CFA 18/SEP/14-3


2700 F Street, NW
Washington, DC
United States

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Expansion Project
Review Type
Revised concept
Previous Review


Dear Ms. Rutter:

In its meeting of 18 September, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the revised concept design for the south expansion of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts at 2700 F Street, NW. The Commission commended the project team on the progress of the design and approved the revisions with the following comments.

The Commission members commented on the thoughtful relationship of the proposed pavilions with the nearby national monuments and the Potomac River, and they expressed appreciation for the further development of the landscape and the additional detailing of the architecture. However, they observed that the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway and the river's edge are the most important public spaces in this area, and they stressed the necessity of conceiving of the entire area as a unified landscape design. They emphasized that the high level of aesthetic attention given to the proposed Kennedy Center landscape should be extended to the elements along the edges of the parkway: the guard rails at edge conditions; mechanical vents; the garage entrance and associated signs; and the pedestrian bridge as the articulated transition between the new constructed landscape and the river. They also recommended further conceptual development of landscape elements throughout the project—the expression of the folded geometry of the roof garden's groundplane, its grading and microtopography; the treatment of joints between landscape segments; and the extent of grass lawns—to achieve the resolution apparent in the architectural design. Finally, they questioned the proposed selection of some varieties of trees, particularly Magnolia x soulangeana, as it can be easily damaged by freezing temperatures in an exposed environment along the open river.

For the next review, the Commission requested further development and documentation of the design in response to its comments, including more detailed section drawings of the landscape and adjacent parkway. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Deborah Rutter, President
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20566−0001

cc: Chris McVoy, Steven Holl Architects
Edmund Hollander, Hollander Design