27 September 2013
Dear Mr. Whitesell:
In its meeting of 19 September, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a revised submission from the National Park Service for a vehicular security barrier at the Jefferson Memorial. The Commission expressed its appreciation for the development of simpler concepts, as recommended in its previous review, and approved the further development of alternatives.
In their discussion, the Commission members offered a variety of comments on the relative merits of the alternatives. While they noted the openness of the post and rail system, they found it to be, in its large scale and heavy articulation, overly expressive of the security function. They cited the advantages of Option #4–a barrier wall placed between the sidewalk and the roadway–for its reduced height, simple spatial arrangement, and affinity with other notable examples of perimeter walls in Washington's monumental context; however, they noted possible safety and maintenance issues associated with a wall adjacent to automobile traffic. The Commission members expressed a greater preference for the bollard option, which they said would provide more openness than a wall and could be extended consistently across walks and driveways; however, they cautioned that a line of bollards could be inappropriately similar to the rhythmic colonnade of the Jefferson Memorial and would need to be very well designed to be successful.
In its support of the revised submission, the Commission requested further exploration of the alternative using an elegantly designed bollard, and perhaps further consideration of a simple wall, possibly incorporating seating near the visitor drop–off area and an alignment that would vary to either side of the sidewalk in response to specific conditions. The Commission also suggested conducting a traffic study of this area to assess the safety implications of the alternatives.
The Commission looks forward to further review of the Jefferson Memorial security barrier. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Steve Whitesell, Regional Director
cc: Ignacio Bunster, Wallace Roberts & Todd
Last Modified: September 30, 2013