Dear Ms. O'Dell:
In its meeting of 21 May, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the revised concept for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. The Commission approved the revisions to the memorial design concept with comments for further development and complimented the project team for its thoughtful and diligent work in refining the proposal.
The Commission members stressed the primacy of the artwork in the design, and reiterated their concern about the number of elements in the memorial; they discussed the possible omission of the flames and star within the water feature but concluded that these punctuate the memorial's relationship to the Capitol and to remove them would compromise the overall design. However, they continued to recommend further development of the artwork in the glass walls, suggesting that additional photographic images could be used, perhaps without the layered treatment with the bronze cut-outs in some instances, and that adding complexity to the ensemble of images could make the design more powerful.
The Commission members acknowledged the changes in the design based on their comments made following the site inspection in March 2009, including the reduction in the size of the fountain pool and the widening of the walkways into the memorial from the perimeter. The Commission appreciated the comparative analysis of heights for the wall along 2nd Street and recommended a maximum height of 12 feet, suggesting that the wall be faced in granite instead of marble. For the paving of the memorial plaza, the Commission members suggested a medium- to light-colored granite if a dark granite is used to clad the fountain pool, subject to further consideration of the overall material palette. They supported the removal of the light standards, recognizing that the surrounding streetlights will provide sufficient ambient lighting; and recommended that the flag also be illuminated without pole-mounted lights.
The Commission looks forward to the resolution of outstanding issues in a future submission. For final approval, a complete presentation addressing these comments is required, including also the proposed development of the artwork as well as the layout, typography, and selection of quotations for the stone wall and glass panels. The presentation must also include samples of all materials proposed for the memorial's elements. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, AIA
Margaret O'Dell, Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242
cc: Peter May, National Park Service
Michael Vergason, Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, Ltd.
Barry Owenby, Disabled Veterans' LIFE Memorial Foundation, Inc.