CFA 18/JUN/09-1


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial
Independence Avenue, SW, at the northwestern rim of the Tidal Basin
United States

National Park Service
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial
Perimeter security
Review Type
Previous Review


Dear Ms. O'Dell:

In its meeting of 18 June, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a revised concept submission for perimeter security at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial and approved the concept presented as Option A.1, the scheme with the largest of the planters incorporating the least number of bollards. The Commission was pleased to conclude that perimeter security could be satisfactorily integrated into the design of the memorial and made several recommendations regarding the development of the design.

The Commission members commented that the revisions to the memorial's entrance plaza necessitated by the addition of security elements have improved the design of the forecourt by providing a stronger sense of definition rather than an open relationship to the street. They supported the location of the bollards closest to the perimeter of the site to emphasize their association with the street and not the memorial itself. Regarding the design of the planters, the Commission members recommended that the battered stone barrier walls be redesigned in a simpler manner, preferably to accommodate sitting for visitors. The Commission also recommended that the trees specified for the planters be changed from cherries to a taller tree that would create less of a visual barrier.

The Commission members congratulated the project team on transforming a security problem into a design benefit. They look forward to future presentations to address the outstanding design elements for the memorial's inscriptions and signage, the modeling of the statue of Dr. King, and the final design for perimeter security. As always, the staff is available to assist you.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, AIA

Margaret O'Dell, Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242

cc: Peter May, National Park Service
Dr. Ed Jackson, Jr., Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Project Foundation