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23 January 2015
White House temporary security
Over the past year, there have been repeated security breaches at the White House involving intruders jumping over the perimeter fence. Three years ago, a man opened fire from a car on Constitution Avenue, breaking the outer pane of a window in the private quarters of the president and his...
30 December 2014
FLO Jr. working
We recently found in the CFA library a folder containing 44 black-and-white photographs dating from 1900 to 1930 that are attributed to landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. (1870–1957). The photos depict areas of central Washington—among them the Mall, the Washington Monument Grounds, the Tidal Basin—that were redeveloped following Olmsted’s...
18 December 2014
Eisenhower Memorial model
In the design review process for major national memorials in Washington—a process that almost always takes a decade or more—proposals are inevitably scrutinized for their compatibility with the two fundamental plans for the city, the L’Enfant plan of 1791 and the Senate Park (McMillan) Commission Plan of 1901. The design...
10 December 2014
Washington Monument
The U.S. Olympic Committee will decide soon whether to promote an American city to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, and Washington, D.C. is an inspirational contender: a beautiful, living city with tremendous physical and cultural assets. With multiple existing or planned sports venues, some 50 miles of waterfront, a walkable...
20 November 2014
CFA seal
Welcome to the new website and blog of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the federal agency dedicated to design review in Washington, D.C. The city of Washington is unique and remarkable for its physical form, and it looks the way it does because it has been designed to emphasize...
1 August 2014
National Mall
There has been much discussion about the location of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the National Park Service’s plans to impose stricter regulations on the use of the Mall. The Mall is a unique space that serves many users and interests—from the Smithsonian’s seasonal programming to Independence Day celebrations, from...
3 January 2014
Broad Branch Road NW
The Dec. 26 Metro article “ Broad Branch Road is neither broad, sturdy ” noted several issues regarding the proposed D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) rehabilitation of Broad Branch Road, including substantial tree loss and the desire to provide safe access for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. While the U.S. Commission...
26 November 2013
Washington, D.C.
In November 2013, the Commission of Fine Arts commented on the Height Master Plan report adopted earlier that month by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), prepared in a year-long process undertaken with the District of Columbia Office of Planning. Calling the issue one of national symbolic importance, the Commission...
22 September 2011
Eisenhower Memorial model
In September 2011, the Commission of Fine Arts approved a concept design for the proposed Dwight D. Eisenhower National Memorial, expressing great enthusiasm for the development of the design and for the artistic quality of the tapestry mockups as displayed on the memorial site. The stone-clad columns would frame the...
5 September 2011
West Heating Plant historic photo
The General Services Administration is planning to sell the West Heating Plant, a noteworthy federal property in the Georgetown historic district of Washington, D.C. The building is highly significant in many ways and its future should be carefully considered by various federal and local government entities before final action is...