World War II Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
Dear General Herrling:
During its meeting of 19 February 2004, the Commission was pleased to meet you for the presentation of the preliminary concept design for the new interpretive center at the World War II Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. The design, as presented by Colden Florence of the Smith Group, was well received by the members and was unanimously approved.
During the review, there were several items mentioned that should be noted for additional consideration. The first was the orientation pavilion, adjacent to the parking lot, at the southern end of the proposed new building. As the first stop for the visitor to the cemetery, this will be a critical element to help those touring the grounds and to guide them to the new center's main entrance. The approach to the pavilion on the path from the parking lot will be an important factor in its success. Great care should be given to its design.
The second item was the configuration of the parking lot itself. Every strategy to shield the vehicles from view and, most important, to visually reduce the size of the lot should be employed. The notion of dividing it into several "rooms" seems to be an appropriate design direction. Adequate landscaping in and around the lot will be needed to achieve the desired effect.
The importance of the project's overall landscape design cannot be stressed enough. A harmonious transition from the existing grounds of the cemetery and memorial to that of the indigenous countryside surrounding the new building must be provided. Future approvals for this project will be dependent on the resolution of the landscape design as well as the architectural design. The next submission for design development should include a concept for the landscape design.
The Commission looks forward to the review of the project as the designs develop. Please forward them at your earliest convenience. Should questions arise, the staff is available to provide guidance.
Charles H. Atherton
Major General John P. Herrling
Secretary, American Battle Monuments Commission
Courthouse Plaza II, Suite 500
2300 Clarendon Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22201