Intersection of Maryland and Independence Avenues, between 4th and 6th Streets, SW
Dear Ms. Mendelson-Ielmini:
In its meeting of 16 October, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a proposal for revisions to the previously approved concept design for the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Memorial, revisions that were approved on 2 October by the National Capital Planning Commission. The Commission of Fine Arts approved the submission with the following recommendations for the development of the design.
In their discussion, the Commission members agreed that the removal of the two previously proposed side tapestry elements constitutes a substantial improvement of the design, placing greater emphasis on the main tapestry across the south side of the site and creating unobstructed diagonal approaches to the memorial core from the corners. Characterizing the tapestry as a strong, poetic idea that now serves clearly as a backdrop for the commemorative elements, they reaffirmed the need forthe two remaining columns to define the memorial precinct spatially within the urban context. They acknowledged the testimony of several witnesses concerning the proposal's impact on the Maryland Avenue right-of-way aligned to the Capitol dome; they found the proposal—a presidential memorial in a civic park—would enhance this axis significantly over its historic condition.
In addition to their standing comments from the review of 20 February 2014, the Commission members made several recommendations to be addressed in the development of the revised concept. They emphasized that the monumental stone columns—of which two would now be freestanding objects—must transcend any utilitarian character and be articulated to be meaningful and beautiful in themselves as they contribute to the commemorative purpose of the memorial. They continued to request significant development to clarify the conceptual design of the landscape, beginning with an analysis of the visitor's experience in progressing through the site—including the layers of tree plantings, the design of the ground plane, and the unfolding view of the memorial core elements as approached from the diagonal paths.
With its approval of the revised concept design, the Commission anticipates the review of the next submission comprising a comprehensive design presentation of the memorial's commemorative features—including sculpture, tapestries, columns, and landscape elements—that addresses its comments from this review and from that of February 2014.
As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Lisa Mendelson-Ielmini, Acting Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242
cc: Carl Reddel, Dwight D. Eisenhower National Memorial Commission
Craig Webb, Gehry Partners