St. Elizabeths Hospital, West Campus
2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE
Dear Mr. McGill:
The Commission of Fine Arts appreciated the opportunity to hear the information presentation at its 16 October meeting on the draft master plan for the redevelopment of the St. Elizabeths Hospital site, a National Historic Landmark, as the headquarters facility for the Department of Homeland Security. In their comments, the Commission members said that they were sympathetic to adaptive reuse of the site but raised several concerns that should be addressed in the forthcoming final submission.
While the Commission members were pleased to see the progress that has been made in the master planning effort, they continued to raise questions about the impact of the project’s great scale. They appreciated the proposal to locate some of the program on the east campus and commented that they are less supportive of an alternative that does not include such reductions in the program originally proposed for the west campus, as they have previously recommended. In order to evaluate the enormity of the undertaking, they requested that the final presentation include comparative overlays at the same scale of well-known large complexes, such as the Pentagon reservation in Arlington, Virginia, or major academic campuses.
The Commission expressed additional concerns regarding access and circulation for the project, both in relation to the surrounding community and within the proposed complex of 14,000 workers. The Commission members requested that the final presentation include additional information on the proposed treatment of perimeter security and fencing; vehicular access to the site including the potential transfer of Shepherd Parkway; the avoidance of bottlenecks at entrances; and employee access to parking and public transportation. They also requested information about intended patterns of internal circulation and walkability for the campus employees, including employee access from workplaces to remote parking areas, to the proposed retail development across Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, and connections to nearby transit.
The Commission looks forward to the final submission of the master plan for the St. Elizabeths campus when ready and requested the opportunity to schedule additional site visits as necessary. Please coordinate with the staff for the scheduling and the next submission.
Thomas E. Luebke, AIA
Special Assistant for Regional Coordination
General Services Administration
National Capital Region
301 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20407-0001