Virginia Avenue between C and 21st Streets, NW
Dear Ms. Mendelson-Ielmini:
In its meeting of 20 February, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept proposal for the replacement of Edward J. Kelly Park, located on Virginia Avenue, NW, between C and 21st Streets, functionally part of the campus of the Federal Reserve Board. Acknowledging the need for the park's reconstruction as part of the site disturbance necessary to repair the parking garage beneath it, the Commission approved the concept for the landscape design and for a new pedestrian entrance pavilion to the garage, providing the following comments for the development of the project.
The Commission members expressed appreciation for the project team's recognition of the importance of the existing landscape, designed by Oehme, van Sweden in the late 1970s; they noted the park's significance as the first institutional rendition of the firm's innovative New American Garden—the elevation of a domestic garden typology, based on perennials and grasses, to a public landscape. They supported the intent for the proposal to recall the existing design's spatial organization of a central lawn with perimeter perennial enclosures and an abundance of plants. Observing that this landscape has been characterized by the palette and form of the plants more than the specific plan geometry, they supported the modifications proposed for the layout of the park. They emphasized the need to present this adaptation clearly in the project documentation, such as by developing rendered section drawings through the perennial beds for different seasons to compare the current proposal with the late 1970s design, to ensure that the new landscape will retain the park's essential material, spatial, and experiential qualities. They expressed support for the design of the new parking garage entrance pavilion set within the landscape, recommending that it be as small as possible, and that the architect design the furniture inside the pavilion because of its transparency.
As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Lisa Mendelson-Ielmini, Acting Director
Region 1–National Capital Area
National Park Service
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242
cc: Eric Groft, Oehme, van Sweden
Shalom Baranes, Shalom Baranes Associates
Winona Varnon, Federal Reserve Board