Dear Mr. Hanlon:
In its meeting of 15 November, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept submission for a temporary pavilion at the gateway of the St. Elizabeths East Campus along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE. The Commission expressed general support for the idea of the proposal but did not take an action, providing the following comments for the development of the design.
The Commission members commended the team for the design approach, which they characterized as fresh and elegant, and they supported the intention of promoting sustainability while creating a venue for farmers markets and other vendors to serve this community. However, they noted the fundamental contradiction of a "temporary" building that will only remain for several years with the stated goal of sustainability; in addition, the construction of the complex shapes in the design suggests a more permanent installation. With the goal of creating a truly environmentally sustainable project, they recommended that sustainability concepts be integrated from the initial design stage–such as including greenhouses, urban agriculture, and energy generation–to present a model sustainability project in the city.
Regarding the development of the physical design, the Commission members encouraged the consideration of how this space may change in daily use and over time; they suggested involving an operator of such facilities in the project's development from its early stages to ensure that functional issues–such as delivery, access, visitor patterns, and use–are considered in the design development. They recommended restudying options for moving through the site to encourage visitors and shoppers to walk directly through the space to foster activity in the market without offering multiple choices of other paths, such as over the structure's roof. They also recommended providing clear sightlines and sufficient night lighting to make the market space safe and attractive for visitors at all hours.
The Commission appreciates this important effort by the District of Columbia government to create a significant neighborhood amenity and looks forward to reviewing the design as it is developed. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Brian Hanlon, Director
D.C. Department of General Services
2000 14th Street, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
cc: Peter Cook, Davis Brody Bond
Ethan Warsh, D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
Harriet Tregoning, D.C. Office of Planning