Dear Mr. Whitesell:
In its meeting of 20 September, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the concept design for Phases II and III of the reconstruction of the Mall lawn panels between 7th and 14th Streets. The Commission members expressed appreciation for the thought and effort that have gone into the study of the many challenges affecting the Mall turf, and they cited the improvement already evident in the lawn panels now being reconstructed between 3rd and 7th Streets. Recognizing the inherent conflict between established character and current use, the Commission approved Scheme 4 as the best compromise presented to improve the visitor experience of the Mall.
In their discussion, the Commission members expressed continuing concerns regarding the protection of this iconic landscape. They acknowledged the fundamental difficulty in balancing the appearance of the historic Mall and its use as a venue for public events requiring temporary structures such as large tents. Observing that management issues have not yet been resolved, the Commission members suggested that greater control is possible over the staging of events compared to what is currently accepted by the design team and the National Park Service. As the final design is developed, they recommended continued effort to reduce the amount of paving on the Mall and to limit the size and location of temporary structures.
As always, the staff is available to assist you with the final submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Steve Whitesell, Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242
cc: Suzette Goldstein, HOK