5720 New Hampshire Avenue, NE (corner of New Hampshire and North Dakota Avenues)
Dear Mr. Thomas:
In its meeting of 18 September, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a revised concept design for a memorial park commemorating the victims of the 2009 Metrorail Red Line accident, to be sited at the corner of New Hampshire and North Dakota Avenues, NE, near the accident site. The Commission endorsed the design of the memorial mounds, sculptures, and inscriptions, making several recommendations for the further development of the landscape design.
The Commission members observed that the reconfiguration of the site due to the clarification of its boundaries has accentuated the margins of the site while diminishing the center. They asked that several eye-level renderings be prepared to illustrate the relative scale and relationship of the park's elements. They commented that the proposed grove of sycamore trees now appears too small, and it could be extended into the edges of the site, possibly with a variety of species. They questioned the proposed osculation of the trees, which may be unrealistic to achieve and difficult to maintain. For the southeastern edge of the site, they commented that the inscription wall may be too high, and may exaggerate the separation of the site from its edges; they recommended against the use of Japanese maples—a tree found primarily in residential landscapes—in a linear arrangement along this wall. They also suggested that an access way be established at the northeastern corner of the plaza to allow a direct connection to the sidewalk of New Hampshire Avenue, as this would encourage more people to walk through and visit the site.
The Commission looks forward to the review of a revised design responding to these comments and encourages the project team to continue to consult with the Commission staff, which is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Lionell Thomas, Executive Director
D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities
200 I Street, SE, Suite 1400
Washington, DC 20003
cc: Julian Hunt, Hunt Laudi Studios
Barbara Liotta, sculptor