West Potomac Park at 23rd Street
Dear Mr. Vogel:
In its meeting of 20 July, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept proposal for modifications to improve access to the Lincoln Memorial and to expand the visitor support facility in its undercroft. The Commission approved the submission with the following comments.
The Commission members observed the importance of the memorial’s intended entrance sequence—ascending the steep stairway to the statuary chamber—and emphasized that this should remain the primary visitor experience for this most iconic of national memorials. However, recognizing the need to improve accessibility to the memorial, they expressed support for the proposal to increase the width and height of the two existing entrances into the undercroft on the east-facing walls of the memorial’s base. They recommended that the detailing of these enlarged entrances within the walls of large granite blocks convey a tectonic logic, perhaps by including a visible lintel as part of the bronze doorway enframements; they also suggested studying the finish of the new doors in relation to the memorial’s historic design. For visitors who enter the memorial through the undercroft, they advised the careful design of this entry sequence—from the bright daylight outside, through the entrance portals, past the dim and mysterious undercroft space, and upward into the main chamber of the memorial—to reinforce a dignified experience.
The Commission looks forward to further review of this project. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Robert Vogel, Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242
cc: Carl Elefante, Quinn Evans Architects