Pershing Park, Pennsylvania Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets, NW
Dear Ms. Mendelson-Ielmini:
In its meeting of 18 July, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a submission of refinements to several elements of the concept design for the National World War I Memorial within Pershing Park, located on Pennsylvania Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets, NW. Expressing appreciation for the project team’s thoughtful responses to the design issues raised in prior reviews, the Commission took the following actions.
Sculpture Wall. The Commission members approved the revised concept for the base of the sculpture wall, a simplified plinth without a cantilever, which they characterized as an elegant solution. They recommended refinement of the stone detailing to ensure a monolithic and monumental quality, and they recommended further study of the visual and auditory character of the cascade of water to ensure its consistency with the design intent to recall the original fountain of Pershing Park.
Lighting. The Commission members approved the proposed lighting at the upper terrace, expressing appreciation for the project team’s careful analysis of the historic and contemporary fixtures in defining the park’s spatial organization and character. They agreed that the Simes double-cylinder light fixture is the most appropriate option because of its architectural similarity to the original multi-globe lights, the higher position of the luminaire, and the more focused light it would cast on the ground plane.
Perimeter Security. The Commission members approved the proposed perimeter security, accepting the use of paired metal bollards at three of the corner entrances to the site as more modest and unobtrusive than the other alternatives. Expressing concern about creating a fortified appearance, they recommended using a less rough finish for the low stone seat walls at the tree boxes near the park’s northeastern corner.
Cameras. The Commission approved the concept proposal for new security cameras, advising that they should be as small, unobtrusive, and integrated with the design of the light poles as possible.
Tactile Model. The Commission members approved the concept for a tactile model, subject to study of a more appropriate location. They raised concern that the proposed location would be distant from other interpretive elements in the park and too exposed, with visitors here possibly feeling that they are on display; they encouraged finding a site that is more connected to the memorial.
The Commission looks forward to the review of the final design submission as well as the inspection of mockups. As always, the staff is available to assist you.
/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: Libby O’Connell, U.S. World War I Centennial Commission
David Rubin, Land Collective
Sabin Howard, Sabin Howard Sculpture
Joseph Weishaar, UU+ Designs