17th Street and State Place, NW
Dear Ms. Hall:
In its public meeting of 16 March conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a proposed final design for modifications to the First Division Monument, located in President’s Park near 17th Street and State Place, NW. The Commission approved Alternative 2, which would add two new granite plinths within a continuous wide border of boxwood hedges on the north side of the memorial, and provided the following comments.
The Commission members expressed appreciation for the additional documentation of the proposed alterations, including views from the north. They observed that the approach to the monument is characterized by a clearly defined precinct—a symmetrical raised plaza surrounded by a perimeter hedge, interrupted only by stairs at the centers of the long north and south sides—which was designed to emphasize the colossal granite column surmounted by a gilded bronze statue of Victory. They reiterated their previous concern that the project team’s preferred alternative would interrupt the plaza’s green frame by leaving the backs of the new plinths exposed, which would fundamentally alter the perception of the monument as seen from the north. Therefore, they commended Alternative 2 as a simple and elegant solution that respects both the monument and its formal setting.
The Commission appreciates the proposal’s anticipation of future commemorative expansion and looks forward to the completion of the addition to this important monument. As always, the staff is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Kym A. Hall, Area Director
Region 1 – National Capital Area
National Park Service
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242
cc: Suzette Goldstein, HOK
Lt. Gen. Thomas Rahme, Society of the First Infantry Division