CFA 17/SEP/15-2


St. Elizabeths West Campus - 2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE
Washington, DC
United States

U.S. General Services Administration
Department of Homeland Security Headquarters
Center Building renovation and exterior restoration
Review Type


Dear Ms. Wright:

In its meeting of 17 September, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept design for the exterior restoration of the Center Building at the historic St. Elizabeths West Campus. The Commission approved the concept design for the project, which follows from the 2009 master plan for the adaptive reuse of the West Campus as the headquarters complex for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Commission members noted the great significance of the St. Elizabeths campus as a prominent example of the pioneering work of Dr. Thomas Kirkbride, whose humanitarian theories revolutionized the treatment of the mentally ill in the mid-19th century and led to the building typology manifested in the Center Building—a National Historic Landmark in a neo-Gothic style designed by Thomas U. Walter, architect of the U.S. Capitol dome. Acknowledging the extensive public process of historic preservation review that has been undertaken for the building, the Commission members requested further information about details of the proposed design, including the reuse of exterior brick, the rehabilitation of historic windows, and the impact of construction on the adjacent landscape.

The Commission looks forward to the review of the fully documented design when developed for final approval. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Mina Wright, Director
Office of Planning & Design Quality
General Services Administration, National Capital Region
301 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20407-0001

cc: Shalom Baranes, Shalom Baranes Associates