Dear Mr. Gabel:
In the meeting of 18 January, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the proposed final design of the Pentagon Memorial for the Victims of September 11, 2001. The Commission members appreciated the opportunity to view the prototype of a memorial bench unit at the Pentagon prior to the meeting.
The Commission members observed that the memorial's design remains technically complex and reiterated their previous recommendations that it should be simplified; they questioned the long-term viability of a design that is so dependent on the use of precise technical coordination, small construction tolerances in a landscape setting, and an intensive program of maintenance. They noted further that many design details remain to be refined before fabrication is possible as was discussed by the project team at the site visit. The Commission members expressed concern about the starkness of the memorial units and recommended darkening the finish color of the water basins beneath the benches; they also suggested that the texture of the bench surface be refined to match more closely the adjacent gravel. Given these ongoing concerns about the unresolved complexity of the design, the Commission concluded without taking action on the final submission, noting that the difficulties of fabrication, construction, and maintenance will be so extensive that the success of the project's design is questionable.
If there are significant revisions to the design, please consult further with the Commission staff.
/s/Thomas Luebke, AIA
Pentagon Reservation Program Manager
Department of Defense, Pentagon Renovation Program
100 Boundary Channel Drive
Arlington, VA 22202-3712
cc: Jean Barnak, Pentagon Renovation & Construction Program Office