Blog

  • New Publication: "Palace of State"

    28 November 2018
    The Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) has occupied a prominent place next to the White House for almost 150 years. Built to house three of the oldest and most important executive departments of the U.S. government—State, War, and Navy—the colossal granite building has long been a venue where...
  • White House security: It takes more than a fence

    23 January 2015
    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...
  • From the CFA Archive: Photos of Washington, D.C. by F. L. Olmsted, Jr.

    30 December 2014
    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...
  • The Eisenhower Memorial: Does it harm DC’s planning legacy?

    18 December 2014
    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...
  • 2024 Olympics in DC: Everybody Wins

    10 December 2014
    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...
  • CFA launches new website and blog

    20 November 2014
    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...
  • Let’s get past the Mall turf war

    1 August 2014
    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...
  • Broad Branch improvements would harm Rock Creek Park

    3 January 2014
    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...
  • CFA favors D.C. height limit for city's unique identity

    26 November 2013
    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...
  • CFA endorses Gehry concept for Eisenhower Memorial

    22 September 2011
    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...