CFA 19/JUN/14-2


National Museum of American History
14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
United States

Smithsonian Institution
National Museum of American History
Relocate Calder sculpture and restore reflecting pool. Revised design for reflecting pool
Review Type
Previous Review


Dear Ms. Trowbridge:

In its meeting of 19 June, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed and approved the revised final design for the restoration of the reflecting pool on the west side of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The Commission reiterated its support for this restoration as part of the reinstallation of the Alexander Calder sculpture Gwenfritz in a setting that approximates the design for the original installation.

The Commission members commented that the new proposal for the finish of the pool's basin—an acrylic elastomeric surface covered with loose river rock—is an improvement on the previously proposed Pebble Tec surface and is preferable to the other alternatives that were considered. They noted that the stones would convey the original setting of the sculpture and largely conceal the acrylic surface, while being easily removable for cleaning and maintenance. They recommended using larger stones and reusing any remaining stones from the original installation, consistent with the design approach of retaining materials when feasible.

The Commission looks forward to the completed reinstallation of this work by a major 20th–century artist beside one of our nation's most significant museums. As always, the staff is available to assist you with future submissions.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Ann Trowbridge, Associate Director for Planning
Office of Planning, Design, and Construction
Smithsonian Institution
P.O. Box 37012, MRC 511
Washington, DC 20013–7012

cc: Don Jones, EwingCole