Dear Superintendent Lechner:
In its meeting of 18 September, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a revised concept design for the Tomb of Remembrance, an ossuary for interring unidentified cremated partial remains of United States armed services members. The Commission approved the revised concept, making several recommendations for further development of the design, and delegated review of the final plans to the staff.
The Commission members expressed appreciation for the improvements in the design since the last review, but they raised concerns about the incomplete and inconsistent presentation of the tomb's elements in relation to each other. They suggested that the relative heights of the access shaft, inscription curb, and bench be studied in section and with accurately rendered perspective views to insure that the composition of all the elements is balanced. The Commission members suggested that the stone cladding of the access shaft have a rougher texture to contrast this cairn-like form with the cut-stone features. They also recommended that the design of the bench be either simplified or replaced with a type of unadorned bench used elsewhere in the cemetery, such as along the niche boundary wall or in the columbarium complex. For the landscape design, the Commission supported the elimination of the low shrubbery but recommended reconsideration of the placement of the new trees surrounding the tomb in order to maximize shade and to reinforce the desired character of the site. A study of sun angles, particularly from the south and west exposures, would be very helpful to determine the optimal placement of trees.
The Commission anticipates the successful completion of this project and encourages the design team to continue to consult with the Commission staff in preparation of the submission of the final design for delegated review.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Jack E. Lechner, Jr., Superintendent
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, VA 22211−5003
cc: Kent Carson, Army National Cemeteries Program
Thomas G. Tingle, Guernsey Tingle Architects