The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Rock Creek Parkway Trail
2700 F Street, NW
Dear Mr. Whitesell:
In its meeting of 20 October, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the revised concept submission for pedestrian access stairs and elevators to link the Kennedy Center terrace with the recreation trail of the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway. Commending the elegance of the design, the Commission approved the submission with the following comments.
With their endorsement of the revised design, the Commission members raised several questions about the long-term maintenance of the project. Noting that the lack of a ramp makes the elevators a critical component for accessibility, they emphasized the need for an ongoing program of maintenance. Likewise, they raised concerns about several material selections—including the non-slip glass treads, the glass guardrails, and the metal mesh—as potentially burdensome to keep clean and safe.
In their discussion of the proposed plaza and landscape, the Commission members made several suggestions to refine the details of the design, emphasizing the importance of considering the transition from the park trail to the plaza, including the design of such elements as the pavement and the railing along the bulkhead at the river's edge. They also recommended simplifying the form of the stone plinth intended to prevent circulation beneath the stairs, and they suggested increasing the number of trees as possible within the constraints of the site to make the plaza a more comfortable place for visitors and provide a sense of separation from the adjacent roadway.
The Commission looks forward to a submission that addresses their concerns and comments regarding the refinement of the proposal's details. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Steve Whitesell, Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242
cc: Peter May, National Park Service
Jack Van Dop, Federal Highway Administration
Claudette Donlon, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Konjit Eskender, D.C. Department of Transportation
Donald Paine, KGP Design Studio