CFA 21/MAY/15-2


West Potomac Park
Washington, DC
United States

National Park Service
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Education Center
New underground visitor education center
Review Type
Previous Review


Dear Mr. Vogel:

In its meeting of 21 May, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the final design submission for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center, to be located in West Potomac Park along Henry Bacon Drive. The Commission approved the proposal with the following comments.

The Commission members expressed appreciation for the careful attention to design details throughout the lengthy development of the project, as well as for the thorough presentation. They commented that the elimination of the retaining wall beside the entrance is an improvement that simplifies the design and lessens the visual similarity with the actual memorial. They supported the proposed design for consistent, even slopes generally in the areas of turf surrounding the center's entrance area.

The Commission of Fine Arts congratulates the project team for its perseverance and responsiveness over many years in creating this important public facility to enhance the experience of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. As always, the staff is available to assist you with future submissions.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Robert Vogel, Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242

cc: Tom Wong, Ennead Architects
Ken Haines, Hargreaves Associates


Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)

Property: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center, West Potomac Park, Washington, D.C.
CFA Submission File No: CFA 21/MAY/15-2

Action: Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for final design approval

The National Park Service (NPS), on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, has requested approval of the site and building plans for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center, as shown in materials submitted and received on 7 May 2015. Pursuant to Section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations (40 CFR, Parts 1500-1508), and the Commission of Fine Arts' (CFA) Policies and Procedures For Application of the Requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act To Review and Approval of Commemorative Works Site and Design Proposals, I have evaluated the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center Design Environmental Assessment, February, 2012 (EA) provided by the NPS, comments that NPS received on the EA, NPS responses to those Comments, and the NPS FONSI dated June 2012.

Based on this evaluation, I have adopted the applicant's EA and determined that the proposed memorial will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment. Provided that the design and construction for the Memorial Center project satisfies the following mitigation measures included in the applicant's EA, the preferred alternative will result in long-term positive impacts to the human environment with regard to cultural resources, natural resources, transportation, and pedestrian circulation:

1. The design will conform to the 14 design guidelines, established and adopted in 2006 by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) and CFA, "to mitigate otherwise significant impacts of the site selection."

2. The night lighting of the Memorial Center shall not exceed the minimum levels required by building code and lighting safety standards so that the Memorial Center's night lighting does not affect the visual prominence of the Lincoln Memorial or the night lighting hierarchy of the other monuments and memorials, the museums, and other prominent features on the National Mall.

3. The landscape design for the Memorial Center shall be in accordance with the recommendations of the 1999 Lincoln Memorial Cultural Landscape Report, which provides the analysis and evaluation of the series of plans designed to implement the landscape concepts proposed by the McMillan Plan and for the development of the Lincoln Memorial and Grounds. The landscaped design for the Memorial Center will minimize the addition of non-historic plant materials and incorporate American Elm trees, as needed, in concentric rows of elms planted around Lincoln Circle and in the rows of adjacent street trees. The landscape rehabilitation will reestablish, on two sides of the Lincoln Circle (north and south), the intent of the original implemented historic planting plan for the Lincoln Memorial and Grounds.

/s/Thomas Luebke, FAIA
18 May 2015

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