line. He added that one goal is to improve the pedestrian experience of walking to the museum along 4th Street from the National Air and Space Museum to the north. He introduced Michael Vergason of Michael Vergason Landscape Architects and architect David Greenbaum of SmithGroup JJR to present the design.
Mr. Greenbaum said that the primary aim is the creation of a visually coherent composition for the museum that will reinforce the flatiron shape of the warehouse building; the design should also be solemn in character to reflect the importance of the collection. He said that the site encompasses two distinct components—the museum and an adjoining office building. The original 1923 warehouse building on the west side of the site would be converted into the museum; the 1982 addition to its east, the Washington Office Center, will remain an office building under separate ownership; and a replacement infill structure would be constructed between them to enclose the museum's vertical circulation and long–span spaces.
Mr. Greenbaum said that the allowable height of 130 feet allows construction of a two–story addition above the warehouse to accommodate a 500–seat theater and a 500–seat ballroom under a roof of distinctive form responding to the plan's asymmetrical parti. A single level of 3,000 square feet would also be added above the Washington Office Center to house the Green Scholar Institute, which is affiliated with the museum. He described the warehouse's existing fenestration that reflects the original functions of cold and dry storage; the proposed infill building would abstract the window proportions, coursing lines, and setbacks of the historic building. He summarized the Commission's recommendations to unify and simplify the overall composition and improve the 4th Street entrance.
Mr. Greenbaum described the options explored for the upper floors of the museum, all of which had sought to maintain the overall continuity of the building skin. The conclusion was that curvilinear forms would reduce the apparent mass of the rooftop addition. In the revised version, the glass volumes of the addition have been reduced and simplified. The proposed materials include clear and translucent channel glass of different opacities, which will allow sunlight to play on the surfaces in various ways, and zinc panels in other visible areas. The roofline would be set back from the parapet, and the roof structure would extend over both the warehouse and infill. The additional glazing of this addition would allow views north up 4th Street to the Mall and would extend into a clerestory along the south elevation, serving to integrate the composition. He indicated the rooftop Biblical garden along Virginia Avenue that would be screened by a trellis.
Mr. Greenbaum described the redesign of the infill volume which he said is quieter than before, with no projecting forms or folded planes. The north and south facades would be a minimally articulated brick masonry skin and punched windows with stainless steel surrounds. The facades would have handmade bricks of unusually long proportions, 1½ inches high by 20 inches long, and faced with two different textures; the intention is to convey a sense of antiquity. Facade setbacks would respond to the interior atrium, which will project on the south, and would serve to emphasize the historic warehouse. Windows would align with stair landings, and joints and column bays would relate its scale to the historic warehouse. Ground–floor windows would engage with the activity along D Street. He emphasized the effort in designing the infill to avoid overwhelming the museum by using the correct scale and a simple unmodulated mass that picks up the historic structure's horizontal and vertical lines.
Mr. Vergason presented the site design, describing three objectives for the public right–of–way: gracious entry to the museum, establishing a connection to the Mall, and creating a sustainable streetscape. Two large willow oaks on 4th Street and two red oaks on D Street would be preserved, as previously requested by the Commission. A permeable unit paver would be used to enhance the sense of entry and provide better growing conditions for the two oaks. Elsewhere, sidewalks would be exposed–aggregate concrete, similar to the Mall sidewalks and to recent improvements made in the area east and north of this project. Improvements on the north would extend along the full length of D Street to the Metro entrance at the northeast corner of the block, and on the south along most of the Virginia Avenue frontage. Trees would typically be paired in large planters, and groups of three trees would flank the historic loading dock area along D Street. The D Street design includes traditional planting at the curb and a 10–foot–wide sidewalk along the facade; all planters would be bioretention areas along the curb, except at the two existing trees. The sidewalk to the south would be aligned along the building face, and plantings would be consolidated with street trees along the curb. He noted the goal to provide at least 1,000 cubic feet of soil per tree.
Mr. Greenbaum emphasized the intention to create an active streetscape and strong civic setting for the museum. Open loading–dock doors would be installed to evoke historic features, and windows along the loading dock would be added to allow views from the sidewalk to the interior ticketing area and lobby. He described the idea of architecture as a palimpsest recalling historic conditions and of a new building inserted within a historic fabric. He added that the circulation space would recall the railroad spur that formerly entered the building, and some parts of the dock's base would be restored while others would be left as they are to show changes over time.
Mr. Greenbaum then presented the proposed changes to the Washington Office Center. A single–story 14–foot–high addition would be constructed on the roof, set back slightly to allow for a small terrace; low walls would screen mechanical equipment. The existing building has a terra cotta base and curtainwalls of black reflecting and spandrel glass; the terra cotta would be coated with a black material to reduce the structure's apparent scale and visually strengthen the base.
Mr. Krieger asked why the terra cotta base of the office building would be coated; Mr. Greenbaum responded that the terra cotta had been introduced in the 1980s around the entire block so that the multiple buildings would read as a single monolithic structure, but the intention now is to make the buildings more distinct. Mr. Krieger asked if the additional floor would have the same glazing as the rest of the office building; Mr. Greenbaum said that it has not yet been designed, but the intention is to make the new level more transparent. Mr. Krieger suggested that the additional floor be reduced in size, observing that it would make the large and ungainly office building look even bigger; he recommended pulling the floor back slightly from the existing building face. Mr. Luebke noted his understanding from initial consultations that the additional floor would be set back several feet; Mr. Greenbaum said that it had never been shown with a setback. Mr. Krieger reiterated that a setback would be preferable. Mr. Greenbaum agreed to restudy this addition but said that design flexibility, such as altered column alignments, would be limited due to the presence of office tenants during construction. Mr. Krieger suggested that the revisions should begin with the glazing.
Mr. Krieger commented on the overall improvement of the design, especially at the museum entrance, but he wondered if the addition above the warehouse still looks too aggressive. He asked if the loading dock and canopy are being preserved because they are historic. Mr. Greenbaum responded that the building will be landmarked, and restoration of these features is part of the historic preservation agreement. Mr. Krieger asked if the canopy would be new or historic; Mr. Greenbaum said that the proposed canopy would recall the profile, location, and intent of the historic canopy. Mr. Luebke clarified that the D.C. Historic Preservation Office has requested the reconstruction of the dock canopy; the proposed design is a slight modification of the original canopy's character and material. Ms. Plater–Zyberk questioned the point of recreating something that is not the original design; Mr. Greenbaum said that the purpose is to re–engage the building with history, noting that the original design is not well documented and therefore some liberties can be taken.
Mr. Krieger observed that this reconstructed dock appears to be primarily for show. He said that the element was probably not important in people's experience of the building; its reconstruction for historic reasons seems like a narrow, even capricious interpretation of what should be preserved, given that the project already retains much of the historic warehouse. He recommended taking far more liberty at this street–level location because a change could make a significant difference. He questioned the appeal of walking next to an old dock, and he suggested making this area more inviting, perhaps by retaining the shape of the canopy but using different materials. He observed that the museum would have an sequence of entrance areas—security, vestibule, lobby—and seeing them from the sidewalk would be more important than reconstructing old dock doors. He emphasized that a dark and gloomy space could be made light and interesting. He reiterated that the design has otherwise been improved; he supported the simplification of the infill facade and the greater interaction among the facades on the Virginia Avenue side, although he asked if the south infill facade needs to be so severe.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that her objection to the infill is the small, diagonally arranged windows that resemble the fenestration in a stairwell. She observed that the D Street frontage of the infill would include a lobby on all floors, and the elevation on the ground floor would be much more welcoming with more glazing; Mr. Krieger agreed. Mr. Greenbaum said that a more open facade was considered, but the decision was to use the window openings as a scale device. Ms. Plater–Zyberk responded that this is unnecessary because of the large scale of the surrounding buildings. She recommended more careful consideration of the experience of people walking from the Metro and encountering this long, relentless blank wall, which would also be an inviting canvas for graffiti. Mr. Krieger suggested continuing to explore other means of combining glazing with masonry to distinguish the infill from the adjoining buildings.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk reiterated the concern about coating the terra cotta on the office building; it may not be necessary to differentiate the buildings this way, and the coating could cause maintenance problems. Mr. Greenbaum said they had identified a coating product; Mr. Luebke asked him to provide this information to staff. Ms. Plater–Zyberk acknowledged the dated 1980s character of the existing terra cotta but said that the best solution may be to leave it alone, allowing the building to express its period coherently.
Mr. Luebke summarized the Commission action from November 2013 as generally supporting the project while identifying issues concerning the articulation of the volume, entrance, and elevations; he noted that these issues have been addressed, perhaps allowing for a concept approval, and the remaining issues could be addressed as part of the design development phase. Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk said that the issues raised in the current review are fundamental—particularly increasing the glazing at the ground–floor level so that the building's public spaces and the street can interact—but she agreed that the project team could consider these concerns in the next phase of the project, and she supported approving the current concept submission. Mr. Krieger agreed. Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk said that the project would not need to be presented again to the Commission if the staff concludes that the comments have been adequately addressed.
2. Old Georgetown Act:
OG 14–055, Georgetown University, 3700 O Street, NW. New eight–story residence hall. Concept. Ms. Barsoum introduced the proposal for a residence hall at Georgetown University, which results from the 2010 campus plan that establishes a goal of providing on–campus housing for more of the university's students by 2017. She said that the campus plan reflects an agreement between the university and the neighborhood, and it was adopted by the D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment without the Commission's involvement. The design firm for this project, Sasaki Associates, is also currently working on the master plan for the campus. She described the proposed location along a well–travelled pedestrian walk linking the main quadrangle and the medical complex. The building would be visible from the Georgetown neighborhood at 35th Street two blocks to the east, with views across the parking lot and cemetery of an adjacent private parochial school. She said that the Old Georgetown Board has reviewed this project on four occasions, including an initial request to present the project in the context of the overall campus planning; the subsequent reviews have addressed issues of siting and the building design. She noted that the report from the Old Georgetown Board has been distributed to the Commission members. She asked architect Regina Bleck of Georgetown University to begin the presentation; Ms. Bleck introduced architect Vinicius Gorgati and landscape architect Gautam Sundaram, both of Sasaki Associates, to present the design.
Mr. Gorgati provided an overview of the campus and its pedestrian routes in relation to the proposed site, noting the nearby entrance to the student center. He said that the master plan, currently being prepared, includes a green space along Reservoir Road north of the project site to provide an improved north entrance to the campus and establish a transition between the residential, academic, and medical areas. The master plan envisions that new residential areas would be related to the existing active mixed–use spaces of the campus, which are prevalent near this site; he indicated the nearby pedestrian bridge to the student center. Immediately adjacent are the six–story Reiss Science Building, forming the southwest edge of the project's triangular site; a campus residential village to the north; and the campus boundary with a chain–link fence to the east. He noted the topography in the area, resulting in building entrances at multiple levels.
Mr. Sundaram described the site as a green area defined by the existing pedestrian walk. He indicated the existing grove of mature trees, many of which are being incorporated into the landscape plan; some trees would be removed or relocated, and many additional trees would be planted. He said that the landscape design has been considered in relation to nearby areas, with the goal of integrating the site with the open spaces to the north and south as well as providing a transition between these areas. The design also promotes a more vibrant and active outdoor space, supported by shared uses in the ground floor of the proposed building. Main entrances would be located at the south and northwest corners of the triangular residence hall; the plaza between them would relate closely to the building's ground–floor activities. A landscape buffer would be provided between the plaza and the Reiss Science Building, which has air vents in this area; he indicated the staggered configuration of proposed benches that would create social spaces along the plantings. South of the plaza, stairs and a ramp would follow the downward grade to the areas of campus to the south. He summarized the overall goal of creating a series of social spaces along the building facade, defined by plantings and paved areas, rather than simply a pass–through walk.
Mr. Sundaram described the site proposals in greater detail. The building plaza would be extended southward to form a forecourt at the south entrance, and would continue around the building to the east. The remainder of the east side would be a series of landscaped terraces and lawns that could serve as social spaces or a stepped amphitheater, along with vegetation that extends the landscape of the adjacent girls' school. At the upper end of the lawn, a fenced patio would have access from the second floor for the use of the building's residents. A new ornamental fence is proposed along the east side of the site, adjoining the school, to replace the existing chain–link fence. Adjacent to the building's northwest entrance, a walk would extend along a portion of the north facade to provide access to the bicycle room as well as emergency egress for the residents; outdoor bicycle racks would also be provided in this area. He said that the plaza would have pervious paving, and much of the stormwater would be retained on the site; a green roof, cisterns, and ground filtration would also be part of the stormwater management system. Precast pavers would relate the plaza to the building materials, and moveable tables and chairs would be provided; other walks would have asphalt–block pavers. He said that the site material selection would be studied further based on comments from the Old Georgetown Board and campus staff, with the goal of relating the project to the neighboring areas of the campus. He described the proposed lighting, intended to provide a sense of liveliness as well as safety: fixtures would include a series of light poles, lighting beneath the benches and railings, and possibly bollard lights, in addition to the ambient lighting from the extensive first–floor glazing of the proposed building. The poles would be a modified version of the standard acorn–style fixture used on the campus, using shielded LED lamps; a shorter pole would be used around the plaza, designed to relate more closely to the architecture of the proposed building. Birch trees would be added around the plaza to frame spaces. He presented a series of views to illustrate the experience of moving through the site, along with photographs of the existing conditions.
Mr. Gorgati presented further details of the architectural proposal. Above the northwest entrance, the corner of the building would be articulated as a "Living and Learning Tower." A fireplace lounge at the corner would be a focal point for the building's residents. The adjacent vestibule would provide access to either the residential elevators to the east or the ground–floor gathering space to the south. The additional building entrance at the south would lead directly to the gathering space, which would open onto the plaza; the south corner would similarly be treated as a tower feature. The upper floors would include corner lounges in addition to the dormitory suites. The seventh floor would step back at the south corner for a small terrace, and the eighth floor would have a more extensive setback along the southwest facade. He described the proposed materials, intended to relate to the traditional campus vocabulary of stone with limestone highlights. Stone would be used for the first–floor base of the building and for the towers at the northwest and south corners; the remainder of the upper facades would be brick with inlays of limestone. He emphasized the transparency of the first–floor facade along the plaza. A belt course above the first floor would separate the stone base from the brick facades, and an additional belt course above the sixth floor would serve as the base for several seventh–floor oriel windows. He concluded by noting the intended variety in the overall window pattern that would alternate between narrower windows, often paired, and wider windows.
Mr. Luebke summarized the extensive review process with the Old Georgetown Board; earlier in the month, the Board decided that the project has reached a stage that could be approved as a concept. He noted that the Board's report includes comments concerning development of the lobby details, the height of the piers, the thinness of the belt course above the first floor, the slot configuration of the windows, and additional concerns with paving and lighting. However, he said that the current design presentation includes revisions subsequent to the Board's recent review, which is not the normal procedure; some of the Board's comments may therefore no longer be applicable to the presented design.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk expressed appreciation for the thorough consideration of the design, extending from campus planning issues to building details. She supported the overall approach to the campus plan, the landscape, and the building layout. She discouraged the proposal to introduce a new style of light pole for this project, commenting that this gesture is unnecessary on a campus; she recommended simply extending the standard campus poles through the site, perhaps supplemented by lower–level landscape lighting. She questioned the use of narrow vertically proportioned windows, which she said suggest a prison–like appearance; she noted that similar windows are a very disliked feature of some 1970s college dormitories. She also questioned the use of the stone as superficial "wallpaper" extending up the facades of the two towers; she encouraged more consideration of its traditional use, as seen in the proposal for a first–floor stone base for the building, and emphasized the importance of developing a clear architectural language for the materials. She said that brick is more appropriate as a curtainwall material for the upper floors, with the limestone highlights as proposed.
Mr. Krieger agreed that the overall plan is well considered, commenting on the ingenious adaptation of the building to the topography. He said that the proposed landscape treatment would be a significant improvement compared to the existing conditions, provided that the proposals for additional trees are carried out. He also agreed with the concern about the use of materials. He asked for clarification of some vertical white panels shown at the towers; Mr. Gorgati responded that these would be limestone. Mr. Krieger noted that in modern times stone is routinely used as a curtainwall material. He nonetheless questioned the intended use of material in this project, such as the awkward relationship of the first–floor stone base to the rising topography that results in brick reaching the ground at some parts of the building. He said that the view from the northwest seems severe, although somewhat softened by the inclusion of trees in the rendering; he questioned why the single tier of dormitory rooms at this corner is clad in stone. He also questioned the consistency of the metal lintels, which are usually used at the transition from the stone base to the upper brick, while at the northwest corner the lintel is used within a continuing stone wall. He suggested further study of the facade details to address such issues. He added that stone does not necessarily need to be used for both entrance towers; the south corner, with its powerful tapered profile, could be the only location for the vertical extension of the stone. He also agreed that the narrow windows are too slit–like, and more generally he questioned why the rooms have relatively little window area.
Mr. Gorgati responded that the Old Georgetown Board had also expressed concern with the lintel locations, and he offered to develop design alternatives. He also said that an earlier design using brick for the northwest corner would be revisited, using a concept of emphasizing the south tower as the project's anchor; the relationship of the base to the topography would also be studied further. Mr. Krieger observed that the fireplace lounge would serve as an anchor for the northwest corner of the building. Mr. Gorgati added that the window configuration would also be reconsidered as the project moves into design development. He noted an earlier design that used only the larger window size, which resulted in insufficient diversity on the elevations; the current proposal is derived from the syncopated window pattern of historic buildings on the campus. He noted that this building would be approached at its acute corners, and the windows may therefore not be prominent features. He agreed with Ms. Plater–Zyberk that the use of materials should have more authenticity and architectural meaning.
Mr. Luebke noted that many of the existing campus buildings are brick, aside from several stone buildings on the central quadrangle and at the business school. Nonetheless, Georgetown students had advocated the use of stone when reviewing the initial design for this project. He emphasized that the issue of materials had been raised by the Old Georgetown Board, with the result of using stone for the building's ground floor and anchoring towers while the prevailing material for the building is brick. Mr. Krieger observed that a transition of materials is part of architectural tradition, such as with classical buildings have a stone front and brick sides; he supported the use of stone for both the base and the south tower, while the northwest corner could emphasize glass instead of stone. Ms. Fernández supported the comments of the other Commission members, and she discouraged the forced emphasis on verticality which she said is not a desirable goal.
Mr. Luebke said that the Commission could adopt the Old Georgetown Report board, notwithstanding the subsequent development of the design, and could convey the additional comments that were provided; the result would be approval of the concept. Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk confirmed the consensus of the Commission members to support the concept while requesting careful attention to its development and the project's details (subject to confirmation by a quorum). She reiterated the supportive comments on the site plan and building layout, along with concern about the treatment of the facades. Mr. Luebke noted the normal procedure of further review by the Old Georgetown Board, followed by a presentation of the final design to the Commission; he asked if the Commission would instead allow a favorable recommendation from the Board to be placed on the Old Georgetown Act appendix for Commission action. Mr. Krieger requested the opportunity for additional review by the Commission, commenting that development of the design could advance the building to excellence.
E. District of Columbia Department of General Services
1. CFA 20/MAR/14–4, DC KIPP College Prep High School (formerly Hamilton Special Education School), 1401 Brentwood Parkway, NE. New school building. Concept. Mr. Lindstrom introduced the project for a new charter school, known as the DC KIPP College Prep High School, that will occupy the site of the former Hamilton Special Education School, a 1960s D.C. public school located northwest of the Gallaudet University campus. The existing building would be demolished for the new structure. He introduced Brian Pilot of Studios Architecture and David Rubin of the Land Collective to present the design.
Mr. Pilot said the school would be funded by KIPP DC and built under a land lease with the D.C. government. He noted that adjacent Gallaudet University supports the proposed site planning, which takes into account the likelihood of future development along 6th Street, NE. He indicated the location of Union Market directly across the street from the school, the Metro station several blocks away, and four–lane Brentwood Parkway that adjoins the site and has little pedestrian traffic; an existing service road from Brentwood Parkway leads to parking at the rear of the Hamilton School building, backing onto the Gallaudet campus.
Mr. Pilot described the existing two–level building as sprawling across the site, leaving little room for additions, and many of its important spaces lack daylight. Adapting the building for the new use was considered but was found not feasible. The new building, serving approximately 850 to 1,000 students, would have a smaller footprint and a different site orientation, occupying a high point where it would rise behind the athletic field and have a character of monumentality within the landscape. He noted that the KIPP program emphasizes a very structured teaching environment, with visual control and security playing key roles. The building would be approached through an allee of trees leading up a slight grade past the north end of the building to an entry plaza, which would provide views of the site. The long five–story block containing the main entrance and classrooms would run roughly north to south, with two lower blocks extending toward the athletic field on the west. The entrance would lead into a two–story lobby allowing supervision of students and easy circulation to classrooms. The upper two levels would contain mostly classrooms; administrative offices would be located in the middle section overlooking the plaza; and the lower levels would contain a wing for art classes, the cafeteria, and gym, as well as an auditorium extending beneath the entrance plaza. A secondary entry would accommodate public access for community events held in the gym or auditorium when school is not in session.
Mr. Pilot said the building's form and materials result directly from the program. Fenestration would be located to allow the maximum amount of daylight into classrooms and for good views. The primary material would be a whitish–gray brick; its light color is intended to increase the building's monumental appearance. The colors of other materials were selected to create warmth and appeal: a brown aluminum would be used for the fenestration; and wood, protected by an overhang, would be used mostly at eye level.
Mr. Pilot said that athletics has an important role in the school's program. The existing baseball field would be retained, and a new multi–purpose field would be shared with the community. Throughout the campus, the landscape would be designed to promote engagement with learning. Mr. Rubin said that the landscape design was inspired by the numerous tiers of opera boxes at Philadelphia's Academy of Music: at KIPP DC, the topography would be manipulated to create small swells and hollows where students can gather for outdoor classes or to watch sports. The land forms would be created with rubble reclaimed from the demolished school building, layered with soil and other materials and planted with a groundcover. Parking would be located next to the Gallaudet service area and is designed to work with the topography for efficient gathering of stormwater, which will drain to lower elevations for reuse.
Mr. Krieger expressed support for the overall project, commenting that the site plan and topography appear to work well. He observed that the running track appears smaller than regulation size; Mr. Pilot responded that the available space is insufficient for a larger track. Mr. Krieger asked about the design of the faculty entrance to the building from the rear parking lot. Mr. Pilot indicated the entrance on the drawings, noting that it is purposely discreet; he added that almost all students will take public transportation and arrive at the entrance plaza. Mr. Krieger commented that the teachers may deserve a nicer entrance than a simple locked door, and the proposed entry may be too understated; Ms. Plater–Zyberk added that it should at least give shelter from bad weather.
Mr. Krieger suggested that the spaces lining the long corridor in the classroom block could be modulated to relieve its relentless linearity. He observed that a lot of light would enter the corridor from one side, but on the other side light would be partially blocked by a conference room; he suggested further study to assure sufficient balance in the lighting. He commented that the school entrance from the athletic field seems unresolved, appearing like an accidental gap between the gym and the auditorium blocks rather than an intentional decision; he said that this seems strange in comparison to the rigorous architectural form–making elsewhere in the project. Ms. Plater–Zyberk indicated the slightly awkward geometry of the two blocks, with one set back and slightly tilted. Noting the calmness and rationality of the rest of the design, she suggested that the gap between the two blocks should be completed as a unified whole to create a base for the building, or else the blocks should be treated as two distinctly different elements.
Ms. Fernández asked for clarification of the reasoning for the use of wood on the building exterior. Mr. Pilot responded that wood is used to indicate the location of spaces other than classrooms, such as art studios and college counseling offices. Ms. Fernández acknowledged the use of wood as an accent band on several elevations, but observed that on the east elevation it ends abruptly and does not appear to make sense. She said that the expression of interior functions on the exterior was not legible, adding that this delineation would probably not matter to someone viewing the building from a distance. Mr. Krieger said he would interpret the use of wood as a material that refers to entrances and public spaces, as seen on the elevation facing the athletic field although not along the parking lot; Ms. Fernández added that it might be used for areas closer to people, but actually no one would ever get close to the wood. Ms. Fernández commented that the wood is being made to do a lot of things—to serve as a band unifying the building volumes, to provide a warm tone at entries, and to indicate eye level although it is also used at other levels. She concluded that there is a confusion about the use of wood, and she recommended making its use more logical; Mr. Krieger agreed.
Mr. Luebke asked for further comments about the landscape; Mr. Krieger said that it seems reasonably well handled. Mr. Luebke noted that the Commission staff sees many school projects and appreciates the intentional simplicity of this design, which does not try to incorporate a profusion of trendy features. Upon a motion by Mr. Krieger with second by Ms. Fernández, the Commission members approved the concept proposal with the comments provided and delegated review of the final design to the staff (subject to confirmation by a quorum).
2. CFA 20/MAR/14–5, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, 1680 35th Street, NW. Building modernization and additions. Revised concept. (Previous: CFA 16/JAN/14–6.) Ms. Batcheler introduced the proposal for the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, summarizing the Commission's previous review in January 2014; at that time, the Commission had approved the general concept and requested a revised concept submission to address comments concerning the site and building design. She said that the project team has been consulting with the D.C. Historic Preservation Office as well as with the Commission staff. She noted that supplemental drawings are being distributed to the Commission members that provide a comparison of the previous and current elevation proposals, but they are not intended to modify the submitted design that was sent to the Commission members in advance of the meeting. She asked Chris Graae of Cox Graae + Spack Architects to present the design.
Mr. Graae summarized the building history and overall design proposal, emphasizing the revisions since the previous presentation. He described the school's phased construction beginning in 1898 as Western High School in a classical style, with classical expansions in 1910 and 1915, an expansion with a more utilitarian character in 1925, and less significant alterations in the 1980s. He indicated the historical evolution of the building entrances, which provide a potential solution for the current issue of how to design the school's new entrance. The 1898 building had a small portico on the primary east facade that did not include an entrance; porches at each side of the central portico, adjacent to the north and south wings, provided separate entrances for boys and girls. The 1910 expansion included an enlarged portico that included the primary entrance at its base. The roofs and outer columns of the two flanking porches were later removed, exposing the entrance facades with arched openings that were originally behind the porches; these facades remain in place, with infilled openings and extensive alterations from the 1980s. The proposal is to reconstruct these porches in modified form, using the north porch as the school's new primary entrance. He said that this proposal relates to establishing the school's historical period of significance, with an additional proposal to reconstruct the roof balustrade that was created in the 1910 expansion but later removed.
Mr. Graae provided an overview of the building plans, which are similar to those presented in January. He noted that the parking entrance is still shown along Reservoir Road but its relocation continues to be under consideration, pending further coordination with the D.C. Department of Transportation. On the site plan, he indicated the removal of surface parking previously proposed at the northwest corner of the school's large east lawn, in response to numerous objections; the intention instead is to designate other locations for drop–off and visitor parking, in cooperation with the D.C. Department of Transportation and neighborhood representatives. He added that finding a new location for handicapped–accessible parking will be a difficult challenge. He indicated the revised design for the amphitheater on the east side of the portico; its size is substantially reduced, resulting in a larger lawn and less hardscape on the east side of the site, as previously recommended by the Commission. He said that this reduction is partly a result of moving the proposed primary student entrance to the north porch rather than entering directly from the amphitheater plaza.
Mr. Graae described the proposed entrance and portico configuration in more detail, noting the extensive consultation with the D.C. Historic Preservation Office and the Commission staff. The entrance was previously proposed at the lower level, which would become the base level of the atrium at the center of the school. The new proposal to restore the porches would result in entering one level above, which has been the historic entrance level. The side location of the proposed entrance avoids interfering with the gallery space that is planned within the portico base at this level; the gallery would serve as the central public entrance to the school's theater when it is open for special events. Mr. Krieger asked for clarification of the proposed treatment of the five arched openings within the portico base; Mr. Graae responded that the three central openings would be doors to the stepped gallery and theater, while the far north and south arches would have windows. He added that a side door in the portico base would provide access to an interior ramp leading up to the gallery and the student entrance vestibule.
Mr. Graae described the proposed modification of the historic porch design: in order to provide adequate interior space for security screening at the student entrance, the north porch would have a glass wall within the roofed area to enclose much of the porch space that had historically been exterior; this glass facade would be placed slightly behind the reconstructed columns, allowing them to be freestanding as in the historic open porch. He added that the south porch, although not planned for use as an entrance, would be reconstructed similar to the north porch in order to retain an overall symmetrical appearance for the school's primary east facade. He said that a more contemporary design approach for the porches was explored but was discouraged during the design consultations; the current proposal was supported by the review agencies because it restores a feature that was removed.
Mr. Krieger commented that the proposed entrance solution appears to work well. Ms. Plater–Zyberk asked for clarification of the proposed second–floor glass room within the historic exterior portico; Mr. Luebke noted that this feature was part of the previously submitted design. Mr. Graae said that this space, a "glass lantern," would be a reading room adjacent to the media center. He emphasized that its roof would not extend to the historic portico roof, and the room's walls would touch the existing building only along the historic painted brick facade. The existing door openings, currently unused, would provide access to this proposed room. He said that this prominent modern form would convey the rehabilitation of the school on the main facade while only minimally touching the building's historic fabric. He added that the remainder of the portico would be an outdoor terrace with improved access for student use.
Mr. Graae summarized that the alterations to the east facade would be relatively limited, primarily involving the entrance features. He said that the brick has historically been painted, as evidenced by the wide variety of brick types that were used; an area of exposed brick at the portico base, resulting from the recent removal of the paint, would be painted to return it to the historic treatment. He presented the more extensive revisions proposed for the side and rear facades, in response to concerns from the Commission and the community. The range of the color palette has been reduced to give a calmer appearance; the rust–colored elements, intended as a defining feature of the modernized school, would primarily be limited to the interior with only limited use on the facades. The revised proposal would instead use zinc panels for many of the new facade surfaces. The proposed glass facades have been simplified to emphasize the overall sculptural volumes; the frit pattern would be more uniform, resulting in more restrained facades, and the floor lines would not be readily apparent behind the multi–story glass areas. He summarized the intention to create modern doubly–curved volumes to contrast with the orthogonal volumes of the historic building. Mr. Krieger asked about the nighttime appearance; Mr. Graae confirmed that the interior spaces and floor levels would be more visible after dark. He also indicated the simplification of the west facade, including removal of the previously proposed brise–soleil and projecting bay; the facade continues to be organized around the existing off–center smokestack, which will remain as part of the building's mechanical system. He said that the fly loft height has been studied carefully in response to the Commission's previous question about coordination of the drawings; he acknowledged the previous discrepancy and said that the height is now depicted accurately. He emphasized the sightline studies demonstrating that the fly loft would not be visible from the sidewalks of the surrounding streets nor from the second story of the facing houses to the north and south; he added that the height of the fly loft has been reduced as much as possible while still meeting the functional needs of the theater.
Mr. Graae concluded with several perspective renderings of the proposal, noting that some trees have been omitted due to community concern about whether the drawings convey the full architectural proposal. He clarified that the trees are omitted only from the drawn views and would be included in the built project, as supported by the community.
Mr. Luebke summarized the areas and issues addressed in the revisions: the east side of the project, including the entrance and portico as well as the removal of surface parking; the side facades in relation to the lower–scale row houses across the street to the north and south; the composition of the rear facade; and the treatment of the fly loft above the roof. He said that the staff considers the revised proposal to be responsive to the Commission's previous concerns, although some issues remain with the design of the reconstructed porches. He said that the porches are part of a larger proposal to restore lost features such as the roof balustrade and portico entrance steps. He noted that the porches originally had large voids behind their columns, while the current proposal would insert a glass facade behind the columns; the result may not convey the historic character, and may therefore not be worthwhile as a restoration effort. While acknowledging the potential tradeoffs between the historic design character and the modern functions of circulation and security, he suggested that the reconstructed porches could also be designed more in keeping with their original character as open features, such as by revising the location or detailing of any new enclosure, or by omitting the additional enclosure and instead resolving the programmatic entrance needs within the historic space of the building. He summarized the staff's overall support for entering the building through a reconstructed porch, while emphasizing the need for further study of the design at this area.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk commented that a covered exterior porch would be an appropriate feature that provides a sheltered area for people approaching the building's entrance doors. Mr. Graae clarified that the design includes a canopy extending from the proposed glass enclosure, providing rain protection as people enter the building; the canopy would be located between the reconstructed historic columns. Mr. Luebke said that this canopy may further detract from the historic character of an exterior void behind the porch columns. He said that the Commission may wish to take a position on the porch design or allow flexibility for the ongoing consultation process with the D.C. Historic Preservation Office staff.
Mr. Krieger asked for clarification of the proposed glass enclosure in relation to the porch columns. Mr. Graae responded that the glass facade would be placed behind the columns, without touching them, and would have a modern character that is distinct from the reconstructed historical features; he confirmed that the columns would be freestanding exterior elements as proposed, and the glass canopy would similarly not touch the columns. He emphasized that the enclosure of the vestibule space within the porch is programmatically necessary if the porch becomes the school's primary entrance location; Mr. Luebke said that the design may have more flexibility on this issue. Mr. Graae said that the exact alignment of the glass enclosure could be studied further, perhaps pushing it slightly further from the columns.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested a more consistent design language for the building. She observed that the historic form of the portico as well as the porches would be modified by glass insertions, but these features are detailed differently: the portico insertion would be a freestanding glass box with its own roof, while the porch insertions would have glass facades rising to the porch ceiling. She acknowledged that the portico insertion is intended to minimize impact on the historic building fabric, but she observed that the result is a strange space above its roof that would likely attract birds and may therefore end up enclosed with netting. She suggested instead that the modern glass enclosure at the portico, as well as at the porches, reach the ceiling of the historic space while being held back from the exterior columns. She recommended that these modern features have the character of inserted objects rather than new wall surfaces.
Mr. Krieger reiterated his general support for the proposed treatment of the porches, noting that the columns would be exterior and the area behind them would be relatively dark as in the historic design; he said that the proposal would nonetheless be improved by moving the glass enclosure further back from the columns. Mr. Graae offered to study this further. Mr. Krieger emphasized that the overall solution of using a porch as the entrance is superior to the previous proposal for a lower–level entrance.
Mr. Krieger summarized that the proposal responds to the Commission's previous comments. He questioned whether the revision of the side and rear facades has made them better; while supporting the more restrained color palette, he said that detailing the surfaces as simple multi–story volumes of fritted glass may have a more monolithic effect than the previous proposed glass treatment with articulated floor levels. He said that the varied lighting conditions within the building may help to address this concern; Mr. Graae confirmed that the fritted treatment would allow the perception of depth and color behind the glass, which is not adequately conveyed in the computer rendering technique. Mr. Krieger also acknowledged the improved coordination of the fly loft dimensions; Mr. Graae expressed appreciation for the Commission's assistance in identifying the previous discrepancy. Mr. Krieger observed that the sightline studies demonstrate that the fly loft would not be a problematic feature within the neighborhood, despite its prominence on the elevation drawings.
Mr. Krieger noted the lack of community testimony at the current presentation as an indication that the neighbors are satisfied with the revision. Mr. Luebke said that a community comment letter was received the previous week; several of the concerns have been addressed, including removal of the surface parking at the east lawn and of the excavated lower–level entrance, and adjustment to the fly loft height. The letter requests removal of the lantern addition within the portico, which has not been done; questions the materials and massiveness of the rear facade, which has been improved; and supports the revised palette. He noted that further issues of landscape and lighting would likely arise as the project progresses toward a final design submission.
Mr. Luebke suggested that the Commission members may want to approve the concept in its entirety, moving beyond the general concept approval that was given in January 2014; the remaining issues would be noted, including further coordination with the D.C. Historic Preservation Office and D.C. Department of Transportation. Upon a motion by Mr. Krieger with second by Ms. Fernández, the Commission members approved the concept submission with the comments provided (subject to confirmation by a quorum). Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk did not vote for the motion, noting her continued dissatisfaction with the design approach of drastically altering and adding to a historic building.
F. Department of the Treasury / U.S. Mint
Mr. Simon introduced the four submissions from the U.S. Mint. He said that the Commission members have received prints in advance that illustrate all of the submitted design alternatives for each coin and medal. For brevity, the presentations will include only selected designs—including those preferred by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and other consulting groups—but the Commission members may choose to discuss any of the submitted designs. Mr. Luebke added that this abbreviated presentation format results from discussions with the CCAC chairman and the Mint staff to address the potentially overwhelming range of alternatives being presented to the Commission. Mr. Simon also noted that none of the proposals will be produced as generally circulating coinage; however, the last two submissions involve the continuation of series that initially included circulating coins, and he provided examples of the earlier coins in these two series. He asked April Stafford of the Mint to present the design alternatives.
1. CFA 20/MAR/14–6, Congressional Gold Medal honoring the First Special Service Force. Designs for a gold medal with bronze duplicates. Final. Ms. Stafford summarized the authorizing legislation for a medal honoring the First Special Service Force for its service during World War II. A single gold medal will be given to the First Special Service Force Association (FSSFA), located in Helena, Montana, for display or for loan to related institutions; the Mint will also produce bronze duplicates for sale. She noted the numerous alternative designs that were provided to the Commission members—18 obverse designs and 21 reverse designs—and presented only those supported by the FSSFA and the CCAC. For the obverse, the preferences of the FSSFA were alternative #8 as first choice, #7 as second choice, and #9 as third choice. The preferences of the CCAC were obverse #9 as first choice, scoring 18 out of a potential 24 points, and #8 as the close second choice with 15 points. For the reverse, alternative #2 was the first choice of the FSSFA and of the CCAC—scoring all 24 of the potential 24 points. The additional preferences of the FSSFA were for reverse #5 as second choice, and #4 as third choice.
Ms. Fernández requested that the presentation slides of ranked choices be organized in the sequence of the ranking, rather than in the numerical sequence of the alternatives, to assist in the Commission discussion if the abbreviated presentation format is continued in the future. Mr. Luebke added that the presentation of multiple ranked preferences may inevitably be confusing and could perhaps be limited. Ms. Plater–Zyberk asked about the size of the medal; Ms. Stafford responded that it would be three inches in diameter, as illustrated at full scale in the submitted prints. Ms. Plater–Zyberk asked how the depicted gray background of reverse #5 would be treated on the medal. Don Everhart, the Mint's lead sculptor–engraver, responded that the gray tone represents a frosted texture that could be achieved through a laser process.
Ms. Fernández offered support for obverse #8 and reverse #2, consistent with the FSSFA preferences and similar to the CCAC preferences. Ms. Plater–Zyberk agreed, commenting that the design of reverse #2 would be consistent with obverse #8; she also offered support for reverse #4 as an interesting composition that is less traditional due to the lack of circumferential lettering. Ms. Fernández said that arrowhead logo provides a strong motif in several obverse designs, and it is especially strong in #8 due to its central placement and sharp outline. Mr. Krieger added that the boat in the lower part of the composition in obverse #8 has a three–dimensional character. The discussion concluded with a consensus for obverse #8 and reverse #2.
2. CFA 20/MAR/14–7, United States Marshals Service 225th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program. Designs for a five–dollar gold, one–dollar silver, and half–dollar clad coin. Final. Ms. Stafford summarized the authorizing legislation for a program of three commemorative coins honoring the U.S. Marshals Service. She noted that the legislation specifies that the designs be selected on the basis of the realism and historical accuracy of the images, as well as being reminiscent of the "golden age" of American coinage in the early 20th century. She clarified that each coin would have a different size: the gold coin would be smallest, approximately the size of a circulating nickel; the silver would be larger, approximately the size of a dollar coin; and the clad coin would be the largest. She noted that the actual size is depicted on the printed pages that were provided to the Commission members for each design alternative, consistent with the Mint's typical format for submissions.
Five–Dollar Gold Coin
Ms. Stafford described the legislative requirements for the gold coin's design; the submission includes five obverse and eleven reverse designs. She presented obverse #2, the preference of the CCAC and of the U.S. Marshals Service liaison for the design selection; this design includes the inscription "225 Years of Sacrifice" in addition to the legislatively required text. For the reverse, the CCAC recommendation was for alternative #9, which received 20 points; the second choice, also receiving 20 points, was for reverse #2. The preferences of the U.S. Marshals Service liaison were reverse #4 as first choice, and reverse #9 as second choice.
Ms. Fernández commented that the submitted obverse designs are relatively similar, and she offered to support alternative #2 which was the preference of the two other review groups; Mr. Krieger agreed. For the reverse, Ms. Plater–Zyberk supported the eagle composition of alternative #9 as the most dignified design; Mr. Krieger and Ms. Fernández agreed. The discussion concluded with a consensus for obverse #2 and reverse #9 for the gold coin.
One–Dollar Silver Coin
Ms. Stafford presented the preferred alternatives for the silver coin, selected from among five obverse and eleven reverse alternatives. Obverse #5 was the preference of the CCAC and of the U.S. Marshals Service liaison. For the reverse, which is required to depict a historical theme, the CCAC preferred alternative #8; the preference of the U.S. Marshals Service liaison was for #3 as first choice, and #8 as second choice. She noted that reverse #3 and #8 both depict a "Wanted" poster, and the bottom of the poster in #3 extends the inscription to read "Wanted in Ft. Smith"—an inscription that was preferred by the U.S. Marshals Service liaison; she said that the poster in reverse #8 could be modified to include this longer inscription, and the liaison would be satisfied with #8 if this modification is made. Mr. Krieger asked why the reference to Fort Smith would be important. Drew Wade, chief of the Office of Public Affairs for the U.S. Marshals Service, responded that the U.S. Marshals Museum will be located in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and the museum will be the beneficiary of surcharges on the sale of these coins; he added that Fort Smith was also important in American frontier history and was the location of many historical trials.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk commented that reverse #3 is preferable to #8, which has the awkward configuration of the "$1" denomination being placed on the marshal's thigh. She also questioned the compositional format—in these two alternatives and several others—of the marshal leaning on an object that will not be legible at the scale of the coin. Ms. Stafford responded that the CCAC had also raised this issue, and requested that the horizontal shelf or other background element be adjusted so that the resulting pose looks more natural. Ms. Plater–Zyberk observed that the shelf extends behind the text "United" at the left edge of the coin, but does not extend behind "Pluribus" on the right edge. Mr. Everhart of the U.S. Mint said that his response to the CCAC's concern was to suggest eliminating the horizontal shelf and instead have the marshal leaning only on a vertical post with his elbow; Ms. Plater–Zyberk and Mr. Krieger supported this solution for reverse #3.
For the obverse, Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested adjusting alternative #5 by condensing the lettering of the text "Liberty" to improve the coherence of the word; she observed that the letters "L" and "Y" are closer to other design elements at the bottom of the composition than to the adjacent letters of the word. Mr. Krieger agreed. The discussion concluded with a consensus for obverse #5 and reverse #3 for the silver coin, with the adjustments that were described.
Half–Dollar Clad Coin
Ms. Stafford presented the preferred alternatives for the clad coin, selected from among six obverse and nine reverse alternatives. Obverse #2 was the preference of the CCAC and of the U.S. Marshals Service liaison, depicting a modern–day and historic marshal; she noted the CCAC request to increase the size of the foreground portrait to fill out the composition, which she clarified is not reflected in the submitted design. For the reverse, the legislation specifies a design that illustrates the relation of the marshals to social issues in American history, including the U.S. Constitution; the Whiskey Rebellion and the rule of law; slavery and inequality; and the struggle between labor and capital. The CCAC recommendation was for reverse #7, but without a strong consensus, and with the request not to place the handcuffs in proximity to the scroll of the Constitution. The strong preference of the U.S. Marshals Service liaison was for reverse #9, similar to #7 but with the additional allegorical figure of Justice; she confirmed that this design also includes handcuffs on the Constitution, which the Mint would revise in response to the CCAC concern. Mr. Wade said that the committee within the U.S. Marshals Service reviewed all of the designs, including consideration of historical accuracy and marketability, and concluded that the allegorical figure of Justice is a desirable feature; he said that this image is seen often in Department of Justice facilities, and the blindfolded figure holding the scale represents the faithful enforcement by marshals of historical laws that may now seem unfair. Ms. Stafford added that the figure's hair and robe are being blown by a wind representing time, suggesting that the U.S. Marshals Service acts in response to the changing needs of the nation.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk and Mr. Krieger asked how the problem of the handcuffs would be resolved; the Mint staff responded that they would simply be removed from the composition. The Commission members supported this solution and agreed to a consensus for obverse #2 and reverse #9. Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested that the horse on obverse #2 be moved inward to provide a clear separation of the background motifs from the rim, in contrast to the foreground figure which engages the rim; she added that this adjustment may address the CCAC concern with compositional balance, without necessarily needing to enlarge the foreground portrait.
Ms. Fernández said that obverse #2 is an awkward composition overall because it appears to create a confusing relationship between the two figures; she commented that that the narrative is too complex for the small size of the coin. Noting the depiction of an entire horse and full figure in addition to the partial foreground figure, she suggested simplifying the design. Mr. Krieger agreed that the design is somewhat awkward but said that the inclusion of the horse is essential for conveying the historical setting; Ms. Fernández said that perhaps only the head of the horse needs to be in the design. Mr. Krieger suggested moving the horse to the right in order to center it behind the historic marshal, in combination with enlarging the foreground marshal. Ms. Fernández cited an additional awkward element in the design: the horizontal band incompletely divides the composition and bears no clear relation to the other elements; it does not quite serve as a ground plane for the background figures, and it does not fully extend behind the foreground figure but instead stops at her neck. Mr. Krieger said that this band could be adjusted in conjunction with the other changes discussed; Ms. Fernández said that it is nonetheless a bold but confusing graphic component of the design. Mr. Everhart said that the horizontal band could be eliminated entirely; Ms. Fernández supported this deletion. Ms. Stafford noted the CCAC concern with the intersection of the horizontal band and the figure's neck, although removal of the band was not proposed. The discussion concluded with support for obverse #2 and reverse #9 with the recommended adjustments.
3. CFA 20/MAR/14–8, 2015 and 2016 Presidential One Dollar Coin Programs. Obverse designs for the ninth and tenth sets of coins. Final. (Previous: CFA 18/APR/13–8, 2014 issue.) Ms. Stafford summarized the 2005 legislation authorizing the series. The submission includes obverse portraits of presidents Truman through Ford, covering the final two years of the series; the standard reverse for the series, depicting the Statue of Liberty, will continue. Mr. Krieger acknowledged the samples provided of earlier coins in the series to illustrate the size and design of the coins.
Harry S. Truman
Ms. Stafford presented alternative #1, which was the strong preference of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) among the five alternatives. Mr. Krieger and Ms. Fernández agreed that this is the best design; Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk noted the consensus to support the CCAC recommendation for alternative #1.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Ms. Stafford presented alternative #2, which was the moderately strong CCAC preference among the four alternatives. The Commission members agreed to support this design.
John F. Kennedy
Ms. Stafford presented alternative #1, the CCAC preference with 16 of 24 points among the five alternatives; she also presented the second choice of alternative #2, which received 6 points and was discussed extensively. Ms. Plater–Zyberk expressed concern with the viewing angle in alternative #1, looking downward on President Kennedy's head. Mr. Krieger said that it emphasizes the hair; Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that the coin portraits typically show the subject looking ahead. Mr. Krieger cited an additional concern that the facial features in alternative #1 are exaggerated; Ms. Fernández said that the other portraits are also unsatisfactory. Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk suggested a consensus to request further study, without recommending any of the submitted alternatives.
Mr. Everhart, the Mint's lead sculptor–engraver, said that the artist's intention in alternative #1 is a reference to President Kennedy's portrait at the White House, which shows him looking downward. Mr. Krieger said that the design suggests a pensive or reflective mood, and he offered support for alternative #1. Ms. Fernández emphasized that coins are not paintings and should not relay on the same artistic effects; the typical vocabulary for coin portraiture has a dignified formality, and she reiterated her dissatisfaction with all of the submitted alternatives. Ms. Plater–Zyberk added that the public would not necessarily understand the relationship of the coin design to the painting.
Mr. Luebke asked for more information on the CCAC discussion of alternative #2. Ms. Stafford responded that #2 was selected for discussion after CCAC members expressed concern with the pose in #1. Greg Weinman of the Mint added that the discussion for alternative #2 was whether President Kennedy's youthfulness was conveyed sufficiently. Mr. Krieger said that the likeness in #2 is relatively poor, while #1 may be acceptable. Ms. Plater–Zyberk reiterated her opposition to alternative #1 and suggested developing the portrait in alternative #2 to convey President Kennedy's youthfulness; Mr. Krieger supported this proposal, with no recommendation for any of the submitted alternatives.
Lyndon B. Johnson
Ms. Stafford presented alternative #3, the CCAC preference with 17 of 24 points among the six alternatives; she also presented the close second choice of alternative #4, which received 15 points. Ms. Fernández offered a preference for alternative #4. Ms. Plater–Zyberk agreed, commenting that #4 is an interesting portrait, and suggested that the head be lowered in either alternative in order to avoid intersecting with the circumferential lettering at the top of the composition. Mr. Krieger said that either #3 or #4 would be acceptable; he offered a slight preference for alternative #4 and supported the adjustment of the head's position. Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk noted the consensus to support alternative #4 with this modification.
Richard M. Nixon
Ms. Stafford presented alternative #1, the CCAC preference with 14 of 24 points among the four alternatives; she also presented alternative #2, which also received 14 points but was not selected as the CCAC preference. Ms. Plater–Zyberk commented that neither of these portraits is flattering. Mr. Krieger commented that President Nixon looks more firm and resolute in #1, and more pensive in #2. Ms. Plater–Zyberk supported the profile pose in alternative #1; Mr. Krieger and Ms. Fernández said that either would be acceptable and agreed to support #1.
Gerald R. Ford
Ms. Stafford presented alternative #4, the mild CCAC preference with 10 of 24 points among the four alternatives; she also presented the close second choice of alternative #1, which received 9 points. Ms. Plater–Zyberk supported with the CCAC recommendation for alternative #4; Ms. Fernández agreed. Mr. Krieger said that #1 has merit but agreed to support #4.
4. CFA 20/MAR/14–9, 2015 and 2016 Native American One Dollar Coins. Reverse designs for the seventh and eighth sets of coins. Final. (Previous: CFA 18/JUL/13–8, 2014 issue.) Ms. Stafford summarized the program of annual reverse designs for the one–dollar coin to honor Native American contributions to the history of the United States in a chronological sequence; the obverse design would continue to depict Sacagawea. The previously selected themes for the next two coins include Mohawk iron workers for the 2015 coin, and code talkers of World War I and World War II for the 2016 coin. She noted that the design alternatives for these coins, like others in the series, have been developed in consultation with the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, and have been reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the Congressional Native American Caucus of the House of Representatives, and the National Congress of American Indians; the presentation includes their multiple preferences and comments.
Mohawk Iron Workers
Ms. Stafford presented the preferred reverse alternatives for the 2015 coin, selected from among twenty alternatives (numbered 2 through 21). The CCAC preference was for alternative #4 with the comment to add the text "Mohawk Iron Workers" in the location of "United States of America," which would be moved to the upper circumference; an additional CCAC recommendation was for alternative #13. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs recommended alternatives #13 and #15. The Congressional Native American Caucus recommended alternative #8. The National Congress of American Indians recommended alternatives #8 and #13.
Mr. Krieger agreed with the CCAC suggestion to include the phrase "Mohawk Iron Workers" to improve public awareness of the coin's theme; Ms. Plater–Zyberk agreed. Mr. Krieger said that alternative #8 does not appear to have sufficient room for this additional text. The Commission members agreed that alternative #4 could most easily be adjusted to include this text. Ms. Fernández said that the stylized skyline in #4 provides additional emphasis on the theme, while the larger portrait in #8 makes the theme less clear.
Ms. Stafford presented the preferred reverse alternatives for the 2016 coin, selected from among 18 alternatives. The CCAC preference was for alternative #9 with the comment to replace the dates "1917" and "1945" with the text "WWI" and "WWII." The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs recommended alternatives #3, #9, and #16. The Congressional Native American Caucus recommended alternative #1, #2, and #3. The National Congress of American Indians recommended alternatives #4 and #9. The Commission members agreed to recommend alternative #9 and supported the CCAC suggestion to modify the inscriptions.
Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk expressed appreciation for the streamlined presentation format for the Mint submissions. Mr. Luebke noted the potential difficulty of following the multiple preferences, perhaps resulting in less discussion of design issues; the Commission members suggested testing this format again when more Commission members are present.
Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk noted the conclusion of Ms. Fernández' service and conveyed the Commission's appreciation for her work.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:07 p.m.
Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Last Modified: April 18, 2014