CFA 17/JUL/14-6


National Zoological Park
3001 Connecticut Avenue, NW
United States

Smithsonian Institution
National Zoological Park
Lower zoo entrance. Reconfigure the lower zoo entrance and adjacent traffic circle
Review Type


Dear Mr. Kelly:

In its meeting of 17 July, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a proposal for the reconfiguration of the lower entrance area of the National Zoological Park adjacent to Rock Creek. The Commission approved the concept submission and provided several recommendations for further development of the design.

The Commission members focused their discussion on the treatment of the traffic oval at the zoo entrance, supporting this proposal as an appropriate entrance element and lower terminus of the zoo's Olmsted Walk. However, they said that the proposed design—where the oval is bisected by through lanes with broad turning areas and a small off–center landscaped island—compromises the strength of the formal idea and reduces the oval shape to a merely residual element. Instead, the design offers an extensive area of hard pavement and an ambiguous layout that would be confusing to both drivers and pedestrians. Therefore, the Commission members recommended consideration of a more traditional treatment with curving traffic lanes at the periphery of the oval to accommodate vehicles, along with a large landscaped area at the center.

The Commission members supported the other components of the submission, including the proposed bandstand and kiosk complex, as well as relocation of the glockenspiel to serve as a vertical marker at the zoo's internal entrance from the bus loading and parking area.

The Commission looks forward to improvements to this entrance as an important component of the National Zoo. As always, the staff is available to assist you with further development of this project.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Mr. Dennis Kelly, Director
National Zoological Park
Smithsonian Institution
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013–7012

cc: Ann Trowbridge, Smithsonian Institution
Hal Davis, SmithGroup