Dear Mr. Hanlon:
In its meeting of 16 January, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept design for the Chuck Brown Memorial Park (formerly the western portion of Langdon Park), located at 20th and Franklin Streets, NE. The Commission members present did not recommend an action but offered several suggestions for the design of the memorial and requested that a more developed concept design be submitted for review.
In their discussion, the Commission members supported many of the elements of the design but questioned their relationship to each other as a unified composition to commemorate this prominent musician. They expressed appreciation for the design of large photographic panels to celebrate Chuck Brown's achievements but raised concerns about the separation of the panels from the central amphitheater space. Noting the forthcoming sculpture project in the park commissioned by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to honor Brown, they recommended coordinating this artwork with the location of the panels and the central space to create a coherent commemorative experience. They also questioned the use of a simple symmetrical form to memorialize Mr. Brown and suggested consideration of creating a design inspired by the distinctive syncopation of his musical compositions.
Noting the adjacency of the memorial to a playground, the Commission members commented that the sloped mural wall facing the playground could be tempting and unsafe for children to climb; they recommended that the details of the mural wall be carefully considered to deter these activities. In addition, they recommended that the lighting fixtures illuminating the mural wall be placed at the lower edge of the mural panels to prevent glare in the viewer's eyes.
As there was not a quorum during the review, these recommendations will be placed on the agenda for confirmation at the Commission's meeting of 20 February. The Commission looks forward to the review of a more developed and coordinated concept proposal for the memorial and its landscape design. As always, the staff is available to assist you and the design team 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: Michael Marshall, Marshall/Moya Design