Public art projects for the City Vista complex
5th and K streets, NW
Dear Mr. Gittens:
In its meeting of 17 May, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed and made suggestions for two proposed public art projects for the CityVista development under construction at 5th and K Streets, NW. The first project was a sculpture entitled Lift Off by artist David Black to be placed in a new plaza at the corner of 5th and K Streets; the second project was a decorative grille for an exhaust vent by artist Ethan Kerber.
The Commission members concurred with most of the recommendations made by the selection panel for both projects. However, they suggested that both proposals need additional development and refinement and that the artists should work with the architects of the CityVista complex to better incorporate the artworks into the design of building and plaza. The members commented that careful consideration of the placement and color of commercial signs on the building would be critical to the success of the artwork.
The Commission expressed concern about the potential distraction created by cafe umbrellas, signs, and other furniture in the plaza where the Lift Off sculpture will be located. The Commission recommended that the artist work with the CityVista landscape architects to develop the details of the plaza, including the paving pattern, landscaping, and other site amenities. For the sculpture itself, the Commission members suggested that the vertical metal supports should extend to the ground without the stone bases and that the overall height of the piece could be taller. Concerning the lighting of the sculpture, a comment was made that the illumination be kept low and controlled so as not to spill into the windows of the residential units.
For the sculptural grille by Mr. Kerber, the Commission members recommended that the sculptural features covering the vent should be better integrated with the vent louvers to avoid the appearance that the artwork is merely applied. They also suggested that the cast feet elements be deleted.
The Commission members look forward to the next review of these projects and suggested that you keep the staff informed of their progress. Please coordinate with staff for the next submission and, as always, the staff is available should additional questions arise.
Thomas E. Luebke, AIA
Anthony Gittens, Executive Director
D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities
410 Eighth Street, NW, 5th floor
Washington, DC 20004