26 October 2012
Dear Ms. Condon:
In its meeting of 18 October, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept design for the Millennium Project in the expanded northwest area of Arlington National Cemetery. The Commission approved the concept design with the following comments and recommendations for the development of the design.
The Commission members noted the great complexity of the site and the extensive regrading required to create the proposed topography; they supported the intention to retain and improve the intermittent stream as a central feature of the project. They commented that the success of the landscape will depend on careful attention to the design and engineering of the quality of soil, the percolation and movement of water, and the capacity to sustain shade trees, which will be important features to soften the landscape and provide comfort for visitors. In support of the historic character of the cemetery landscape, they encouraged making the new roads as narrow as possible, particularly the loop roads which should be designed for one–way traffic.
For the treatment of the architectural elements, the Commission members supported a simple and consistent design approach that draws upon the established character of the cemetery's modern structures. They recommended the configuration shown in Option B for the perimeter wall columbarium, stepping in plan at the intersection of the pedestrian paths to articulate the long run of the wall into segments and to accent the intersections; the water elements, treated as weeping fountains, could be located to terminate framed views parallel to the wall. They observed that the rear elevations of the free–standing columbaria will be seen as significant features in the landscape and should be carefully designed in relation to the new topography. For the committal shelters, they recommended that the design be kept simple and dignified, concluding that the post–and–lintel schemes presented have the most potential for further development. Overall, the Commission stressed that an appearance of uniformity among the various project elements should be a goal of the design.
The Commission looks forward to the review of a more developed concept proposal for the Millennium Project. As always, the staff is available to assist you and the design team with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Ms. Kathryn A. Condon, Executive Director
cc: Colonel Victoria M. Bruzese, Arlington National Cemetery
Last Modified: November 1, 2012