CFA 18/JAN/18-3


Various locations on and near the National Mall
Washington, DC
United States

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Flood protection project
Modifications to vent shafts for flood protection
Review Type
Previous Review


Dear Mr. Wiedefeld:

In its meeting of 18 January, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the revised final design for modifications to improve flood protection at several Metrorail vent shafts located on and near the National Mall; the submission excludes the sites within the Federal Triangle precinct that were part of the previous submission presented and reviewed in April 2017. The Commission approved the project, subject to the resolution of the design issues identified.

The Commission members expressed appreciation for the design team’s responsiveness to their previous comments. For the curbside shafts located at 12th Street and Independence Avenue, SW, and along 7th Street, they supported the proposal to elevate the vents twelve inches by installing a perimeter knee wall faced with panels of Mt. Airy granite. They also requested that the existing vertical protrusions from these vents be reduced in height wherever possible. For the four vent shafts located within the gravel walk immediately west of the Smithsonian Metro station’s north (Mall) entrance, they suggested coordinating with the National Park Service to create a continuous exposed-aggregate concrete strip on the south side of the walk that would incorporate the elevated vent shaft openings as well as the existing concrete bench slabs; this new pavement strip should begin at the Metro entrance and extend westward to the next north–south path crossing the Mall. They advised that this modification would improve accessibility and minimize the distracting appearance of the flood protection measures in this highly visible location on the National Mall.

The Commission looks forward to the completion of this important project, including the review of a more refined and comprehensive proposal for the vent shafts in the Federal Triangle streetscape. As always, the staff is available to assist you.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Paul Wiedefeld
General Manager and Chief Executive Officer
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
600 5th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

cc: Robert Vogel, National Park Service, National Capital Region
Marcel Acosta, National Capital Planning Commission
Terry Garcia Crews, Federal Transit Administration
David Maloney, D.C. Historic Preservation Office