Dear Mr. Ahmed:
In its meeting of 16 February, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept design for a new pedestrian access control and security screening facility at the Pentagon’s primary transit entrance. The Commission did not take an action on the proposal, requesting the submission of a new concept design that responds to the following comments.
The Commission members noted that the proposed screening facility would be yet another element in a sequence of additions to the most heavily used entrance to the Pentagon; together, these elements define what is experienced by many as the public threshold to the Pentagon and should convey the dignity of that function. They found that the proposed scheme perpetuates the appearance of an ad hoc assemblage of different architectural elements, and they noted the awkward juxtaposition of many canopies in different styles relating to different programmatic entities such as bus transit, Metro entrances, and visitor turnstiles. Instead, they suggested that the project should be simplified and condensed to avoid intensifying this additive character, incorporating both the existing screening lobby and new construction as a unified architectural form—a single pavilion with an integrated spatial sequence and more direct circulation flow, understandable as a modern addition to the historic Pentagon itself. They recommended a more compact plan that makes use of the empty spaces in the building yard and the volume of the existing screening structure to reduce the projection of the many layers of security, possibly distributing the single array of entrance turnstiles to be more directly accessible from the adjacent transit structures.
The Commission appreciates the complexity of this design problem and encourages the design team to develop an architectural solution that is appropriate as the primary entrance to this notable departmental headquarters building, while satisfying the programmatic requirements of the Department of Defense. Please coordinate the next submission of a revised design with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Sajeel S. Ahmed, Director
Washington Headquarters Services
Department of Defense
1155 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1155
cc: Stephen Wakeman, Jacobs
Nancy Zielinski, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District