Mary E. Switzer Federal Building
330 C Street, SW
Dear Ms. Wright:
In its meeting of 21 April, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the design submission for the landscaping and perimeter security barrier for the Mary E. Switzer Building at 330 C Street, SW. The Commission noted the substantial improvement of the design and gave conditional approval of the final submission, delegating further review of the design details to the Commission staff.
In their discussion, the Commission members recommended that the project team resolve several aspects of the design. Specifically, they requested that the amount and variety of seating available within the public space be increased—extending the recessed bench areas under the shade of trees and providing more seating with backs. They recommended that the specification of plant material for the central lawn avoid a monoculture of grass by providing a range of plants, including nitrogen-fixing types such as clover, to create a more sustainable landscape. As in their previous review, they recommended eliminating or redesigning the canopies associated with the masonry vent shafts, which they suggested should be quieter in character and more sympathetic to the historic building. The Commission requested the submission of the final drawings and specifications for staff review of all landscape elements, including the proposed park furniture, details of continuous tree boxes, and the treatment of the walkways within the landscape.
The Commission members praised the General Services Administration for its commitment to developing a high-quality landscape for the enjoyment of federal workers and the general public, including the incorporation of minimally intrusive perimeter security; they also encouraged the further refinement of this project as a model of sustainable lawn design that can serve as a precedent for other federal projects. The Commission looks forward to the realization of the project following the final review of the design documents by the staff.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Mina Wright, Director
Office of Planning and Design Quality
U.S. General Services Administration
301 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20407-0001
cc: Roger Courtenay, AECOM
Jeffrey V. Catts, HNTB