The meeting was convened at 9:43 a.m. in the Commission of Fine Arts offices in the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001.
Hon. David M. Childs, Chairman
Hon. Earl A. Powell III, Vice-Chairman
Hon. Diana Balmori
Hon. Pamela Nelson
Hon. Elyn Zimmerman
Mr. Charles H. Atherton, Secretary
Mr. Frederick J.Lindstrom, Assistant Secretary
Ms. Kristina Alg
Ms. Sue Kohler
Mr. José Martínez
Ms. Susan Raposa
National Capital Planning Commission staff present:
Mr. David Hamilton
Mr. Eugene Keller
Mr. David Levy
Mr. Tony Simon
Ms. Nancy Witherell
D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board staff present:
Mr. David Maloney
Before the formal meeting began, the Chairman read a letter from Commission member and Vice-Chairman Donald Capoccia, who had resigned since the last meeting.
Mr. Childs noted that he had been a very effective member and a good friend to the Commission, and he would be missed. He asked that his letter be made part of the minutes. Exhibit A
A. Approval of the minutes of the meeting of 19 February. Mrs. Nelson asked about the comment made in the minutes that the head of Metro’s facilities would take the advertising proposal to his staff and report back to the Commission. The Assistant Secretary said he had been in contact with Ed Riley and they were working on this. He mentioned also that he had heard from a concerned architect who had worked with Harry Weese, the architect for Metro, and would pass his letter on to the Metro management. There were no further comments on the minutes, and they were approved without objection.
B. Dates of the next meetings were approved as:
C. Report on the testimony given to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the District of Columbia regarding projects on Judiciary Square undergoing review by the Commission. The Assistant Secretary reported that he had read a prepared statement regarding the renovation of Old City Hall for use by the D.C. Court of Appeals, and the design for the new National Museum for Law Enforcement Officers. He noted that both the statement and the transcript of the hearing had been sent to the members, and he offered to answer any questions about what was said later on. (The CFA statement will be attached as an exhibit.)
D. Report on the FY 2004 National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Program. The Assistant Secretary said twenty-one applications had been received, and as it was the same group as the preceding year, it was not necessary to convene a panel. He said he was in the process of processing the applications so that the grants could be generated through the established formula.
E. Confirmation of the approval of the last six bas-relief panels for the World War II Memorial. The Chairman asked for a motion to approve the panels, which was made by Mrs. Nelson; however, as Ms. Balmori and Ms. Zimmerman had not seen them and asked to abstain, the voting had to wait until the arrival of Mr. Powell for a quorum to be attained. At that time Mr. Powell gave his approval, and the panels were formally approved.
The Assistant Secretary then asked for a discussion of an item not on the agenda: the previous evening’s site inspection of a new lighting proposal for the Marine Corps Memorial. Although this was not an agenda item, he said he would like to be able to give the Park Service some feedback so they could continue to develop their plans and make a formal submission the following month.
The Chairman first thanked John Parsons and Sally Blumenthal for setting up the lighting demonstration and then summarized the Commission’s reactions. He said the feeling was that the up-lighting from the base tended to bleach out the entire memorial, and that pole lighting, minimized so as to give a sense of volume to the sculpture, would be preferable, with perhaps extremely subtle up-lighting at the bottom, just to light the rocks, not the figures. It was also felt that the light should vary depending on which side was being viewed, with the strongest light being on the east side, where the main view was. Ms. Zimmerman commented that they had also felt that it was more effective not to light the sculpture evenly, but to have a stronger light coming from one direction, so as to model the figures better, but not to leave the other side totally in shadow.
Mr. Powell entered the meeting at this point, and after he enthusiastically agreed to second the motion to approve Mr. Kaskey’s final panels for the World War II Memorial, the Chairman informed him of Mr. Capoccia’s letter and the need to elect a new Vice-Chairman. He noted for the record that he had discussed this with the other members, who had recommended Mr. Powell, and that he had also discussed it with Mr. Powell personally. He then asked for a motion to elect Mr. Powell Vice-Chairman. Mrs. Nelson made the motion, which was seconded by Ms. Zimmerman and carried unanimously. Mr. Powell said he was honored by the Commission’s vote and would be agreeable to serving.
The Chairman then noted that he and Mr. Atherton had been working to find a replacement for Mr. Atherton as Secretary, upon the occasion of his retirement at the end of May, and he asked Mr. Powell to join them in the search.
Mr. Lindstrom said he had a few more things to bring up before the submission reviews began. The first was to point out the letter regarding the Metro advertising that had been placed in the members’ folders; the second was to refer to another letter in their folders from Dr. Lucy Feldman, director of the National Zoo, regarding the Commission’s letter in response to the Zoo’s presentation of phase 1 of their Asia Trail project. The Chairman remarked that he had been pleased to hear of the Zoo’s new five- year accreditation, and he wished Ms. Spelman well in her continued efforts for the Zoo until her resignation took effect at the end of the year. He then turned to the submissions and reviews, noting that the order had been changed, and the District Court’s submission of renovations and additions to the Old City Hall (Courthouse) would be discussed first.
II. SUBMISSIONS AND REVIEWS
F. District of Columbia Courts/General Services Administration
CFA 18/MAR/04-8, District of Columbia Old Courthouse, Judiciary Square. between D and E streets, NW. Additions and renovation. The Assistant Secretary introduced Judge Annice Wagner to begin the presentation, to be followed by Hany Hassan from Beyer Blinder Belle to present the revised design. Judge Wagner began by remarking that she had seen a quote in the paper saying that historical buildings reflected the history of a people, and she thought that was what historic Judiciary Square did. It lent dignity to the important business carried out by the courts and was one of the original remaining green spaces identified by L’Enfant in his plan for the city. She described the old courthouse, built from 1821-1881, as the centerpiece of the square, and she said the renovations would meet the space requirements of the District Courts and help revitalize an important public space in the downtown area. She said that since the renovation was approved by Congress and the President in 1999, they had been able to secure the building and prevent further deterioration, but they needed the project to move forward expeditiously to avoid an increase in cost, further deterioration, and delay in the court’s master plan, which was badly needed. She said they had been fortunate in obtaining the services of Beyer Blinder Belle, and they had prepared a phase one design which would not infringe on the area legislated for use by the Law Enforcement Officers Museum. She said they had been having productive meetings with that organization’s representatives and were confident that they would eventually work out a design for the plaza entranceway that would be agreeable to both parties. She said, however, that the principles of good planning, design, and historical preservation would best be served by permitting the restoration of the Old Courthouse to proceed on schedule, which would allow occupancy by 2007. The Chairman said the Commission agreed with her assessment of the importance of both the Old Courthouse and Judiciary Square, and he thanked her for her testimony.
Mr. Lindstrom noted that John Belle had joined Hany Hassan and would begin the design presentation. Mr. Belle first showed historical photos and drawings and outlined the history of the building. He noted, too, the several porticos on the building and on the other court buildings on the square. Of particular importance was a drawing showing the various stages of construction, including the removal of the north portico in 1917. He showed a photo of the portico, which he had found very recently in the files of the Architect of the Capitol, whose office had been carried out its removal. He said restoration of this portico would open the courthouse once again to the other court buildings on the north side of the square, restoring the dignity of the entire court system and the free flow of people between the various buildings. The modern version of the portico would be a transparent pavilion, housing all the “people functions” required, and providing views through it to the facade of the old building; the part of the roof adjoining the building would also be glass, so that from the inside one could look up and see the third floor of the courthouse. The pattern in this glass would be taken from that of the skylight over the main staircase in the old building. The ground story windows, long closed up, would be reopened. Mr. Belle also pointed out that to continue the classical symmetry, the new ceremonial court would be located directly underneath the old south portico steps, and directly on axis with the entrance into the new north portico.
Mr. Belle said they had tried very hard to honor all the agreements regarding the 100-foot view corridor from the north facade of the building to E Street and the definitions of where the courts could and could not build, both above and below ground, and also where the museum could build and not build. His feeling about the plaza was that it should be very simple, dignified and gradually slope up from E Street to the stairs in front of the court, with no obstructions so that the court would be easily accessible to all, up a gently sloped plaza to a short flight of stairs–seven or eight risers–or to an immediately adjacent pair of ramps. He showed renderings of the pavilion and two drawings with details of the plaza, the ramps, and the terraces on either side of the pavilion framed by simple decorative pools.
The Chairman asked Mr. Belle what would go on inside the pavilion and was told that its function was to provide access, security and screening; the screening facility would be at the rear, allowing ample room for queuing. Noting that the pavilion was outside the security of the building and adjacent to the two open terraces, he said the space could also be used for whatever social functions the court might have during the year. The Chairman asked Mr. Belle if there had been any changes to the site improvements or the ramps since the Commission had last seen the design. Mr. Belle said these things were generally the same but they had been tightened up; the big change was in the footprint of the pavilion which had been much larger. Now the side pavilions, which had housed the ramps, had been removed and the center part lowered somewhat so that it was more truly a cube. He noted that it would also be much less expensive. Mr. Childs agreed that the smaller footprint had resulted in a great improvement; he thought the width was just right and he liked the transparency and sense of arrival, but he thought it was still a large addition, not just when compared to the original portico but in relation to the building’s facade. He thought it was the depth that was the problem–more space was needed at the top of the stair or ramp before actually entering the door.
Mr. Belle said he understood the comment, but what he was afraid of was that they would get into the same situation seen at the main Superior Court building–a line out the door and out to the street of people waiting to be screened. Ms. Zimmerman said she was not bothered by the depth, feeling that with the transparency of the building and the fact that there was about 18 feet between the top of the stairs and the entrance, it should not be uncomfortable. Mr. Powell commended Mr. Belle on a greatly improved design. He said his main concern at this point was what would happen at the bottom of the stairs, out into the plaza area–had any changes been made to the museum’s design for their pavilions or he plaza? Mr. Belle said they had continued to meet with the museum’s architects but so far had not come to any agreement. He said they had continued to develop a design that stayed away from all the lines defined by the legislation, one that would allow for temporary landscaping in the areas where the pavilions would go, and would be complementary to the courthouse. Ms.Balmori thanked Mr. Belle for removing the side pavilions, saying that had made an enormous difference, and she also complimented him on the design for the ramps. She had one question–would there be access to the side terraces directly from the pavilion. Mr. Belle said yes, there would be doors on each side.
The Chairman continued to be concerned about the depth of the extension into the open space as well as the size relative to the size of the historic building. He said he understood the attraction of the cube, but he thought it really needed to be cut back; even the original monumental portico left more space in front of it. He asked Mr. Belle to consider, too, the fact that the security equipment was not exactly attractive, and see if he could find some way of hiding it. Mrs. Nelson asked if there would be a raised wall around the pools to form a sort of boundary. Mr. Hassan answered this, saying that there would be seating walls, either 3 feet or 18 inches depending on the location, to contain the space and integrate it into the composition. She also asked about the terraces on each side of the pavilion and their relationship with the main plaza–would there be any relationship? Mr. Belle said he hoped the flooring materials, textures, and colors could be the same, and hopefully the details, too, so that they could flow into each other. The Chairman again questioned Mr. Belle about the distance between the steps and the portico, this time determining that the walls at the returning edge of the stairs were only 7 feet from the portico. He told Mr. Belle he thought a model would be very helpful for the Commission to see the next time he returned.
There were no further comments or questions, and the Chairman turned to two members of the audience who had requested to speak. The first was Don Hawkins from the Committee of 100. His major concern was that by the time the court’s glass portico pavilion and the museum’s two glass entry pavilions were constructed, there would no space left–only a “variegated glass facade as seen from the north”.
The second speaker was Tom Gallagher, a principal with the E&G Group, project managers for the National Law Enforcement Museum. He noted first that Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell had again expressed concern that the courts were still placing design elements on the museum site; he mentioned emergency access lanes and turnarounds, the access ramps, stair apron and the stair itself; he also commented on the 3.7 percent slope of the plaza shown in the court’s drawings and said they would prefer a 1.5 slope. Finally, he said the plan shown did not provide for any natural light into the museum. He said they had had three meetings with the courts discussing their current plan, and now had “direct and unimpeded access up the center spine to the courts’ building,” as well as providing accessibility to both the museum and the court building. Mr. Gallagher ended by discussing pedestrian traffic. He said the museum would bring approximately half a million visitors through the two pavilions on the plaza, which together would have 6,000 feet of access. The other busy access point in the area was the D.C. Superior Court Building, the Carl Moultrie Building. He said most of the traffic would stay there, because that was where trials were held. What he would like to request was actual visitation numbers for the Appeals Court. Perhaps these would show that the court could place some of its security facilities back into its own boundaries. He asked that the Commission not take any action at this meeting that would have a negative impact on the museum before they had a chance to make their presentation.
The Chairman said he was disappointed that the Commission had not been able to see a presentation at this meeting, noting that the material that had been submitted past the submission due date had not been adequate. The courts, on the other hand, had a funding deadline, and the Commission could not ask them to delay their presentation. He urged Mr. Gallagher, in developing further plans, to remember that the space between the courthouse and E Street was becoming a crowded room, and that his architect should treat his two pavilions as pieces of furniture, just large enough to perform their function as access elements, much as classic French garden architecture performed its function. Commenting on the slope of the plaza, he thought the 3.7 that had been proposed was very reasonable for a gentle slope, and that the 1.5, as mentioned by Mr. Gallagher, would always cause puddling.
Mr. Childs then said he would encourage a motion to endorse the conceptual plan for the court project, with the variety of comments made, and he said the Commission would look forward to the architectural part as the next submission. Ms. Zimmerman made the motion, which was seconded by Ms. Balmori and unanimously carried.
(The Commission returned to item II.A on the agenda.)
A. National Park Service
1. CFA 18/MAR/04-1, American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, Square 580, Washington Avenue (Canal Street), 2nd and C streets, SW. Concept. (Previous: CFA 20/SEP/01-2, site selection) Staff member Kristina Alg introduced John Parsons from the Park Service to begin the presentation, followed by Michael Vergason, landscape architect. Mr. Parsons said the memorial had first been proposed by the late Jesse Brown, secretary of veterans affairs, and was authorized by Congress in 2000; subsequently, the Park Service had done a site study in accord with the Planning Commission’s Memorials Master Plan of 2001, which contained over 100 sites considered suitable for future memorials. He said they were looking for sites in need of development, and this one, near the Capitol, was one of these; fortunately, he said, both this Commission and NCPC agreed with the choice. He said they had been working with the District’s Department of Transportation, which had jurisdiction over the site since it lay over the tunnel of I-395. He said they were willing to reconfigure the traffic as part of the project, working with the Architect of the Capitol, who also had an interest as the site was within his domain. He said the ultimate goal as far as the land was concerned was to have it transferred from the District to the Park Service for management. He then introduced Lois Pope, chairman of the foundation that would build the memorial and had conducted the competition, which had selected landscape architect Michael Vergason as the designer. Mr. Parsons noted Mr. Vergason’s presence and asked him to discuss his design for the memorial.
Mr. Vergason said he would like to talk about three things: the intent of the design, aspects of the site that had influenced his thinking, and the design itself. Concerning the intent of the design, he said two questions had come to mind. The first asked what distinguished this memorial, and what made it part of the family of memorials in the monumental core? The second asked who the audience was and what was the message? In answer to the first question he said the answer was “life”, because although the memorial would honor all disabled American veterans, past, current and future, it was specifically a memorial to living disabled American veterans. What would make it a part of the larger family of memorials in the monumental core was its permanence, in terms of its materials and its scale. Turning to the second question, he said there would be three audiences: the disabled veterans themselves, who would be honored for their continuing sacrifice in defense of freedom; the general public, who would be educated as to the scale and extent of the sacrifices these veterans had made; and the lawmakers, who would be reminded constantly of the human cost of conflict. He said the proximity to the Capitol had been one reason this site was chosen. He noted that there were now over 2.3 million disabled American veterans living today, and with the Iraq War, the number was rising rapidly. As to the emotion he hoped to awaken in the visitor, it was a sense of pride in the accomplishments and the sacrifices these veterans had made, and he said they did want to focus as much on the gains as on the losses.
Mr. Vergason turned to a discussion of the site, pointing out its location southwest of the Capitol, flanked by the Rayburn Building on the east, and more immediately, by the Health and Human Services headquarters on the west. Mr. Vergason stopped a moment to recall a bit of history, noting that the site was adjacent to what was a section of the old Washington Canal (later Canal Street) and thus recalled the importance of water in the history of the city. He also traced the historic alignment of C Street as an east-west street, noting that it no longer followed that alignment, but had been turned, to run diagonally like the avenues; he said they hoped to restore it to its original alignment. He then showed an 1861 balloon view of Washington, noting the view of the Capitol obtained both to and from their site, saying that this view was the “central armature” of the design he would show the Commission. He pointed out the Botanic Garden to the north, and to the south the not-so-quiet presence of the freeway that had been tunneled under the site.
Mr. Vergason then described his design, using a model and a site plan. The primary elements of the design included groves of trees, a reflecting pool, and a central fire set in a granite water basin within a specially-paved circular area near the apex of the triangular site. The central fire would be the physical and symbolic centerpiece, recalling the hearth and the family, but also bringing to mind the forces of destruction and loss. It would be about 12-18 inches high, and possibly could be raised in times of danger. In front of it would be a triangular reflecting pool, flanked by groves of trees, with some of the trees actually planted in the water. More trees would line the west and south boundaries of the site, with a paved area between the trees and the pool, so that people could visit the central fire area and then stand at the edge of reflecting pool, looking through the opening in the groves to admire the view of the Capitol and see it reflected in the pool. He said the trees would provide the setting for the memorial and also symbolize the sacred life force of antiquity; they would also perform the function of bringing the tree canopy of Capitol Hill down to this area. Stone and glass walls would provide an enclosure for the memorial, screen distracting sights and sounds, and focus the views on the Capitol. They would also define paths and entrances. The stone walls would become walls of loss, focusing on stories of sacrifice and contribution that would be incised into them. The glass walls would carry inscriptions relative to democracy and other principles that would validate the losses and sacrifice.
The Chairman thanked Mr. Vergason for his presentation and commented, first, on the plan to realign the streets and clean up the area generally; he thought it was a laudable goal and was pleased to see Mr. Vergason working on it. He thought the overall plan–the joining of the water, paving and landscaping–was well done, and while he would normally be worried about walling in the memorial, he thought in this case, given the heavy traffic and noise, it was acceptable, especially since they were opened up in appropriate places–specifically where the view was focused on the Capitol. One thing concerned him–the suggestion that the fire might be raised or lowered depending on whether the country was at peace or engaged in a conflict or there was a threat of conflict; he thought this would trivialize it, recalling such things as weather indicators on buildings. He asked the other members for their comments, beginning with Ms. Balmori.
Ms. Balmori liked the idea of the realignment of the streets and bringing the tree canopy down into this area as a way of connecting it to the city again. Her only concern had to do with the number of elements and shapes–two pools, one triangular and one circular, trees within the reflecting pool, and walls that ignored the street alignments and created roughly trapezoidal paving areas. She thought a greater simplification and integration of all these elements would be helpful to the design. She also asked about the movement of people–did they expect most of them to come from the Mall?
And did the design and placement of the walls respond to that orientation? Mr. Vergason said they did expect most visitors to approach the memorial from the north, from the Mall, especially with the completion of the Museum of the American Indian and the new Botanic Garden. As that was seen as the primary entrance, the whole asymmetrical quality of the composition responded to that. He said they saw the secondary entrance as being from the south, from the gap between the wall that related to the Metro, a potential bus drop-off spot, and to a small, handicapped parking lot to the south. Very few visitors were expected to come from the east.
Ms. Zimmerman was concerned about crosswalks, noting that the site was a difficult one to get to. Mr. Vergason said they had not yet done as much work as they intended to do on this matter, but he pointed out to her how it could be done from all directions. She thought things seemed to have been worked out more from the point of view of the plan, rather than what the ground level experience would be. Mrs. Nelson had the same thoughts as Ms. Balmori regarding the two pools and thought perhaps the flame might be placed in the reflecting pool to provide more flow through the memorial and simplify the composition. She thought a better place could be found for the flagpole, and she agreed with the Chairman on the raising and lowering of the height of the flame. She thought the grove of trees was one of the strongest elements, and it would be best to simplify the design and go with only the strongest elements. In regard to the trees, especially those intended to be planted in the water, Ms. Zimmerman warned that they would produce all kinds of debris and bring about maintenance problems. Mr. Vergason said the Park Service was also worried about that and they would explore it further; he said they had gotten into it in an effort not to lose the grove effect in that crucial northern corner.
There were no further comments or questions for Mr. Vergason. The Chairman observed that there were a lot of good ideas here, but the comments indicated that further simplification was needed. He asked for a motion to approve the concept with the comments made, especially about simplification. Mr. Powell made the motion, which was seconded by Mrs. Nelson, and approved unanimously.
2. CFA 18/MAR/04-2, Lincoln Memorial, West Potomac Park at 23rd Street, NW. Rehabilitation of the lighting. Concept. (Previous: CFA 16/OCT/03-2)
The Assistant Secretary reported that the Commission had viewed a lighting demonstration at the memorial the preceding evening, with John Parsons and Sally Blumenthal from the Park Service and David Mintz, the lighting designer from the Mintz Lighting Group. Mr. Parsons, who was present at the meeting, said that rather than a formal presentation, he would prefer that the Commission members simply have a conversation with Mr. Mintz about what their impressions had been.
Ms. Balmori summarized the members’ comments that evening, noting first that the light on the sides appeared too greenish, although they thought the slight difference in tone between the columns and the edge of the entablature was good. She said they were very happy with the lighting of the ceiling and the text in the chamber, and with the appearance from the front, with the contrast of the darker columns and the brightly lit statue behind. She said her own opinion was that if the area around the statue were slightly darker, the figure would emerge from a very deep, dark space and would be considerably more powerful. Lastly, she noted that earlier fears that the pole lights would shine brilliant light into visitors’ eyes as they went down the stairs had not materialized, and she was happy for that. The Chairman joined in, saying that he agreed with everything Ms. Balmori had said, but would like to add that increasing the evenness of the light across the entablature would add to the effectiveness. He commended Mr. Mintz especially for his lighting of the ceiling within the chamber, and he said he thought the entire project was going in the right direction.
Mr. Mintz thanked the members, and commented first on the greenish lights, saying that they were the wrong choice from a manufacturer; there were three others to choose from and it would not be a problem to correct the color. He commented also on the considerable savings in energy, giving as an example the lighting on the statue, which at present used 24,000 watts and would, under the new scheme, use only 300. He said the maintenance would be much simpler and the control much better.
Ms. Zimmerman asked Mr. Parsons about the maintenance policy for the lighting on their buildings–how were the lighting schemes kept intact, with the lights properly positioned and those that were out replaced? She noted that even such weather occurrences as thunderstorms could affect the lights. Mr. Parsons asked Steve Lorenzetti, deputy superintendent for the Mall, to answer that. He said that after a thunderstorm crews were sent out to check these things, but often it took some time to correct them if a replacement part was involved.
There were no further questions; Mrs. Nelson made a motion to approve the concept design, Ms. Balmori seconded it, and the motion was then unanimously approved. Mr. Powell asked when they could expect the project to be completed; Mr. Lorenzetti said they had the money and would move ahead quickly as soon as they had receive the necessary approvals. The Chairman then asked the members if approval of the final construction drawings and installation could be delegated to the staff. The members agreed there would be no objection to that.
3. CFA 18/MAR/04-3, Washington Monument Grounds, 15th Street and Madison Drive,. Temporary installation of food service trailers with a tent covering. Concept. Mr. Parsons introduced this project by noting that the Commission never used to see this kind of temporary building, but the rules had changed, and the current policy of both the Fine Arts and the Planning commissions was that anything expected to be on the Mall for over sixty days had to be submitted for review. In the 1993 approved development concept plan for the Monument Grounds, a food service and retail pavilion were sited along Madison and Jefferson drives as they crossed between 14th and 15th streets. These services had been placed in the Monument Lodge, but because of the security project underway on the grounds, the lodge was closed, and the Park Service felt a temporary structure was needed in that location. Their plans were to place it there for approximately two years; in the interim the Park Service would come back to the Commission with a proposal for a permanent structure. Mr. Parsons said they had asked architect Mary Oehrlein to help them out with a design for the temporary facility.
Before the design was presented, the Chairman expressed his concern about the word “temporary” when applied to anything built in Washington, and he wondered if it was really necessary to have this food and retail facility here–there were no restrooms planned–for the period when the lodge would be closed. Mr. Parsons recalled that the 1976 master plan had provided for a facility here, as one of eight approved for the Mall.
Mr. Childs said he realized that, and was not objecting to a permanent facility, but thought that the lack of any facility might make the permanent one come along a little faster. In fact, as a general policy, he thought the number of such places on the Mall should be minimized.
Having said that, he thought the general approach being suggested here–a trailer- type structure covered with a tent–was the right one. Even for the permanent facilities, he thought a very light cable structure was the preferable direction. He noted the tents that had been used on the Ellipse for many years, saying they were examples of the type of light, airy structures suitable for the Mall. Turning to the project at hand, he commented that the trailer was certainly not very handsome, and the emphasis here should be on the design of the tent. The question of size came up, and Steven Lorenzetti from the Park Service answered that, saying that it couldn’t be much smaller as it served a large number of people arriving in busses. Commenting on the trailer appearance, he said it would be faced with a material that would make it as presentable as possible. Ms. Oherlein said the trailer facing would be painted grey and white, to match the other food facilities on the Mall, and the tent would be blue, like the ones on the Ellipse.
There was a discussion about whether the Commission should disapprove the project, abstain, or set a firm time limit on the life of the structure. Ms. Zimmerman was in favor of disapproval, but the consensus was that setting a firm time limit of two years would be a better way of working with the Park Service on these temporary structures. Ms. Balmori made a motion to that effect, and it was seconded by Mr. Powell and carried, with Ms. Zimmerman abstaining.
Judy Scott Feldman, president of the National Coalition to Save Our Mall, asked to speak. She commented first on the l06 process, which she said had not been followed as far as the lighting for the Lincoln Memorial was concerned. She observed, too, that the vehicle barrier walls on the Washington Monument grounds were being built even though they had not received final approval from this Commission. The project just reviewed was justified under the l06 hearings as part of a 1993 concept that had received firm site approval, although it was her understanding that it was only concept approval. In regard to its siting, she thought it was poor because it was on a dangerous curve where the tourmobile stopped, and she thought that, actually, the decision to put food service there was to accommodate the tourmobile passengers.
Ms.Feldman thought it was time for a new overall master plan for the public use of the Mall. She was also troubled by the use of private funding to build certain facilities, saying that the Mall was not Disneyland but open public space, and should be funded by public monies.
The Chairman thanked Ms. Feldman for her comments and asked Mr. Parsons if he wanted to respond to any of them. Mr. Parsons said many of them could be more ably discussed when they returned with plans for a permanent facility, but he did want to point out that the tourmobile did not stop where Ms.Feldman said it did.
B. Federal Highway Administration and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
CFA 18/MAR/04-4, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. New plaza deck with two new buildings, alterations to the existing terraces, and access improvements including reconfigured roadways. Revised concept. (Previous: CFA 20/FEB/03-1) Ms. Alg introduced Paul Nishimoto from the Federal Highway Administration to begin the presentation, followed by architect Rafael Vinoly, who would discuss the further development of his design.
Mr. Nishimoto first noted the presence of Claudette Donlon, executive director of the Kennedy Center and Dan File, the project executive. He said the FHA was overseeing the plaza and surrounding roadways portion of the project, and the Kennedy Center was overseeing the building projects. Mr. Nishimoto reported on the progress made since the Commission had seen the preliminary design for the project, saying that the environmental documents had been completed and a finding of no significant impact had been issued. In the past year they had also been coordinating with Mr. Vinoly’s firm on the plaza and building designs. The project was scheduled to be completed in about ten years, and the first order of work would be the freeways and the parking garage underneath the plaza, so that the Kennedy Center could begin construction of the new buildings on top. By June he said there should be a defined budget for the plaza and roadways; therefore, there was a possibility that certain elements of the design could be deleted or deferred to a later time, but the general configuration of the plaza would not change. He then turned the presentation over to Rafael Vinoly to discuss his part of the project.
Mr. Vinoly said he would try to explain a rather complicated project in a short time, a project which to his firm had always been thought of as a building in a park–from an urban design point of view and in landscaping terms. His presentation is attached as Exhibit _. When Mr. Vinoly had finished, the Chairman complimented everyone involved with the project, and he noted particularly Mr. Vinoly’s success in connecting the Kennedy Center to the rest of the city by means of embracing it in a Baroque circle and pulling it back in. Judging from the complexity and expense of the project, he had thought it might never be built, and he wanted to congratulate everyone for making it a reality. All it needed now, he said, was to have a subway stop. He noted that in going through the materials that the circulation was rather complicated, and though it was beginning to work quite well, and great progress had been made, there was still a long way to go. He said there were some issues the members wanted to bring up, and he began with Ms. Balmori, who first commended Mr. Vinoly for the way he had connected the platform of the Center building to the water, and also for the ceremonial access. Her question involved the oval-shaped plaza; she thought it would be much more used by people if it could touch on the apron to the center, rather than being surrounded by cars, and she wondered if there was any way to do it, realizing all the complications with various kinds of vehicular traffic. Mr. Vinoly said he doubted that could be done, and security requirements were part of the reason, but he had thought of turning this space into an outdoor performing area, or an event area with a tent over it.
Other questions were asked, primarily about the cost. Mr. Nishimoto said again that it was possible that some of the underground elements might have to be deleted, but they wanted to keep the general scheme, especially the above-ground elements. The Chairman commented that the access connections were very important and now was the time to do them; he observed also that the road work was not only going to be extremely expensive but also very time-consuming. Mr. Nishimoto said Congress had authorized an expenditure of $400 million, but the Kennedy Center and the FHA would have to make decisions and prepare a final budget for the approval of Congress. Mr.Vinoly said they had been conscious of the question between “budget and form” from the very beginning and had looked at mitigating measures and created priority lists.
The Chairman then turned the meeting over to Don Hawkins, representing the Committee of 100, who had asked to speak. His statement is attached as Exhibit While the Chairman said he could not agree with Mr. Hawkins’ comments on the drawbacks of the Baroque plan, he did agree that a connection with the residential neighborhood to the northeast and to the Metro station in that area was an important one to make.
There was no further discussion, and the Chairman asked for a motion to approve the revised concept design. Ms. Zimmerman made the motion, which was seconded by Ms. Balmori and approved unanimously.
(The agenda order was changed and item II.D discussed next.)
D. District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Shipstead-Luce Act S.L. 04-042, 2555 M Street, NW. Chancery for the State of Qatar. Facade alterations for new chancery. Revised concept. (Last seen 19 February 2004) Ms. Alg introduced this project, recalling the previous submission and the request for revisions to the facade treatment. Ray Ruhlman from Leo A. Daly, Architects, was introduced, noting that his firm was the program manager for the project. He said OPX Design was the architect of record, and then introduced Barbara Mullenex from that firm to make the presentation.
Ms. Mullenex recalled the Commission’s comments during the first review, which concerned the corner treatment of the base, the curved glass element in the center of the facade, and the treatment of the entrance. She said the base was now slightly lower and had been broken at the corner, to repeat the treatment seen in the upper stories; the glass bow had a more gentle curve and met the top floor glass in an undulating flow; and the entrance canopy had become lighter and more transparent, repeating the gentle curve of the central element. There was a similar canopy , centrally placed, over the top floor. She said they hoped to have some Islamic patterns on the glass of the entry and the canopy to produce a sunlight and shadow effect. The fence remained the same, and she noted that the material and detailing of the base would be repeated in the piers. In answer to a question, she said the side facade would be entirely flat, and the glass on the top floor was not operable–there was no balcony. She said they still had to work with the embassy on the signage and where they would like to have the seal.
The Chairman thought great progress had been made, and in regard to the signage, he thought it would be much easier to manage on the face of the building, rather than up on the canopy. He thought the only problem remaining was the canopies; they looked diminutive and tacked on. Ms. Balmori liked the canopies, but she still felt the central glass element was not compatible with the heavy structure of the rest of the building. She thought that if it was going to be used, at least some of the horizontality of the building should be expressed . Mr. Powell observed that the spandrel glass did in some way carry through the horizontality, and it was suggested that some opacity in the glass or a different type of glass might strengthen this. The Chairman then asked if there was a motion to approve the concept with continued work on the canopies. Mr. Powell made the motion, with a second by Ms. Zimmerman, and it carried unanimously. Mr. Ruhlman asked if they could work with the staff for final approval; the Chairman said they should continue doing that, but he thought the Commission would like to see the spandrel glass panels and a revised canopy design before giving final approval.
(The Commission adjourned for lunch at from 12:48 to 1:35 p.m. and then returned to item II.C)
C. Department of State
CFA 18/MAR/04-5, People’s Republic of China, International Center, Lot 12 (consolidated Lots 11, 12, & 13),Van Ness Street, NW. New chancery building. Final. (Previous: CFA 15/JAN/04-5) Staff member José Martínez introduced Donna Mavritte from the State Department to begin the presentation. She recalled the January review and said the architects were ready to present their response to the Commission’s comments. She introduced DiDi Pei from the Pei Partnership, Architects.
Mr. Pei recalled that the Commission’s concerns, after the January meeting, centered on the Van Ness elevation–the long length of the stone facade, the seeming lack of detail, and if the diamond-shaped opening was thick enough for its size. He thought the model he had brought, which the Commission had looked at the previous evening, would show that the facade would, indeed, be broken up by the play of light and shade over the large blocks of granite and the way they were set. Also, the elevation drawings had not made evident the breaking up of the facade by several projections. He noted that because some parts of the facade were only 30 feet from the street, security regulations dictated that there could be no fenestration there, but he pointed out that there were windows on the parts of the building set on a diagonal; these were other elements that had not shown up well on the elevation drawings the Commission had seen in January.
Again, in regard to the diamond-shaped “window” element, the model would show it as being considerably thicker than it had appeared in the drawing, although actually no changes had been made.
Mr. Pei then showed samples of granite in the color they were proposing, although he noted that the sample was not from China, and they were still looking for a Chinese granite of that color. He also showed samples of granite to be used for the site wall along Van Ness Street; he said the wall would be three meters high, one meter of stone with a two-meter, open metal fence above it. The piers would also be of stone. A sample of the clear glass to be used throughout the building was shown, as was the aluminum sunshade to be used in certain places.
Landscape architect Peter Liu was then introduced to discuss his plans. He said the landscape design had to address three issues. The first was to tie the International Center streetscape in with the front entrance, and he would do this by bringing the street trees in as close as possible to the entrance, and then have a landscaped hemicycle, using evergreen and seasonal color. The main issue was the buffer between the long expanse of the building on Van Ness Street and the street itself.
In this 30-foot-wide area they would use primarily a mid-sized maple, with an occasional evergreen, and many flowering trees, to bring the high walls down to human scale. They would also fill in gaps in the street trees. In the courtyard there would be a large American beech specimen tree, and American horse chestnut trees at each corner. The third task was to create a number of small gardens in the narrow spaces occurring between the office wings and the perimeter of the site, to give the workers something to look out on. These would use dwarf species and extensive ground covers. On the east side, next to the Embassy of Singapore, where there was a series of grates for venting mechanical equipment, the spaces between the grates would be terraced and planted, with a small circular garden in the middle.
Questions were asked about the street tree, which Mr. Liu said was a willow oak, and about the paving for sidewalks, entrance courtyard, etc., and Mr. Liu said it would be a darker grey granite; he showed samples. A question was asked about the parking lot on International Place, south of the embassy entrance; Mr. Martínez said that was not part of the submission and was there for visitors to the State Department building on the other side of the street. In answer to a question about accessibility to the formal garden north of the entry pavilion, Mr. Pei said it would be accessible to embassy personnel but not to the public. He also commented on the median strip on Van Ness Street, saying they would like to see that more heavily planted than at present.
There were no further questions; the Chairman thanked Mr. Pei for coming, saying that he had responded to the issues that had been raised previously and would receive the Commission’s comments in the letter to be written to the State Department.
E. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
1. CFA 18/MAR/04-6,Eccles Building, Constitution Avenue, between 20th and 21st streets, NW. Perimeter security barriers and guard booths. Final. (Previous: CFA 16/OCT/03-6)
2. CFA 18/MAR/04-7, Martin Building, C Street, between 20th and 21st streets, NW. Perimeter security barriers and guard booths. Final. (Previous: CFA 16/OCT/03-7) The Assistant Secretary introduced Sonal Parikh from the Federal Reserve Board, project manager for the perimeter security project, who, in turn, introduced Keith Bates, chief of facilities and engineering, Eric Groft and Eric Davis from Oehme van Sweden, landscape architects, and engineer and architect Larry Wilford, from URS Corporation. Mr. Parikh said this final submission incorporated comments made previously by this Commission as well as those made by the Planning Commission. Beginning with the cladding for the base and cap of the bollard, he showed a bronze material that would match very closely the color of the bronze elements on the exterior of the buildings; the bollards would be the same for both the Eccles and the Martin buildings. The color of the railing at the front steps of the Eccles building had also been questioned, and he said it had been changed to match the bronze that would be around the perimeter of the building. Turning to a guardhouse near the Martin Building, which the Commission had felt was not of the design quality expected for the Federal Reserve buildings, Mr. Parikh said it would, however, match others on the property. Ms.Balmori did not think that was a very good reason for perpetuating the design, and the other members all agreed. Mr. Powell recalled that the Commission had approved a number of attractive guardhouses at other sites in the city, including Pennsylvania Avenue, and he suggested that Mr. Lindstrom get them out and show them to Mr. Parikh as good examples to follow. The Chairman thought that was an excellent idea, and he suggested that final approval could be given for the other elements submitted, and the approval of the guardhouse design could be delegated to the staff. There were no objections to this, and that constituted the Commission’s final action on this project.
G. Department of Defense / Department of the Army
CFA 28/MAR/04-9, Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Main Section, West Service Road at North Road. Advanced Amputee Training Center and Interim Building. New buildings. Concept/Final. Ms. Alg introduced the next project, a new building to house an amputee training center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. William Hendrix of SmithGroup, presented the project.
Mr. Hendrix said that the building would be a 29,000 square foot facility located adjacent to the main hospital building. It would consist of two main floors, a garden upper floor and series of program element-pavilions that would project up into the space. The vision, he said, was to “create an enhanced healing center through the architectural design.” The facility would be integrated into its hillside site as a “green” building and its close proximity to the hospital would serve the existing programmatic activities of the hospital.
The presentation began with a brief discussion about the programmatic functions of the proposed rehabilitation center. The program for the center would require training facilities, occupational and physical therapy facilities, labs and administrative space. The largest function, a gymnasium, would need to accommodate activities like rope climbing and to contain a running track. As part of the rehabilitative process, new devices to help people work with their prosthetics, such a terrain changing machine, were being invented at Walter Reed; this also was taken into account when designing the center.
Mr. Hendrix explained that the proposed site was significant for several reasons. The center would be located on the northwest corner of the main hospital and to the north of an existing gym. All three buildings would house related programs. A parking structure to the west would end up being located between the main hospital and the center, allowing for easy access to either building. There was a two-level grade change in the site that would allow the center to be integrated into the landscape and designed as a green building. Because the center would actually be imbedded into the hillside, it could be designed with a green roof that would ultimately extend into its surrounding landscape. One of the projecting pavilions would be an entry point which would also serve as a portal to a walkway that would connect the new center to the hospital. The walkway from the entry pavilion would lead to the third floor of the hospital.
Although the site faces north, the pavilions would be used to allow as much direct sunlight into the building as possible. Like the entry pavilion, the gymnasium pavilion would also project from the green roof. The glazing on both pavilions would serve as “lanterns” into the spaces below. Skylights would also be used in that space. The materials proposed were glass for light and transparency and concrete, to integrate with the hospital. Clear glass and translucent glass would be used judiciously in different parts of the building to ensure privacy where appropriate. Metal would also be used in the window systems to convey a high-tech appearance.
The proposal was well received by the Commission and the Chairman opined that all the stated goals of creating an integrated green building as a state of the art rehabilitation facility had been achieved. The Commission approved the project in concept with final approval delegated to the staff.
(The agenda order was changed and items II.K.1 and II.K.2, the two General Services Administration Projects, were discussed next. Item II.I from Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, was withdrawn and items II.J.1, II.J.2 and II.J.3, from the Department of Agriculture were postponed. Item II.G, from the Department of the Navy, was discussed after item II.K.2.)
G. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)
CFA 18/MAR/04-11, WMATA Art Advisory Committee. L’Enfant Plaza Metrorail Station. Installation of two photographic murals. Concept/Final. This submission was withdrawn.
J. Department of Agriculture
1. CFA 18/MAR/04-12, U. S. National Arboretum. New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road, NE. New vehicular entrance from Bladensburg Road, NE. Final. This submission was postponed.
2. CFA 18/MAR/04-12, U. S. National Arboretum. New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road, NE. Building 018 – Headhouse and greenhouse. Renovation for use as office space and replacement greenhouses. Concept/Final. This submission was postponed.
3. CFA 18/MAR/04-12, U. S. National Arboretum. New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road, NE. New perimeter security fence. Final. This submission was postponed.
K. General Services Administration
1. CFA 18/MAR/04-15, E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse, Constitution Avenue and 3rd Street, NW. Perimeter security barriers. Final. (Previous: CFA 18/DEC/03-2). The Assistant Secretary said that the perimeter security scheme proposed for the Prettyman courthouse was last seen in December 2003 and the applicants were seeking final approval for security for the new addition to the courthouse.
He introduced Michael McGill from GSA and Michael Crackel for Graves/Smith Group to make the presentation. Mr. McGill recalled to the Commission that when they approved the courthouse annex, they had also approved the original proposal for perimeter security which was a line of bollards along 3rd Street between C Street and Constitution Avenue. He said that the National Capital Planning Commission had not given their approval, since they were still developing their Urban Design and Security Plan. Since then, NCPC had approved a modification of the original line of identical bollards to a more varied line.
What remained, Mr. McGill said, was the perimeter security for the south end of the new annex, which included a rotunda. The hope was that a plinth wall could be used, but that hope was dashed when it was determined that the slope was insufficient for a plinth wall. Also, the U. S. Marshalls objected, because they did not want any solid barriers behind which anything could be hidden. The proposed solution of a circle of bollards around the rotunda was agreeable to NCPC.
The Chairman invited discussion from the Commission and the Vice Chairman made a motion to approve to proposal. The project was approved.
2. CFA 18/MAR/04-16, Robert C. Weaver Federal Building, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Headquarters. 451 7th Street, SW. Modifications to sidewalks and perimeter walls for security barriers. Concept. Mr. McGill continued with a discussion of the proposed modifications to the sidewalks and perimeter walls at the HUD headquarters. He said that currently there were two types of perimeter walls, a plain 3 foot high cement wall and a higher, more decorative wall comprised of cement blocks. Black painted iron railings were also used on the perimeter to fill in gaps between the walls. The walls would be strengthened or replaced in kind, and the railings would be replaced with extensions of the walls. The question was whether to fill in the gaps with extensions of the low plain wall, or the higher decorative wall.
Noting that both walls were created by the building’s architect, Marcel Breuer, Ms. Balmori made a motion to use the 3 foot plain wall to replace the railings. The motion was carried.
H. Department of Defense / Department of the Navy
CFA 18/MAR/04-10, Washington Navy Yard. Anacostia River waterfront. Perimeter security fence. Final. (Previous: CFA 19/FEB/04-6). Mr. Martinez introduced Larry Earle of the Navy Yard to present the proposal for a perimeter security fence at the Anacostia waterfront. Mr. Martinez stated for the record that the Commission had discussed the proposed fence in January 2004 and had made a site visit to the Navy Yard in February. He then turned to Mr. Earle to present revisions to the design.
Mr. Earle made brief introductory remarks before introducing Mark Rengel, architect with Einhorn Yaffee Prescott. He said the revisions to the design were minor and that more thorough illustrations of the proposal were available. The revisions incorporated comments from the Commission and also from Navy, public works and design personnel.
Indicating photographs of the site showing both existing conditions and renderings with the proposed fence in place, Mr. Rengel described a wrought iron fence with masonry piers which would mimic the form of an existing serpentine wall until the harbor entry point, when it would become a straight run of fence. The regular pattern of masonry piers within the wrought iron fence would exist throughout. The height of the fence from the western edge of the serpentine wall would be 9 _ feet and the height of the straight run fence would be 8 feet. Mr. Rengel explained that this was in keeping with force protection standards for naval security bases nationwide. On the eastern edge, where the promenade narrows to 20 feet, the landscape vegetation would be removed because it was deteriorating the existing promenade structure. Mr. Earle added that the root structure of the trees was found to be damaging the underlying supports.
The Chairman expressed disappointment that more of the Commission’s comments were not implemented, particularly the idea of opening up spaces that should be available to both Navy employees and the general public, rather then simply mimicking the existing wall. Ms. Nelson felt that spacing brick columns at regular intervals within the wrought iron element was simply insufficient design that did not succeed in enhancing a boring and unrelenting fence. Ms. Balmori suggested that the fence would look better without the brick columns, as they were too tall and too thin. She also suggested that trees planted along the route of the fence could provide visual enhancement. She emphasized that these were just minor improvements compared to what would really be needed to create a public space. The Chairman agreed and added that piers were most effective with a running base of brick as well.
Mr. Earle responded that the configuration of the brick piers was done at the request of the one of the Navy commandants. He said that some of the open space indicated was space associated with the Building 211, the catering and conference center, rather than public space. The Navy Yard was also planning to develop other park settings, including the area below Building 197 known as Willard Park, but these plans were still in the early stages. Mr. Earle said he understood the concerns and had shared them with his colleagues, but that “increasing the amount of space that is outboard of the fence and available to the public” was not possible for the Navy Yard at that time. He also noted that the project plans would permit unrestricted public access to the waterfront, consistent with current plans for the Anacostia River.
Ms. Balmori made a motion to approve contingent on revision of the brick piers and the addition of plantings. The motion was seconded and carried.
(The agenda order was changed and item II.M, from D.C. Public Schools was discussed next. Item II.L, from the Smithsonian Institution, was the last project discussed.)
M. District of Columbia Public Schools
CFA 18/MAR/04-18, Kramer Middle School.1700 Q Street, SE. Renovations and site alterations. Concept. Ms. Alg presented this project to the Commission, because its architect was delayed by traffic. She said that the majority of the proposed renovations would occur on the interior and that the historic character of the school would be retained. The work proposed outside the school would be mostly site work, mainly concerning the maintenance facility area on the east side of the school.
Referring to the drawings sent by the architects, Ms. Alg indicated the existing site and the two proposed schemes. In scheme D1, the maintenance building and truck yard would be replaced with a grass playing field and in scheme D2, the building and parking lot would remain. Both schemes included an additional parking lot with 28 spaces at the corner of Q and 18th Streets, in front of the maintenance area and on the main entrance elevation. Ms. Alg explained that there was a desire to relocate the maintenance facilities, but there were no immediate plans to do so. She said that the applicants realized that the parking lot was in too prominent a location, but that there was no where else to put it. The parking lot was necessary, however, because it was required by the school department and necessary to ease impact on the residential neighborhood.
The Commission stated that its preference was for scheme D1. They also recommended additional trees to soften the front parking lot and, if possible, reduce the number of parking spaces. A motion to this effect was made, seconded and carried.
N. District of Columbia Office on Aging
CFA 18/MAR/04-19, Old Kennedy Theatre Wellness Center. 318-324 Kennedy Street, NW. Alterations and additions. Final. (Previous: CFA 15/JAN/04-12). The Assistant Secretary said that the next project was a proposal for the renovation of the fronts of four existing buildings. The proposal received concept approval in January 2004 and the applicants were seeking final approval for a proposal that was consistent with what was approved in January. The Assistant Secretary introduced Louis Fry III of Lance Bailey and Associates to make the presentation.
Mr. Fry briefly summarized the changes made to the design since receiving concept approval. The metal seam roof would be a dark color which would be picked up with brushed bronze window frames and bronze glazing. The new entrance system would also have metal frames and doors. The coping would be consistent with the original, and would be brought around to the rear elevation. The rear elevation would have a split-face concrete masonry unit with a horizontal brickwork accent on the upper portion. The basic idea, Mr. Fry concluded, was to maintain uniformity along the front while being mindful of existing systems. He highlighted the proposed restoration of the clerestories where there was a solid wall as an example.
The Chairman suggested, and the members concurred, that the bronze accents be darker, and be all one color rather than various shades. Ms. Balmori said that the rear elevation might be better with plain rather than rough brick, because otherwise that elevation would appear as a separate set of buildings unrelated to the front. The Chairman expanded on that thought, and said that while other varied pieces within the design create scale and character, it would be preferable to carry the facade elements from front to back, as was done successfully with other elements. Ms. Balmori and Ms. Nelson suggested that clear glazing would be preferable to bronze to allow more light into the interior. Mr. Fry replied that there would be no problem with implementing the Commission’s suggestions.
With the suggested changes, the project was given final approval.
(The order of the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs submissions was reversed and the Shipstead-Luce appendix was discussed first.)
O. District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
2. Shipstead-Luce Act
a. Appendix II. Ms. Alg said that S.L. 04-48, 3500 Williamsburg Lane, NW was to be removed from the appendix at the request of the applicant for discussion. With neither the architect nor the owner’s representative present, Ms. Alg asked the Commission if the case should be removed from the appendix, with no recommendation or if it should remain with the staff recommendation. The Chairman replied that the case could remain and that the staff recommendation could stand. Ms. Alg said that the only other change was to S.L. 04-52, 2214 Cathedral Avenue, NW. There was originally a recommendation against the proposal that was subsequently resolved with the staff.
The Shipstead-Luce appendix was approved.
1. Old Georgetown Act
a. Appendix I. Mr. Martinez said that the only change to the Old Georgetown appendix was case O.G. 04-86, 1641 Wisconsin Avenue, NW; that the preferred material for the existing awning installed without a permit was fabric rather than vinyl.
The Old Georgetown appendix was approved.
L. Smithsonian Institution
CFA 18/MAR/04-17, National Museum of American History, Behring Center. 12th and Constitution Avenue, NW. Temporary modular building for the SI Early Enrichment Center. Concept/Final. The Chairman recused himself from commenting upon this project, since his firm was involved with the Master Plan for the National Museum of American History, Behring Center. He turned the gavel over to the Vice Chairman who chaired the remainder of the meeting.
Mr. Martinez said that the Smithsonian was requesting the Commission’s comments on a proposed modular building to be installed on the existing playground of the National Museum of American History. The building would serve as a day care facility to replace the one located in the Arts and Industries building, which was closing for renovations. The 60 by 60 foot modular building would be a temporary structure, extant for three to five years. Mr. Martinez introduced Harry Rombach of the Smithsonian to present the project.
Rather than making a formal presentation, Mr. Rombach invited questions from the Commission, as they had already reviewed the pertinent project related materials. He also introduced Mark Tartaro, an architect with the Smithsonian and of the proposed building. Mr. Tartaro and Mr. Rombach explained that this essentially would be a modular building, 60 feet by 60 feet and 14 feet high. Its facades would consist of a system of 4 by 8 smooth cement board that would be painted. The building would not be highly visible from the Mall because of the change in elevation at its proposed location within the site and because it would be concealed by plantings. At the end of three to five years, the day care facility would move into the National Museum of Natural History, rather than back to Arts and Industries.
The Commission members had several concerns about the proposed building on both programmatic and aesthetic grounds. One concern was that the building would be used for other purposes after the day care center moved into Natural History. Because of its lack of aesthetic quality, there were concerns that it would neither be a very nurturing environment for children nor a suitable addition at that location. Mr. Tartaro and Mr. Rombach both assured the Commission that the building will not be wanted on the site after the day care center moves and that it would not fit with American History’s master plan. Mr. Rombach noted that the children would not be in the center the whole day, but would be participating in museum programs throughout the Smithsonian. Mr. Tartaro acknowledged that this temporary facility was not an ideal solution, but that it would allow the day care center to vacate Arts and Industries as quickly as possible.
The Commission voted to approve the project, with an emphasis on making it more of a three-year temporary facility than a five-year one.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:51 p.m.
Charles H. Atherton