Dear Mr. Whitesell:
In its meeting of 20 June, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed alternative design concepts for a permanent visitor screening facility at the Washington Monument. The Commission approved the pavilion proposed in Alternative 2, which treats the structure as a portal and which sustains the preeminent symbolic role of the Washington Monument within the National Mall.
The Commission members considered the two conceptual directions offered by the alternatives—either conceiving of the addition as a pure cubical form placed next to the iconic obelisk of the Washington Monument, or emphasizing its subordinate role as an entrance. They noted the inherently transitory nature of security operations and advised that this facility should appear as an elegant but temporary passage, concluding that Alternative 2 presents the most effective and satisfactory solution. In comparison with the other alternatives, they commented that its lower roofline, connecting hyphen,and embedded metal mesh would both separate it from and harmonize with the monument, so that the new structure would appear as an almost transparent shadow at the monument's base.
The Commission members expressed great appreciation for the architect's presentation, which clearly emphasized the differences among the four options. As the design is developed, they recommended further emphasis on the character of this pavilion as a portal, as well as further simplification. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission for this important project.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Steve Whitesell, Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242
cc: Hany Hassan, Beyer Blinder Belle