CFA 16/JUL/09-5


William McChesney Martin, Jr. Building
2000 C Street, NW
United States

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
William McChesney Martin, Jr. Building
Additions and alterations for visitor screening and conference center
Review Type


Dear Ms. Peters:

In its meeting of 16 July, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the concept design for the renovation of and additions to the William McChesney Martin, Jr. Building of the Federal Reserve Board, at 2000 C Street, NW. While not objecting to the function or general disposition of the proposed additions, the Commission requested that the design be further developed for a future submission.

The Commission members acknowledged the difficulty of adding to this classic Modernist building on pilotis, commenting that the proposed design detracts from the simple strength of the original building and that the proposed enclosure of most of the concrete pilotis is an unfortunate loss. They suggested that there are two alternative approaches for designing additions to such a building and that the proposed design is an unsuccessful hybrid of the two: one alternative is to extend the basic concept of the building above, expressing the structure and emphasizing its verticality; the other is to design the additions as minimal glass boxes with recessive detailing. They observed that the proposed additions are largely glass boxes, but that their heavy roof lines, re-entrant corners, and sections of stone cladding seem to be referring directly to the building above. The Commission recommended that a clear choice be made between the two design approaches, while allowing that this choice could be different for the front and side additions.

The Commission members recommended further development of the relationship between the additions and the original building and offered several possible strategies to study, such as narrowing the visitor screening facility to expose two pilotis at each corner on the south elevation, and lowering the height of the additions to clarify the separation between the addition and the existing building above. They also requested revising the perspective drawings to show eye-level views from the sidewalk.

The Commission looks forward to seeing the development of the design in a future presentation. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, AIA

H. Fay Peters
Director, Management Division
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Washington, DC 20551

cc: Keith Bates, Federal Reserve System
Enrique Bellini, Karn Charuhas Chapman & Twohey