Reservation 9, bounded by 13th, 14th, I, and K Streets, NW
Dear Ms. Mendelson-Ielmini:
In its meeting of 21 March, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a final design for the rehabilitation of Franklin Park, bounded by 13th, 14th, I, and K Streets, NW. The Commission approved the design, conditional on the resolution of the issues identified below.
The Commission members continued to express strong support for the proposal to revitalize the park, commending in particular the sophisticated planting palette and organic furnishing materials selected for the children’s garden. However, in their approval of the project, they identified several issues regarding the treatment of the central fountain plaza and the detailing of the service pavilion. They questioned the apparent scale of the plaza, commenting that the large space would be hot and inhospitable in the summertime without additional shade trees. While supporting the specification of honey locust trees for the plaza, they advised substantially increasing the number of trees to create a mid-story canopy that would better define this space and provide needed shade; they suggested that the trees could be arranged in varied groupings such as bosques, a ring, or clusters around the benches. In addition, they expressed concern about the appropriateness and feasibility of the water jets proposed to be installed adjacent to the restored historic fountain, and they noted that the plaza would feel barren during the months when the jets are off. As an alternative, they suggested including a different type of engaging water feature, such as mist emanating from the historic basin; they also suggested considering additional benches to provide seating for all visitors. Regarding the new pavilion, they commented that its subtle and elegant design would be an appropriate addition to this historic park; however, they suggested exploring the use of wood cladding on the restroom facility to alleviate its austere appearance. In addition, they commented that the pavilion’s roof profile appears overly thick, especially when compared to the thinness of its support columns; they therefore suggested extending the roof overhang or moving the columns inward.
The Commission looks forward to the revitalization of this important historic park in downtown Washington, D.C. For the resolution of the design of the areas identified above, please consult with the staff, which is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Lisa Mendelson-Ielmini, Acting Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242
cc: David Rubin, Land Collective
Ashton Allan, STUDIOS Architecture