CFA 19/FEB/09-4


Southeast Federal Center (The Yards)
between 2nd and 5th Streets, SE
United States

U.S. General Services Administration
Southeast Federal Center (The Yards)
Phase II designs for 5.6-acre waterfront park
Review Type
Revised concept
Previous Review


Dear Mr. McGill:

In its meeting of 19 February, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the concept of the remaining design components related to the waterfront park at The Yards, a proposed development within the Southeast Federal Center, with the following recommendations.

The Commission approved the concept for the landscape design following the prior advice to simplify and unify the various components within the park. Regarding the vertical sculpture designed by James Carpenter, the Commission members expressed great enthusiasm for the proposal which they characterized as an elegant addition to the city's riverfront. They approved the sculpture's overall form and details and suggested that it could be taller subject to the judgment of the artist.

The Commission also approved the concept for the two new retail pavilions that are proposed at the north edge of the park. Regarding the cladding of the historic Lumber Shed building, the Commission members expressed dissatisfaction for the proposed treatment showing the partial enclosure of the tapered slab supports. They recommended unanimously that the design be returned to the initial design proposal to enclose the full depth of the overhanging concrete slabs, which they said would be a better architectural solution, both aesthetically and technically. Acknowledging the complex review process involving other agencies, the Commission recommended further coordination to resolve the issue of preserving the historic fabric of the concrete-frame structure by enclosing it fully and allowing the original structure to be seen through the glass skin.

The Commission appreciates the opportunity to review this important element in the sequence of public spaces along the Anacostia Waterfront and has directed the Commission staff to work with the General Services Administration and the National Park Service to resolve the outstanding issues regarding the design of the Lumber Shed building enclosure.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, AIA

Michael McGill
Special Assistant for Regional Coordination
U.S. General Services Administration
301 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20407-0001

cc: Alex Nyhan, Forest City Washington