Department of Homeland Security, Nebraska Avenue Complex
3801 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Dear Ms. Wright:
In its meeting of 21 April, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed and approved the draft master plan for the Nebraska Avenue Complex at 3801 Nebraska Avenue, NW, for the Department of Homeland Security. The Commission supported further development of Alternative B, the project team's preferred alternative, with several recommendations for additional study.
In their discussion, the Commission members emphasized the general campus planning principle that the siting and design of buildings should support the clarity and strength of open spaces; they expressed concern that the design potential of the open spaces on this campus has not been fully realized. They commented that the proposed treatment of courtyards and building placements appears too haphazard, and recommended more careful consideration of the open spaces—particularly the potential to develop a more beautiful organizing spine for the campus. Questioning the sufficiency of the alternatives that were presented, such as the "signature" building proposed in preferred Alternative B, they recommended that additional master plan options be explored to ensure that new structures adjacent to Ward Circle and Glover-Archbold Park conform to the overall logic of the campus planning.
Recognizing the General Services Administration's goal of achieving a sustainable campus, the Commission members recommended that alternative energy sources be considered as an integral part of the master plan's vision for the campus. They also recommended that the experience of approaching and entering the campus be considered carefully for those arriving as pedestrians in addition to those arriving in vehicles.
The Commission looks forward to further review as the draft master plan is developed. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/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: James Clark, MTFA Architecture
Peter May, National Park Service