Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Dear Mr. Cleland:
In its meeting of 20 January, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the concept design for several additions and modifications to the Cambridge American Cemetery in Cambridge, England. The Commission took no action on the proposal and requested revisions to the concept submission.
The Commission members endorsed the general concept to improve visitor facilities at the cemetery, recommending a consistent architectural language for all proposed buildings based on the existing visitor building. They supported the design character of the proposed service building paired with the existing building to frame a more defined entrance plaza serving as a gateway into the site. However, they asked for significant revisions to the design of the proposed interpretive center. While supporting the intention to locate this building away from the critical sightlines of the chapel and grave areas, they recommended further study to relate this new pavilion to other features of the site such as the existing building, the boundary hedge, and the drop-off road, which could be shaped more deliberately to respond to the new ensemble of buildings. They strongly recommended that the design vocabulary of the interpretive center be consistent with that of the visitor building in order to provide a more unified appearance for the complex as a whole.
The Commission members also questioned the proposed circulation pattern, in which those arriving by bus would enter the plaza from a different direction than those arriving by car; they recommended that the road and walk configurations be studied further to provide a single entrance experience at the threshold of the plaza. They expressed concern about the significant increase in car parking—from forty to eighty spaces—due to its impact on the site and its trees; they requested further site information in order to evaluate this proposal. In addition, they recommended that the existing gravel paths throughout the cemetery be retained; any changes or modifications, such as to improve accessibility, should be done in a manner that maintains the character of these important landscape elements.
The Commission appreciates the work of the American Battle Monuments Commission to improve the visitor experience at our nation's overseas cemeteries and looks forward to review of a new concept submission. As always, the staff is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, AIA Secretary
Hon. Max Cleland, Secretary
American Battle Monuments Commission
Courthouse Plaza II, Suite 500
2300 Clarendon Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201-3367
cc: John Cole, Bland Brown & Cole Architects
Harry Robinson, TRG Consulting Global