Air Force Memorial. Navy Annex
Dear Mr. Grillo:
At its meeting on 15 April the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the final design for the Air Force Memorial to be located at the Navy Annex in Arlington, Virginia, over looking the Pentagon. The members found Mr. Freed's innovative design highly successful in integrating the symbols of the Air Force and the dynamic expression of flight. Its reference to the trajectory of aircraft in a classic maneuver with three curved pylons soaring into the sky is majestic and appropriate. The deletion of the glass inscription walls on the promontory plaza was felt to be an enhancement to the memorial in that it simplifies the overall design and provides the visitor unobstructed views of the city. The guard booths and bollards at the entrance, as well as the small support facility structure were all agreeable additions that will improve the memorial's operations.
The one element that the members felt did not enhance the memorial was the statues of the Honor Guard. In fact, the members thought that this sculptural element would ultimately detract from the dignity of the rest of the memorial's features. It was recommended that the inclusion of the sculpture be carefully reconsidered, as it was perceived that the statues may create an awkward situation during ceremonies when an actual Honor Guard is present on the memorial's Parade Ground. A bas-relief may be a viable alternative to a free-standing three dimensional sculpture. At the very least, the sculpture, if executed, should be reduced in height to approximately human scale and be of the highest artistic quality, or abstracted so that it does not have the appearance and character of a line of over-scaled toy soldiers. If this sculpture element is not to be deleted from the memorial, and we sincerely hope it will, then the Commission wants to review the final maquette before it is cast.
As with the concept design, presented in March of 2003, the final plans, with exception of the Honor Guard sculpture, were enthusiastically and unanimously approved. The Commission looks forward to reviewing the text and graphic layout of the memorial's inscriptions in the near future. Please submit them for review when ready.
We congratulate all those involved with this undertaking and look forward to the memorial's dedication.
David M. Childs
Mr. Edward F. Grillo, Jr.
Air Force Memorial Foundation
1501 Lee Highway
Arlington, VA 22209-1198
cc: Dr. James G. Roche, Secretary of the Air Force
Paul K. Haselbush, Director, Real Estate and Facilities, DOD
Jerry Shiplett, Special Assistant to the Director Real Estate & Facilities, DOD
James Freed, FAlA, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners