The meeting was convened at 10:09 a.m. in the Commission of Fine Arts offices in the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. A tour of project sites had taken place the preceding afternoon.
Hon. David M. Childs, Chairman
Hon. Donald A. Capoccia, Vice-Chairman
Hon. Diana Balmori
Hon. Pamela Nelson
Hon. Earl A. Powell III
Hon. Elyn Zimmerman
Mr. Charles H. Atherton, Secretary
Mr. Frederick J. Lindstrom, Assistant Secretary
Ms. Kristina Alg
Ms. Sue Kohler
Mr. José Martinez-Canino
Ms. Susan Raposa
National Capital Planning Commission Staff present:
Ms. Nancy Witherell
Mr. David Levy
A. Approval of minutes of the 16 October meeting. The Secretary reported that changes that had been asked for by one member had been incorporated. There were no further changes requested, and the minutes were then unanimously approved.
B. Dates of next meetings, approved as:
18 December 2003
15 January 2004
19 February 2004
The Secretary noted that a December meeting had become desirable, and whatever time was not used for submissions could be used to continue discussions on the Commission’s operations.
He reported , too, that Mr. Martinez had requested that an announcement be made that the date of the January Old Georgetown Board meeting had been changed from Monday the 5th to Tuesday the 6th.
II. SUBMISSIONS AND REVIEWS
A. National Park Service
1. CFA 20/NOV/03-1, Lincoln Memorial Circle. Roadway rehabilitation, perimeter security barriers, and food service kiosks. Final. (Previous: CFA 20/JUN/02-3). The Assistant Secretary introduced John Parsons from the Park Service, who thanked the Commission for the site visit the previous afternoon and the discussion about the placement of the security bollards. He reminded the members of the June 2002 submission, when the bollards had been proposed for the bottom of the steps near the Reflecting Pool, and said they would like to submit a revised proposal. He added that a new part of the Lincoln Circle rehabilitation would be two new kiosks for visitor food facilities, which they would show for the first time. He then introduced Steve Lorenzetti, acting deputy superintendent of National Capital Parks Central, to make the presentation.
Mr. Lorenzetti said there were three parts to the Park Service’s proposal. The first was to place the two new food service facility kiosks on the Lincoln Memorial grounds, one to the south between 23rd Street and Daniel Chester French Drive and the other to the north between 23rd Street and Henry Bacon Drive. They would be the same design approved by the Commission in the 1990s for use on the Mall. The second part of the submission concerned getting rid of the tour busses on the east side of the circle. They would now have a dedicated lane on the west side of the memorial, which would then merge into existing traffic. Also, to make this area safer for pedestrians, traffic lights would be installed at 23rd Street (north) and Henry Bacon Drive.
The third, and most complicated, part of the submission involved increasing security around the memorial. Mr. Lorenzetti began with the proposal to place a low retaining and seating wall, 32 inches high, which would run around the hill on which the memorial stood, breaking only at the entrance and the new pedestrian plaza; the existing hill would make placing a wall there a simple matter, and it would not look like a foreign, added element. He pointed out a required access on the west side of this wall for occasional presidential visits, saying that a section of the wall would actually have to be removed to accommodate access. The Chairman asked just how the access would then be accommodated, and Mr. Lorenzetti said they would lower the grade slightly at that point, but it would still be all grass–no paving of any kind would be used. Continuing with the wall description, Mr. Lorenzetti said they had at first considered bringing it all the way around the front, but discarded that idea as it would bring an intrusive element too close to the monument. He said that as in the June 2002 plan, bollards would be placed across the pedestrian part of the street around the circle, at Bacon and French drives, and would continue to follow the outer curb up to the new pedestrian plaza area at the memorial entrance. Unlike the old plan, however, they would not continue down the outer edge of the Reflecting Pool steps, where they would have met a combination of retaining walls and bollards across the bottom of the central part of the steps. Mr. Lorenzetti said that, upon further reflection, they had decided that all those bollards were not necessary, and that security could be better accomplished by continuing the outer curb bollards straight across the eastern edge of the pedestrian plaza. Ms. Balmori recalled that at the site inspection the previous day it was asked if the bollard line could instead follow the outer curve of the circle. Mr. Lorenzetti said that would certainly be an option, and possibly a granite strip could be inserted following the curve and the bollards placed within it.
Turning to the retaining wall that would encircle the memorial, Mr. Lorenzetti said it would be made of pink Milford granite, like the stylobate of the memorial. It would have a capstone, then a small reveal, before going straight down to a 20-inch-wide curb, 6 inches high, which would meet the sidewalk. The curb would give the wall the appearance of being about 28 inches high. The bollards were described next. They were the same as those the Commission had seen previously: fluted metal, using the same number of flutes as the outside columns of the memorial, with a design on the base taken from the urns flanking the main stair. They would be painted grey, in a color to mimic the stone, with a powder-coat finish. He said they had looked into using lower bollards, but they would have to be much closer together and might not meet ADA standards. The concrete pavers for the plaza, which would be raised to the curb line, would be in the historic road color.
The Chairman stopped Mr. Lorenzetti at this point to enable the members to ask any questions they might have. He began by saying that the idea of using concrete pavers for the plaza worried him because they would be at odds with the exceptionally fine quality of the materials used elsewhere on the memorial. While more expensive, he thought granite pavers would be preferable. Mr. Lorenzetti said it was a difficult decision, one they had faced previously at the Jefferson Memorial, where they used concrete pavers in a dark color, deciding that the pavers retained the feeling of a road but still looked more monumental. The Chairman observed that there were many roads throughout the world where there was no longer any vehicular activity, and the entire roadbed had been paved with granite sets.
The Chairman’s other question concerned the new retaining wall. He thought it should have some detail and a softness more in keeping with the architecture of the memorial. The cap could perhaps be curved and a molding added to the base. Another concern was the access gate on the west side. He did not think the sloping down of the berm was going to work and suggested instead that the wall be turned back for a short distance so that the ramp could be contained and mown properly so that it would look better.
There was more discussion on the bollards. Ms. Zimmerman questioned the need for bollards across the front of the memorial entrance area and was told that because the steps had such low risers, it would be possible for many vehicles to be driven right up them; he said there were many points of access from Constitution and Independence avenues. The Chairman asked if these bollards could be retractable and raised only during periods of high alert. Mr. Lorenzetti said they would be hesitant to do that because in case of an emergency they might not work; he said they were difficult to maintain and there was always the chance for human error. Mr. Childs commented, however, that they were being specified in all the new planning for the World Trade Center site. He thought choices about the degree of safety had to be made, and the Lincoln Memorial had a very special place in American history. Ms. Balmori said she agreed completely about the retractable bollards, but she noted that someone had to operate them, and that would probably mean a guard booth somewhere in the entrance area. Mr. Lorenzetti and Mr. Parsons said they would put the question of retractable bollards to the Park Police and to their security advisors.
Mary Oehrlein was then introduced to discuss her design for the two food service buildings. She said that although these would be larger than the four others on the Mall, they would be the same design, as those had been approved by the Commission as prototypes for additional service kiosks elsewhere in the Park Service system. The Chairman said he understood that way of thinking, that people were comfortable with something they were familiar with fulfilling a specific function, but there were also other ways of looking at it. In the Tuileries in Paris, for example, the various kiosks scattered through that large park were all of the same period and had the same character, but there was a variety, both in scale and design. Here, there could be a chance to use creative young designers to produce something that would reflect our own time, not something to shock, but to reflect current architectural thinking. Ms. Oehrlein said she had simply followed the agreement that the 1996 design was to be used for future construction. Ms. Balmori commented that the new kiosks were to be considerably larger than the others, and increase in size often meant an adjustment in the design. Mrs. Nelson noted that although larger, the new kiosks did not make provision for restrooms, and she thought that in this part of the Mall there was a dearth of such facilities; that the small restrooms in the basements of the Lincoln and other nearby memorials were not sufficient. There was agreement that this was a good point. She also thought that a color change would improve the appearance, keeping the copper roof but painting the rest in a grey-green, rather than in the yellowish color seen on the existing kiosks. Mr. Parsons said he would be agreeable to that color change.
The discussion ended with the Chairman saying that, in this case, considering the work that had already been done under the prototype assumption, he thought the Commission could approve these kiosks. He told Mr. Parsons, however, that for any future food service facilities, the Park Service should take a fresh look.
Judy Scott Feldman, chairman of the National Coalition to Save Our Mall, was introduced next. She began by deploring the fact that the Park Service was presenting these items for approval when the Section 106 process had not been completed, and the public had not had a chance to comment on the proposals. She asked the Commission not to take action on them. She commented on the Smithsonian’s 106 public consultation and the interesting ideas that had come from the participants–architects, landscape architects, historians, etc.–including the discussion of to what extent security should take precedence over design and concept. She thought also that security measures could be made less conspicuous by being placed in shrubbery, berms or some other kind of barrier.
She liked the idea of retractable bollards, especially in a place as important as the Lincoln Memorial entrance area. She commented on other Park Service proposals, and she closed by asking that security for the Mall be developed as a plan for the entire area, not presented piecemeal, building by building. Her statement is attached as Exhibit.
The Chairman thanked Ms. Feldman for her comments, saying that while the Commission did not always agree with her, it thought many of her ideas had merit, and he encouraged her to keep up her good work and not feel “too embattled.” He told Mr. Parsons that he thought Ms. Feldman’s comments on having an overall plan for Mall security were particularly good, and although the Commission had responded, out of necessity, to requests for approval of individual projects, he would encourage more thinking, in the future, about large-scale planning. He noted also the Vice-Chairman’s interest in overall planning for security throughout the city.
Turning to the specific matter at hand, Mr. Childs asked what level of approval Mr. Parsons was asking for in regard to the project under consideration. He was told that final approval had been requested. Before the Commission deliberated on what kind of approval could be given, the Vice- Chairman returned to the question of a comprehensive plan for security on the Mall and asked Mr. Parsons for his views.
Mr. Parsons said first that the last plan for the Mall in general had been done by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in 1966, and subsequent to that, the Mall was essentially divided into five parts, as follows: 1) the Mall itself, from 3rd to 14th Street; 2) the Washington Monument grounds; 3) West Potomac Park, extending all the way to the Tidal Basin; 4) the White House and President’s Park; and 5) Pennsylvania Avenue. He said each of these parts had had separate planning efforts since that time. He commented then on the legislation just passed by Congress which provided for a no-build area in all the above-mentioned parks with the exception of Pennsylvania Avenue. He said this was an outgrowth of the Memorials and Museums Master Plan formulated by the NCPC, the Park Service, and the Commission of Fine Arts and adopted in 2000. He said the Park Service was pleased with the legislation because it said that the Mall was a completed work of civic art and should not have any more museums or memorials on it. This gave them the chance to start on a plan not for development of the Mall but for its conservation and restoration and ways to bring it to the highest degree of operation and maintenance, especially in the light of such occurrences as massive demonstrations and other similar events. For now, however, after working for four or five years with the encouragement of the Planning Commission to provide security for each one of the memorials, he thought it would be unconscionable to continue to show the public Jersey barriers around the nation’s most treasured icons just because they had not gotten agreement “on every piece of the pie.” He urged approval of the Lincoln Memorial project with the details that had been discussed.
The Vice-Chairman asked Mr. Parsons if he thought that since the legislation had been passed, another look would be taken at the entire site to see if some of the security measures, particularly the bollards, could be eliminated? Mr. Parsons said that in the short term, the answer was no; what the Commission had seen and approved was what would be carried out. On the other hand, he said he believed that every bollard that was put up was temporary.
The Chairman said it was time to take a vote. He said the submission had two parts–the plans for the circle and the roadways, and the two visitor facility buildings. The plans for the first part were unanimously approved, with the comments and recommendations made and the expectation that further refinements would be reviewed. The plans for the buildings did not receive final approval. Several members were willing to approve them with some changes in detailing, color, and signage; others thought it was time for a change, and the Park Service should start over. The Chairman thought that at this point it was a case of “water over the dam”, that the Park Service had followed instructions given them previously by this Commission, and that the buildings were not really unacceptable in this situation. In the future, he hoped for a better solution. He suggested that preliminary approval could be given, with a request for some modification of the color, signage, and perhaps other details. On this basis, unanimous approval was given for the visitor facility buildings.
Discussion of item not on the agenda: Georgetown Waterfront Park
The Chairman took advantage of Mr. Parson’s presence to thank him for the site inspection the previous day of the site for the Georgetown Waterfront Park. He said the Commission had reaffirmed its support for a park in this location, formerly a District of Columbia impoundment lot and presently a parking lot, that would bring the experience of this extraordinary waterfront location to all of Washington, not just Georgetown. In general, he said the Commission supported the idea of a simple park coming to the water’s edge, broken up in some way to react to the street grid, with a minimal number of features on it, but utilizing pavilions and follies as points of interest and convenience–the same thing they had talked about on the site inspection. This would be a park not for active sports, but for the “incidental enjoyment of pedestrians at the waterfront edge.”
Mr. Childs told Mr. Parsons that the Commission would like to write him a letter to this effect, and would look forward to the refinements and detailing, as well as further simplification, as the plans progressed. Mr. Parsons said that would be very helpful, and he said they were committed to returning with more study of what to do at the foot of Wisconsin Avenue, as he sensed that was where the real issue was.
2. CFA 20/NOV/03-2 U.S. Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial), Arlington Ridge Road at Meade Street, Arlington, Virginia. Rehabilitation of lighting. Concept. This submission was postponed.
B. Department of the Treasury/United States Mint
1. CFA 20/OCT/03-3, Fifty States circulating/commemorative quarter program for 2005. Designs for the California and West Virginia state quarters. (Previous: CFA 19/JUN/03-8) Staff member Sue Kohler introduced Stacy Anderson from the Mint to present this project, noting that the members had already received the designs for both quarters in their pre-meeting packages. Ms. Anderson began with the West Virginia submission and said the Mint had worked with Governor Wise’s office on the designs, noting that a statewide competition had been held and the designs judged by a group of high school art students selected by the governor. The Mint had also consulted the director of the West Virginia Archives and History for information on the background of the designs and why they had been chosen.
Design #1, “Appalachian Warmth” showed the West Virginia Star quilt pattern covering the outline of the state, honoring the quilt-making tradition that had been passed down through the generations in this state. It was agreed that a quilt pattern could be made into a beautiful design, but it did not work covering the state outline. Several members commented that to judge a good coin design, some knowledge of the art was needed, and high school students were not usually that well-trained or mature enough to act as judges. Of the other designs, only #4, showing the New River Gorge Bridge and the mountainous banks of the river it spanned, was deemed acceptable, and it was unanimously approved as the Commission’s choice.
Turning to the California coin, Ms. Anderson said the governor’s office had a wide level of public input at the beginning, with people asked to submit design concepts. These were then narrowed down in an on-line poll, and then further narrowed down to five (the maximum allowed) by the state librarian’s office. Ms. Zimmerman asked if the Mint had any control over how the different states operated, as far as the means of selecting designs was determined. Ms. Anderson said that was entirely up to the governor, but recently the Mint had been meeting with state representatives and talking to them about learning from the past, as far as process and successful coin design were concerned. But again, she said, the whole process was under the control of the governors. The Chairman suggested that the Commission might draft a statement, offering guidelines on coin design, not just for this program but for other graphic programs undertaken by the government.
The California designs were then reviewed. Of the five presented, #2, commemorating John Muir, was thought to have some possibilities, but as drawn was much too busy. Design #3, showing stylized waves with a setting sun behind, was also considered, but it was thought to be too dated in the way it was rendered. The favorite was #5, showing the Golden Gate Bridge. It was thought, however, that the incorrectly- scaled palm trees and even the sequoias should be removed, leaving only the California poppies and the rocks on either side.
2. CFA 20/NOV/03-4, Medal for Secretary of the Treasury Paul H. O’Neill. Design. Ms. Kohler commented first on the tradition of issuing medals for cabinet members, noting that in the case of Treasury secretaries, it began with the first one, Alexander Hamilton, who took office in 1789. She showed a photograph of this medal before introducing Barbara Bradford from the Mint to discuss Secretary O’Neill’s medal.
Ms. Bradford said Mr. O’Neill had selected the portrait he wished to have used on the obverse, and on the reverse asked to have the Treasury seal flanked by eagles. She noted that the choice of a reverse design was up to the recipient. There were no objections to the reverse design, but there was general agreement that on the obverse portrait, the head was too large. The Chairman pointed to the obverse of the Hamilton medal, noting that the proportion of the head to the body, and of the size of the image to the coin were much better. Ms. Zimmerman commented also that the clothing was rendered in detail and not just sketched in as it was on the O’Neill medal. With these comments and recommendations, the medal was unanimously approved.
(The agenda order was changed, and the GSA project for the Department of Transportation, II.F.3, was discussed next.)
F. General Services Administration
3. CFA 20/NOV/03-10, U.S. Department of Transportation, Southeast Federal Center, M Street and New Jersey Avenue, SE. New Headquarters Building. Material samples, final. The Assistant Secretary said GSA had brought their design team to give the members a background presentation on the design of this building, but what was actually before the Commission was the selection of materials only. He introduced Michael McGill from GSA to begin the presentation.
Mr. McGill said this would not be a typical GSA presentation because the project was a build-to-suit lease. He said it also happened to be the first new Cabinet-level headquarters that GSA had developed in the last quarter century. Because this was a build-to-suit lease, Mr. McGill said a substantial part of the presentation would be made by the developer and his architectural team. He asked project manager John Simeon to introduce the team members.
Mr. Simeon acknowledged the developer, Ben Jacobs, and his team, David Jacobs and Bob Elliott, in the audience, and then introduced Mike Crackel and Tom Rowe with Michael Graves & Associates, architects. Mr. Crackel began by noting that the Commission had toured the site just prior to this meeting, saying that it was perhaps the first time any of them had seen it. He described it as a 55-acre site, located on the Anacostia River. He pointed out New Jersey Avenue and 3rd Street, both now terminating at M Street, and said these streets, along with 4th Street and Tingey Street, would all be reopened. The DOT project would be bounded by M Street, 4th Street, Tingey Street, and New Jersey Avenue. It would consist of two wings, east and west, separated by 3rd Street; the total length along M Street would be about 800 feet, the length of the Commerce Department building in the Federal Triangle. It would be broken down further into north and south sections, separated by east-west atriums in both wings. Mr. Crackel pointed out an existing historic building (#170) on the southwest part of the site, and another building (#167) to the southeast, but not on their property. Following the 1992 master plan, the west wing would be allowed to rise to nine stories, with the east wing limited to eight; he added that the east wing actually stepped down along 3rd street to six stories. The only view corridor deemed “somewhat critical” was the view across the Anacostia, specifically from the Anacostia Metro stop, across the DOT site and toward the Capitol; he said that had been preserved.
Mr. Rowe continued with some observations on the site plan. There would be a 50-foot force protection setback all the way around, and he noted that that requirement had driven some of the massing and the landscaping, as well as how the building was organized. New Jersey Avenue, 4th and Tingey streets would be reopened to vehicular traffic, but the reopened section of 3rd Street would be for pedestrians only. The garage entrance would be off Tingey Street, loading off 4th Street, and the main entrance, marked by a curved portico, on New Jersey Avenue; there would be auxiliary entrances on 3rd and 4th streets, so it would be possible to walk all the way through the building. Mr. Crackel commented on the preliminary landscape plans, saying there would be willow oaks along M Street, as intended in the M Street development plans, and that the
50-foot setback would allow more landscaping in that area to form a sort of linear park around the building.
There was a discussion between the Chairman and Mr. McGill about the ownership of adjacent land parcels, particularly the small park area between Canal and 2nd streets, and which areas were public and which were privately owned. Mr. Rowe spoke briefly about the security requirement that there be no retail below any occupied space in the building, but he said there would be adaptive reuse of Building 170 and a new retail structure erected in the same area. Mr. Crackel recalled that the 1992 master plan had set aside that area as public space, so it would be developed with the retail uses and an open area called Southwest Plaza, for multi-purpose use by both DOT employees and the public.
Elevation drawings were then shown, and Mr. Crackel talked about the materials and their colors, the only aspect of the project that the Commission had been asked to comment on. The New Jersey elevation would be the most prominent, with a curved portico entrance, white marble up to the third floor slab and precast above that. The precast would be colored–blue-green or terra cotta–mixed with white infill areas. The other elevations would be similar, with the same color mixture. The blue-green and red colors would be repeated on the new retail building in the Southwest Plaza area. Mr. Crackel noted on all the elevations that there were areas that had been set back to break up what would otherwise be excessively long facades in this very large building.
The Chairman questioned Mr. Crackel about the precast coloring, saying he had some concern about the stability of the colors–whether they would fade or become mottled with time. Mr. Crackel said they had been quite successful with the terra cottas but had had some trouble with the blues and greens. Mr. Rowe said they had found that what worked best for the fading, especially with the blue-greens, was to mix the color with the grey aggregate and sand. Mr. Childs then asked him about the size of the terra cotta panels and was told they were not sure yet, but his guess was they were going to go “from column to column 30 feet.”
Developer Benjamin Jacobs was then introduced. Mr. Jacobs first clarified the response to Mr. Childs’ question about the Canal Street park area by saying that the land was owned by the federal government but had been given over to the District to control. He said Congress had appropriated money for this park area to be restored and that his firm, as part of their PUD package had contributed an additional $2.5 million. Mr. Jacobs said the only thing he would like to call attention to was the balance they had been able to develop between security requirements and public amenities, not only the retail and the Southwest Plaza development, but what he called a “ walking museum” activating the entire site, featuring enameled steel panels detailing the history and various kinds of transportation.
Questions were then asked about the bollards, and if a long line of them could be broken up by incorporating some landscape elements, especially in the linear park area. Mr. Rowe said they would be doing exactly that, burying some of the bollards in hedges, and using planters, low walls, fountains, and seating elements as well as bollards to provide security. He said the landscape architects would be Lee & Associates, and they would have their plan more fully developed later. Ms. Balmori asked about the width of the section of green material at the edge of the sidewalks and was told it would be about 15 feet, except on M Street where it would be about 20. Mr. Crackel said he believed there would be a 30-35 percent green coverage on the site, including trees and grass areas. Mrs. Nelson asked what the paving would be for the Southwest Plaza; Mr. Row said it would brick pavers; sidewalks would be a mixture of granite, stamped concrete, and precast concrete pavers.
The Chairman remarked that transportation buildings had a tradition of portraying their purpose either on the interior or exterior, in the form of some kind of artwork, for example, the murals at Grand Central Station in New York. He suggested there could also be examples of the real thing here, rather than just metal cut-outs, ranging from an entire locomotive–such as Raymond Lowey’s GG1–to smaller examples that would animate the scale of this very large building. He was happy to see the interest in a “walking museum” and encouraged any other ways to involve the public in the work of the Department through art. Ms. Zimmerman asked if GSA’s Percent for Art program would apply here and was told that it would not, because this would be a leased building, built and owned by the private sector.
In closing, the Chairman commended all those involved in the design of the building. He thought it would be a handsome addition to the area and applauded its liveliness and color. He thought the color, for which the architect was well-known, would give scale and texture to the entire project and play a role in the separation of the design elements. Mrs. Nelson commented on the way the building complemented the existing architecture, and thanked those who had made the tour of the entire Southeast Federal Center possible.
C. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
CFA 20/NOV/03- 5, New York Avenue Metrorail Station. Red Line- between Florida Avenue and M Street on 2nd Street, NE. Metropolitan Trail access stair and elevator. Concept. (Previous: CFA 15/MAY/03- 7). Mr. Lindstrom told the Commission that the proposed New York Avenue Metro Station was the first station to be built outside of the original plan for Metro. It had been seen several times by the Commission and had received final approval. At different stages in the project's development, a vertical element, an elevator and stair tower to allow access from the Washington Metropolitan Bicycle Trail to the station's main entrance, was included and deleted. The Commission had seen designs for this element previously and the applicants were returning with a revised design. Mr. Lindstrom introduced John Thomas, project manager for Metro.
Mr. Thomas recalled to the Commission that during an earlier review, they asked Metro to revisit the design of the tower, if it decided that the tower would be included. As a result, they were presenting a revised design. Because of time restraints, Mr. Thomas requested that any subsequent approval be delegated to the Commission staff. He then introduced John Ferguson, lead architect for Jacobs Engineering, to present the project.
Mr. Ferguson showed the Commission renderings of the originally proposed tower and the revised design. He said that to avoid overwhelming the pavilion entrance, the elevator and stairs would be broken up into two elements, whereas they had comprised a combined element previously. Because of the difficulties in incorporating the rest of the station design, particularly the arched roof, into the tower's design, a decision was made to create an independent element that would use similar materials.
The stair, which would not be enclosed, would be made of precast concrete, and would use the same handrail system as the bicycle trail. The car and tower would be made of slightly tinted glass, to the maximum degree possible. The possibility of installing fans at the top of the car, to keep it cool in the summer, was being investigated. The tower structure would be steel frame, a gray color called Chantilly Lace. The song of the same name would be the elevator music.
The Commission received this design very favorably, though two questions arose. The first concerned the fans, and whether the top element of the tower would need to be larger to accommodate them. Mr. Ferguson said the fans would reside atop the car, rather than the top element and the size of the top piece would not be affected. The other question was about how the tower would affect the art element, approved by the Commission in May. Mr. Ferguson replied that the art element itself would not change, but that its location might. Since they were in the process of working with the artist concerning the art and its placement, Mr. Ferguson declined to elaborate any further.
With compliments to the applicants, the Chairman delegated final approval of the project to the Commission staff.
(Whereupon, the Commission adjourned for lunch at 12:39 p.m. until 1:37 p.m.)
D. Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia
CFA 20/NOV/03- 6, Karrick Hall (Building #17). Reservation 13, 1900 Massachusetts Avenue, SE. Building renovation and alterations. Concept. Ms. Alg introduced John Henley of Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia to present a concept proposal to renovate Karrick Hall, located on the 1900 block of Massachusetts Avenue S.E. Mr. Henley gave a brief overview of the proposal before introducing Larry Sauer of Heery Architects to make the presentation. Mr. Henley said that Karrick Hall, built in 1961, was primarily a reinforced concrete structure with a brick facade. In addition to internal renovations to the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and fire systems, repairs would be made to the brick facade and the coping, among other things. He then turned the presentation over to Mr. Sauer.
Mr. Sauer began by orienting the Commission to Karrick Hall’s location, between D.C. General and the jail. He showed images of existing conditions and highlighted elements to be renovated or replaced, including the single glazed windows, the deteriorating coping and the metal butterfly-shaped canopy on the roof. The canopy, painted with lead paint, would be removed. Moving to the balconies on the east elevation, Mr. Sauer said these would be enclosed and used as interior space. Other proposed changes would include an outdoor recreation area, a screened-in service area and a mechanical penthouse on the roof.
Enclosing the balconies posed some concerns, Mr. Sauer said. The building was on light foundations, and if the intent was to match the existing brick, there was some question as to whether the structure would support that weight. The proposed solution would be to use a metal panel as a screen that would enclose the balcony. As to the windows, these would be replaced with aluminum windows with double rather than single glazing. The deteriorating precast coping would be replaced with a metal, painted to match the precast. Mr. Sauer then showed a before and after rendering of the east elevation with its enclosed balconies and reduced number of windows. The reduction of windows, he explained, was to accommodate the need for wall space on the interior.
The Chairman noted that the two distinctive elements of the building were the open balconies and the canopy, and asked what the canopy was used for. Mr. Sauer said the canopy had been used for a rooftop recreation area in the past, but since there would no longer be such an area, the canopy would be removed. He acknowledged that the canopy was the building’s only “signature” piece, but also pointed out that its hazardous material, the lead paint, made it necessary to remove it. The Chairman said the proposed asymmetrical composition of the east elevation would result in a loss of depth on that facade, and he asked if there was any reason why the balconies could not be filled in with windows and thus retain a horizontal progression. Mr. Sauer replied that the need for wall space and concerns about heat gain informed the decision to reduce the number of windows, though filling in the space with a curtain wall was also considered.
Ms. Balmori remarked that the proposed treatment would make the building seem “excessively enclosed and jail-like.” She said that where there had previously been an element of expansivity, there was now a very much a sense of turning inward, and that neither the public nor private aspects of the building would be improved. The Chairman concurred and said that he would recommend doing a strip window with a base and using the interior wall for the wall surfaces. While the loss of the signature canopy was regrettable, the Chairman acknowledged that no purpose would be served by retaining it. Ms. Zimmerman asked if the windows would be able to be opened, as if that were not the case, the enclosed aspect would be more acute. Mr. Sauer said that the windows will be able to be opened about six inches as a security measure. In considering the discussion, however, Mr. Sauer indicated strip windows may be used.
The Chairman concluded the discussion by expressing the hope that the building’s old structure and proportions would be brought out as much as possible on the elevations, and he thanked the applicants for their presentation.
E. Union Station Redevelopment Corporation
CFA 20/NOV/03- 7, Union Station Parking Garage, H Street, between 1st and 2nd streets, NE. Garage expansion. Concept. Mr. Martinez said that the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC) was seeking the Commission’s guidance as they consider their options for the expansion of their garage. He introduced David Ball of the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation.
Mr. Ball provided some background information on the garage. He said its construction began in 1970. The National Park Service completed a portion of it and when the development corporation came back into existence in 1984 with the District of Columbia, the garage was completed. The north facade was not completed, in anticipation of expansion. Mr. Ball said that since the garage, as it exists, does not complement Capitol Hill, the USRC would appreciate some feedback and ideas for the garage expansion.
Mr. Ball said the garage expansion would free up the bus deck, currently occupied by winter cars and monthly parkers. Once the bus deck is freed up, it would be able to accommodate about 125 tour buses on a daily basis. A mezzanine in the parking garage would accommodate the winter cars. More spaces would be needed for daily parkers and station emergencies. At the 1,400 car capacity, Mr. Ball said that by 8:00 AM, there were some 500 spaces remaining. The USRC Board of Directors approved the expansion, Mr. Ball said, and the firms of Timothy Hayes and RTKL were hired as designers and architects. Mr. Ball then introduced Rod Henderer of RTKL to make the presentation.
Mr. Henderer said that his firm had only been hired one week before and that he was going to talk about the concept for garage expansion rather than present a design, in order to receive design advise. Showing an aerial photograph, Mr. Henderer indicated the location of the proposed expansion. He said the expansion would add four levels and expand approximately 190 feet from the north face of the existing garage. He showed a photograph of the south facade of the garage, because on the original plan of 1970, the intention was for the north facade to look the same way. The south facade is not seen widely, because it was blocked by the station. The north facade would be highly visible from H Street and other points north, including New York Avenue. It also faced an area of land that would be developed in the future. This was significant, because design decisions made for the north facade would impact future development. The nature of the future development was not known, although there was the possibility that an elevated pedestrian pathway from the top of the H Street bridge into Union Station would be built.
Mr. Henderer said that the garage could be completed following the original 1970 design. An opportunity for a new design approach was available. He said that the garage would also be very visible from G Street at North Capitol Street. This vista extended to Massachusetts Avenue. Because of the high visibility on this axis, Mr. Henderer said that it would be important to incorporate the character of a new design approach into the existing facade of the garage. The Chairman agreed that this would be a good approach and further suggested that Mr. Henderer research some recent examples of contemporary garages constructed within the last decade. He cited a structure at the airport in Toronto as an example. Echoing Mr. Henderer’s concerns about future development, he agreed that the facade design, in that context, would be critical. Mr. Henderer and the USRC were complimented on their proposed direction and thanked for their presentation.
F. General Services Administration
1. CFA 20/NOV/03- 8, U. S. Court of Military Appeals. Judiciary Square, 450 E Street, Perimeter Security. Design. Ms. Alg introduced the next project, perimeter security for the U.S. Court of Military Appeals in Judiciary Square. She that GSA, on behalf of the Court, was proposing a strip of bollards in front of the main entrance. They did not have a specific design sleeve for the bollards, since it would need to be sleeved with a design deemed appropriate for the entire Judiciary Square. She introduced Michael McGill of GSA to introduce the project and the design team.
Mr. McGill said that the Court was willing to be very flexible and to defer a final design until a master plan for Judiciary Square could be established. However, since there was an immediate need for perimeter security, the Court was proposing placing bollards within 18 inches of the curb so that they could achieve a nearly 20 foot setback. Mr. McGill said that the Court was willing to change whatever sleeve they install and also to defer resurfacing their sidewalk in order to comply with the forthcoming master plan. Even though there was an immediate need for security, Mr. McGill said that the Court was striving to avoid interim solutions such as Jersey barriers or concrete planters. He then introduced architect Ed Sonnenschein and Bill DeCicco, clerk of the Court.
Mr. Sonnenschein said that the U. S. Court of Military Appeals was a very sensitive historic building, given the Court’s functions. He showed a site plan and indicated the close proximity of the building to the street as a vulnerability that concerned the judges. The proposal, then, was for a row of security bollards set back from the curb and lined up with street lights and other appurtenances such as parking signs and fire hydrants. The bollards would march across the front of the building and the line would allow nearly nine and a half feet from the steps and about 20 feet from the building. He said a very simple bollard with a sleeve that could be replaced would be installed at the standard setback form the curb. The bollard would be set on a sleeve that would be buried four feet below the sidewalk in concrete. The sleeve would be about six to eight inches, and with its inner core, a 15,000 pound truck driving 50 miles per hour could be stopped. The spacing along the curb would be about four feet and the bollards would be 42 inches high.
The Chairman asked if the bollards could be shorter, and Mr. Sonnenschein replied that since the established standard height for bollards in the city was 36 to 42 inches, they could easily make the bollards 36 inches high. He noted that at other bollard installations such as those at the Eisenhower, Interior South and the Federal Reserve, there was consistency. The bollards were all between 36 and 42 inches high, and all four foot on center to allow for pedestrians, persons with disabilities and so forth. What was being proposed for the Court was becoming a standard that respected circulation aspects as well as security concerns.
At the request of the Chairman, Ms. Alg asked David Levy, of the National Capital Planning Commission to address the project. Mr. Levy said that this project was scheduled for review by NCPC at their next meeting on 4 December. He said that at that point in time, NCPC intended disapproval, since it did not comply with the draft master plan which called for a landscape and hardened fence solution at that location. He added that NCPC required that projects at Judiciary Square be accompanied by a threat assessment that justified the solution being proposed. In this case, he said, the threat assessment recommended concrete planters rather than bollards.
Mr. McGill said that the threat assessment referred to from 2002 suggested planters as a preliminary temporary solution. He outlined the reasons for selecting bollards. One was that the D.C. Department of Transportation indicated to the Court that bollards would be their preference. Another reason was the narrowness of the sidewalk. Planters or Jersey barriers would need to go into the curb lane. The Court therefore opted to forgo a temporary solution in favor of a more permanent solution, the bollards. Mr. McGill also pointed out that the master plan, which was being done by GSA on behalf of the D.C. Courts, may not even include provisions for perimeter security, which would be done on a project by project basis. He added that the work called for in the master plan would not even be implemented unless and until the D.C. Courts receive the necessary appropriations. Mr. McGill restated that the Court was willing to be very flexible, and make changes at a later date, if need be, but that their need for security perimeter work was immediate.
Members of the Commission indicated that they would prefer bollards to concrete planters, especially since “temporary” solutions tended to be in place for a long time. A 36 inch high bollard was also preferred to a 42 inch high bollard. The Chairman concurred and said the Commission appreciated the Court’s flexibility in this matter. He was mindful, however, of NCPC’s position in light of the work they have undertaken on security matters. In the spirit of cooperation and coordination with NCPC in this area where both commissions had jurisdiction, the Chairman suggested that the Commission delay taking official action until after NCPC’s review of the project on 4 December.
2. CFA 20/NOV/03-9, Environmental Protection Agency, Ariel Rios Building Constitution Avenue and 12th Street, NW. New courtyard design and landscaping. Revised concept. (Previous: CFA 16/OCT/03-11). Ms. Alg recalled the previous submission for this project, during which the Commission asked for simplification in both the design of the pathways and in the planting. She again introduced Michael McGill from GSA. Mr. McGill asked the Commission to consider giving the project final, instead of concept approval after hearing the presentation. He introduced Janet Kenoyer, their horticulturist, who in turn introduced Neil Weinstein from the Low Impact Development Center, Inc.
Mr. Weinstein described the existing conditions in the courtyard–the use of part of it for loading dock, utilities, chillers, etc. and then the open area with a recently- renovated fountain and two large sophora trees; it was this area they were seeking to rehabilitate, taking as their theme innovative materials to address environmental issues such as energy, storm water retention, and reduction of pollution, as well as the “tweaking” of existing hard surface materials, such as flagstones and other kinds of hard pavement, so that they could address some of the storm water and water quality problems.
He showed a plan, noting that the paths had been simplified, as the Commission had recommended; they were no longer curved but followed the basically triangular shape of the space, avoiding as much as possible the drip line of the trees. It was also noted that the planting had been simplified. Mr. Weinstein then discussed the proposed paving of the paths. He said he wanted a permeable surface and had selected a porous concrete; he showed a sample, saying that the water would go through, be stored, and then released slowly. The Chairman asked if the concrete came in other colors, and Mr. Weinstein it was available in almost any color desired. He was asked if it tended to fill up with debris and get clogged; he answered that it should be vacuumed or the debris blown out, but he said there were lots of interstitial spaces and it took a long time to become clogged. He said there would be about a foot of coarse gravel below to store the water. In answer to the Chairman’s question, he said the material did not come in precast pieces but was poured in place. There would be joint lines, but it would not look like a sidewalk. Mr. Childs asked if it could be done in 2x3-foot sections, like the District’s pavers, and Mr. Weinstein said that would not be a problem. Mr. Childs thought that would be much better than to have a big sheet that looked like scored concrete. Ms. Balmori thought that the material was available as pavers.
Mr. Weinstein said the central, wedge-shaped patio area would be paved with the same flagstones used in the existing fountain area, to show that a traditional hard material could be used and the water run-off could still be saved. This would be done by grading the surface slightly, allowing the water to run off into a cistern and be saved for irrigation purposes.
The discussion turned to the two green roof pavilions placed on either side of the north-south axis. Mr. Weinstein said they had been included for two reasons: to provide shade for those sitting in the courtyard, and to show , with their curved roofs, that the green roof technology could be flexible in form and not just applied to a standard flat roof. There was considerable discussion about these pavilions and whether they were really appropriate in this rather confined area. It was questioned whether they were too large, and if people would really want to sit under them in this particular courtyard, which was actually quite shady. The Chairman commented that there was always a tendency to try to do too much in one place, and he thought teaching about water retention might be the big thing to stress here, and the green roof idea could be demonstrated elsewhere. There was general agreement that this was true, and that final approval could be given to the other elements presented, with the Commission’s comments, but that the pavilions should not be included in this courtyard.
G. District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department
CFA 20/NOV/03- 11, Metropolitan Police Department Institute of Police Science (Training Academy). 4665 Blue Plains Drive, SW. Classroom addition and renovations. Revised design. (Previous: CFA 19/JUN/03- 12). Mr. Martinez said the Commission had enthusiastically approved the concept for the proposed training academy in June 2003. He introduced Rachel Chung of Sorg Architects to present the project's developments.
Ms. Chung showed the Commission the elevations that were approved in June, and revised elevations showing changes made to the design. She said that these changes were made as a cost cutting measure at the request of their client, the Metropolitan Police Department. The building would be lowered by approximately one foot and a stair tower to the roof would be eliminated. In order to anchor the corner where the stair tower was, the parapet would be raised. In an effort to simplify the curtain wall, the smaller mullions would be eliminated, but the wall would retain its different patterns, frosted and clear glass. The overhang material, previously GFRC, would be Hardyplank, a concrete material designed to simulate the appearance of wood.
The Commission indicated that the proposed changes would not compromise the character of the previously approved design, and gave this proposal approval as well.
H. District of Columbia Public Schools / U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
CFA 20/NOV/03- 12, Birney Elementary School. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Sumner Road, SE. New school building. Revised design-Final. (Previous: CFA 16/OCT/03- 19). Ms. Alg introduced the revised design for the Birney School by indicating that the design team had refined and simplified the elevations and refined the colors. She introduced Geoffrey Lewis and Felipe Turriago to present the project.
Mr. Lewis showed elevations from the previous meeting along side the revised elevations to highlight the differences. He said they were still pursuing a combination wood and steel rib for the curving wall at the front entry. The curving wall would also contain a brick rib, consistent with the rest of the building. While the amount of colors on the front would be reduced, they were also represented more truthfully on the renderings,as the previously shown graphics were not entirely accurate. Mr. Lewis reiterated that the building as a whole was a development of brick patterns, colors and textures.
Turning to the rear facade, Mr. Lewis pointed out the textile type pattern in the pandrel location and said that the number of colors was reduced. He also highlighted the blue accent color throughout the building. A curved blue ribbed metal panel with a clerestory window would allow light into the media center. This curved element would be picked up in the courtyard as it swept the second story part of it.
Returning to the front elevation, Mr. Lewis indicated the recessed bricks, which would add texture, and the textile patterned brick at the entrance, which would enter into the administration area, with a music room above it. The blue doors and the accented windows would add to the effect. The inspiration for this pattern was kinte cloth.
Mr. Lewis concluded by praising the Commission staff for their encouragement and assistance. In summation, he said that the building was a modernist expression; not one large kind of traditional school, but the expression of many different pieces. A slight shadow line developed with the brick, some of the yellows were either lightened or eliminated, the red doors were eliminated and on the whole the effect was more muted. The complexity of the materials and the variety of colors was reduced.
The Commission generally felt that the design was much improved, but was still more complex than necessary in terms of its many patterns, colors and textures. The placement of windows within the patterned faìade seemed arbitrary, and red columns on the front and rear facades were considered unharmonious. While it was understood that the attempt was to weave complex forms, textures and materials together, the complexities and contradictions only distracted. It was suggested that the pattern on the front facade at the entrance be configured to reflect the fact that the music room was directly behind it. With these comments, the Chairman delegated final approval of the design to the staff.
I. District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
I. Old Georgetown Act
a. O.G. 03-289, 1525 32nd Street, NW. New single family dwelling. Concept. Mr. Martinez recalled to the Commission that in May of 2003, they gave concept approval for the location, massing and scale for one of five houses proposed for 32nd Street. He said that the Board met with the applicants at least three times since then to review the design approach. During these reviews the Board looked at architectural details and were satisfied with the design's progress. Window and material selections still need to be discussed and the applicants must obtain zoning clearance before coming back for a permit, but the Board was happy with the design. Mr. Martinez then introduced George Stavropoulos, the architect, and Andi Adams, architectural historian.
Mr. Stavropoulos highlighted some of the proposed architectural details. In order to make the door more prominent, the steps would be precast or cast stone, as would all of the window sills. The window dividers would be two over two. The rear elevation would have more openings in the form of more in-scale doors. The roof material would be slate and the top would be lead-coated copper. The brick was not yet selected.
Emily Thompson of Traceries spoke on behalf of Gunner Halley, a neighbor on 32nd Street. She said that Mr. Halley and other 32nd Street neighbors were opposed to the project because they felt the house, as proposed, would overwhelm the scale and character of 32nd Street. Ms. Adams reiterated that both the Old Georgetown Board and the Commission determined that the size, height and massing of the proposed house were acceptable in that location, given its adjacency to larger buildings to the north.
A motion for concept approval was made and carried.
b. Appendix I. Mr. Martinez said supplemental drawings received after the Old Georgetown Board's meetings were confirmed by the Board and that this would be reflected in the Old Georgetown appendix. He highlighted case OG 03- 241, an addition at a residence at 2908 N Street NW. Noting a dispute between the applicants and the neighbors regarding privacy, the Board recommended that the side windows at the second floor level be deleted, that brick be used on all the walls of the new construction and that evergreen landscaping on raised planters be installed to provide screening. With those comments, the appendix was approved.
2. Shipstead-Luce Act
a. Appendix II. Ms. Alg said that apart from the receipt of supplemental information for some cases, there were no major changes to the Shipstead- Luce appendix. The appendix was unanimously approved.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 3:32 p.m.
Charles H. Atherton