CFA 16/JUL/09-3


17th Street, south of Constitution Avenue, NW
United States

National Park Service
West Potomac Park Levee Project, Phase II, Landscape design and material selection for levee walls
Review Type
Previous Review


Dear Ms. O'Dell:

In its meeting of 16 July, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed and approved the final submission of the landscape design and material selection for the flood control levee crossing 17th Street south of Constitution Avenue, NW. The Commission appreciated the opportunity to see a full-scale mockup of a section of the wall on site before the public meeting.

The Commission members supported the general approach and detailing for the proposed design of the stone walls. They preferred the American granite as a cladding material and recommended limiting the range to reduce the amount of brown-colored stone. They also endorsed the designer's preference of option 5 for the stonework coursing, with graduated courses above a larger base course. The Commission supported the intention to slope the cap stones to discourage walking on top of the walls, but requested coordination with the staff for a better graphic representation of the proposed design and assurance of its desired effect. The Commission members also approved the configuration of the metal receiving channels at the ends of the walls and expressed a strong preference for bronze rather than alternatives such as Cor-Ten steel.

The Commission members provided several comments regarding the overall design of the landscape. To harmonize with the informal landscape design of Constitution Gardens, they supported planting groups of trees along walkways west of 17th Street, as illustrated in Planting Option 2, including both tall and flowering trees. They also suggested the inclusion of planting adjacent to the Lockkeeper's House within the proposed plaza, commenting that a paved setting would not be typical of historic conditions.

The Commission requested that the National Park Service, during its remaining review process with other agencies, continue to coordinate the final landscaping design with the staff in accordance with larger design principles for the Washington Monument Grounds and West Potomac Park. As always, the staff is available to assist you.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, AIA

Margaret O'Dell, Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242

cc: Anita Hairston, D.C. Office of Planning
Peter May, National Park Service
David Rubin, OLIN