The meeting was convened at 10:03 a.m. in the Commission of Fine Arts offices in the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001.
Hon. David Childs, Chairman
Hon. Earl A. Powell, Vice-Chairman
Hon. Diana Balmori
Hon. Pamela Nelson
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:
A. Approval of minutes of the 18 March meeting: The minutes were approved without objection.
B. Dates of next meetings, approved as:
II. SUBMISSIONS AND REVIEWS
A. Department of the Treasury/U.S. Mint
1. CFA 15/APR/04-1, 2005 Nickel. One obverse design and two reverse designs. (Previous: CFA 16/OCT/03-Admin) Staff member Sue Kohler explained that in 2004 and 2005, there would be two reverse designs for the nickel; the Commission had already seen the 2004 designs, and at this meeting the two reverse designs for 2005 as well as a new obverse would be presented; the obverse would still have a portrait of Jefferson, but it would be a new one. All these coins would have as their theme the Westward Journey, particularly the Louisiana Purchase and the journey westward of Lewis and Clark.
Ms. Kohler noted also that this would be the first time the Mint's Artistic Infusion Program had been put into practice. Twenty-four outside designers, eighteen professional and six students, had been retained to design a certain number of coins each year; in the case of the nickel designs, some of the designs to be seen had been produced by these outside designers and others by the Mint's artists. She noted that the Mint had worked with the National Endowment for the Arts in setting up the Artistic Infusion Program, and that the NEA had already reviewed the nickel designs and eliminated a number of them; therefore, the Commission would not have a chance to see those designs. Ms. Kohler noted the presence of Michael White, Barbara Bradford, and Stacie Anderson from the Mint, and she asked Ms. Anderson to present the nickel designs.
Ms. Anderson began with the new obverse design for the Jefferson portrait, saying that six of the Artistic Infusion artists had participated as well as the Mint's engravers. Before asking for the members' comments, she pointed out that in the second design, the word "liberty" had been done in Jefferson's handwriting, as he had written it in the Declaration of Independence. Mrs. Nelson asked if the Commission could select one portrait for 2005 and then make a second choice for 2006. Ms. Anderson said the plan was to have another portrait done for 2006, which would be the one that would remain on the coin "in perpetuity". Monticello would also return to the reverse of the coin in that year, but it would be a different design from the one originally used. However, Ms. Anderson said that if the Commission saw a design that they would like to recommend for 2006, that could be taken into consideration. After looking at the six designs, the members unanimously agreed that #2, the profile portrait with the handwritten "liberty' was their choice, except that they requested that "liberty" be written in the same typeface used elsewhere on the coin, and that it be moved to the rim or some other appropriate place, as it would not be legible on the small coin in the handwritten form. The Chairman commented that he hoped the Commission might see this design again next year with a new set of alternatives for the 2006 coin.
Ms. Anderson turned to the reverse designs, beginning with the first to be issued, which would signify the role of the American Indian in the Lewis and Clark expedition. She offered a few words of explanation about the subject matter of several of the designs, saying that the bear claw necklaces referred to the gift of such a necklace from an Indian chief to Lewis and Clark, and the petroglyph, representing an eagle, was a replica of one found along the Lewis and Clark trail. Of the six designs shown, the grazing buffalo and the petroglyph were singled out, with the buffalo winning unanimous approval. Its similarity to the much-loved Buffalo nickel by James Earle Fraser was commented on, and the idea of recalling it was thought to be a good one.
There were five designs for the second reverse, whose theme was the culmination of the Lewis and Clark journey. Most of these designs showed a single animal, and of these, there was unanimous agreement that #2, a striding grizzly bear, with the addition of a semi-circle of decorative triangles, a common Indian motif, was the best.
2. CFA 15/APR/04-2, Reverse design for 2005 platinum proof coin. (Previous: CFA 19/FEB/04-3) Ms. Kohler explained that the Commission had reviewed this design showing an eagle amidst depictions of numerous fruits and grains, as one proposed for the 2004 reverse, and now the Mint was submitting it again as a candidate for the 2005 reverse. The members considered it very fussy, and Ms. Kohler said that was probably because the theme of the 2004 coin was America as the land of plenty. The recommendation was that the eagle be portrayed in a more bold and simple way, and that the other material be minimized. The Vice- Chairman had some comments on the inscriptions, which Ms. Anderson said were all required, and he noted particularly that the "1" and the "o" of "one ounce" were placed too close together, so that they read as "10". Ms. Anderson said she would take that observation back to the Mint.
B. District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
1. S.L. 04-57, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. The Freedom Forum. New mixed-use building to house the Newseum. Concept-design development. (Previous: S.L. 03-019, reviewed 20 February 2003) Staff member Kristina Alg introduced Peter Pritchard, president of the Freedom Forum, to begin the presentation. He noted that the Chairman, in his last letter, had mentioned two remaining areas of the design that needed clarification, and they would focus on those areas at this meeting. He said their architect, James Polshek, would show the lettering for the First Amendment, as inscribed on the limestone tablet on the front of the building , as well as show some of the other materials to be used for the building. After that, he said he would talk about the media screen, an important part of the exhibit plan for the Newseum.
Mr. Polshek described the stone plaque on the front of the building as being 52 by 75 feet, beginning about 15 feet above the street. It would contain the 45 words of the First Amendment, and Mr. Polshek said he and his graphic designers, Poulin & Morris had been puzzling about just how to place these words on the stone, when the solution hit him accidently as he look up at the lettering on the stone front of a building in Paris. The smooth letters had been placed against a shallow- ribbed background, giving a wonderful textural enrichment to the stone and increasing the visibility of the words from a distance. As one looked up higher, the ribbing would become more of a texture than a definite pattern; there would also be a slight color shift between the smooth letters and the ribbed background. Tests had been done to be sure that the ribbing was not so deep that it would be affected by ice or snow. There would be some dirt that would collect between the ribs, but this would only increase the contrast and make the effect stronger. Mr. Polshek said the stone for the plaque and for the base of the building, where about 150 American and foreign newspapers would be displayed in glass cases and changed daily, would be the same Tennessee marble used for the John Russell Pope building of the National Gallery of Art; it had a slight pinkish cast only noticeable when it was wet.
Mr. Polshek then turned the presentation over to Mr. Pritchard to talk about the media screen, which would be visible to some extent from the exterior of the building. Primarily, however, it would be designed to be seen by visitors inside the building, and its light levels would be adjousted for inside viewing. He said it would be a central element in their media education efforts, designed to tell the story behind the news, and they would show features on news and journalism issues, as well as still news photos and breaking news. He said that from a design point of view, it would be used to enliven the large, 90-foot-high atrium. Visitors would first go downstairs to see a film, then up to the fifth floor and work their way down on a prescribed path, much like was done at the Guggenheim Museum. He said the screen would be set back about 80 feet from the entrance and 100 feet north of Pennsylvania Avenue; the bottom edge would be about 31 feet above the floor and the center about 47 feet above.
When Mr. Pritchard had finished, the Chairman said he thought it was an excellent solution and a wonderful addition to the avenue; he thought the key to its success would be the ability to make adjustments as required after the installation. Mr. Childs asked what the hours of operation would be and was told the museum would probably be open from 9 to 5, but the screen would be turned on for special evening events and then turned off. Mrs. Nelson asked about security measures, and Mr. Pritchard said they would follow the NCPC plan for bollards, benches and landscaping. Mr. Polshek pointed out a long ramp for visitors to go up before they actually screened and entered the building, thus avoiding long lines out on the street. He said they were not yet far enough along on the outside design to place exterior security items. Mr. Powell commented that the Commission would hope there would not be too many bollards, and Mr. Pritchard said they would follow the NCPC plan, with Mr. Polshek adding that he was "not going to be timid when it comes to manipulating those guidelines."
The Chairman said he sensed enthusiasm for moving ahead, and he would ask the staff to follow through, making sure the Commission's comments were carried out in the working drawings. He asked for a motion to that effect, which was made by the Vice-Chairman, seconded by Ms. Balmori, and carried unanimously. The Assistant Secretary asked if that included final material samples, noting that there were a multitude of different kinds of glass to be used. The Chairman said he thought the Commission would like to see these, and Mr. Polshek replied that he had brought them, anticipating the Commission's interest. Tyler Donaldson from Mr. Polsheks's firm discussed the various kinds of glass-clear, translucent, semi- reflective, and opaque-that would be used throughout the building, a building that, with the exception of the First Amendment plaque and the base, was primarily glass and metal building. Mrs. Nelson had a question about the Newseum sign in the front; Mr. Polshek it would actually be a hanging sign, set back, and illuminated softly from behind. She also asked about the thickness of the stone plaque, and was told that it would be about 9 inches in front, tapering back, and would be set about five feet in front of the glass plane behind it.
There were no further questions. The Chairman thanked Mr. Pritchard and Mr. Polshek for coming in, and said he was looking forward to seeing the building completed.
2. S.L. 04-056, American Pharmacists Association, 2215 Constitution
Avenue, NW. Rear addition, revised concept. (Previous: S.L. 03-106, reviewed CFA 19 June 03) The Assistant Secretary recalled that the Commission had seen designs for this addition to the original 1932 John Russell Pope building several times previously, and at this meeting Graham Davidson from Hartman-Cox would present some further small revisions that were being proposed.
Mr. Davidson said there was currently an addition to the Pope building which would be demolished, and the proposed addition, while building out the site, had also been designed to be about two-thirds of the allowable height and FAR, since it faced Constitution Avenue and was in close proximity to the Lincoln Memorial and the State Department; it would also match the massing of the other monumental buildings on the avenue and be sympathetic to the rather small Pope building. He recalled that the design for the addition had gone through a number of changes, and when last seen was stepped back from the Pope building, with the mass placed on C Street. He said the changes that had been made since then were the result of the client's decisions as to how they were going to use the building as well as the security requirements inherent in its close proximity to the State Department.
Mr. Davidson said three modifications had been made. The first was that the height of the building had been increased by 2 _ feet. He recalled that the last version had showed the main level of the addition 6 feet below the level of the Pope building. As the floor plan had been developed, that had not made sense, and so the floors were aligned, with the resulting increased height being minimized by taking height out of each floor, resulting in an overall increase of 2 _ feet. Recalling the concern in previous submissions that the addition would overshadow the Pope building, he showed site line studies using the increased height, taken from across Constitution Avenue and across the tall portion of the Pope building, which confirmed that the addition would still not be visible from that vantage point. He observed that the increase in height was a modest one, but one that would bring about a much better use of interior space. With the height increase had come some changes in the elevations. On the south, facing Constitution Avenue, more windows would show above the Pope building, but most of the other design elements, such as the loggia on either side linking the two buildings, would remain intact. Mr. Davidson showed both old and new drawings to point out the differences. On 22nd Street, the east elevation, the increased height had made possible more graceful proportions, and a breaking up of cornice lines as the building went uphill had divided the mass into smaller blocks, ending at C Street; he commented that that elevation had also benefitted from the increase in height, since it had been a little squat in appearance before. The 23rd Street elevation would be much like the one on 22nd Street.
The second important change was the moving of the garage entrance on 22rd Street from the north part of the site, next to the service entrance, to the south; the reason given for this was that for the foreseeable future C Street would be more or less a pedestrian street, making 22nd Street practically a dead-end street. The change would also be advantageous because it was much lower. He pointed out the proposed new location, underneath the terrace which came off the Pope building. The entrance would come into the bank and down underneath the terrace. He showed a drawing and photos of the area as now existing. There would also be an entrance on 23rd Street just behind the Pope building; Mr. Davidson said there was a considerable distance between the building and the street on that side, and no berm to contend with.
The Chairman complimented Mr. Davidson on his presentation and his materials, including a model. He thought the changes were minimal and thoughtfully considered. He said he was glad the parking garage had been mentioned, because he wanted to comment on the doors to such garages, which were usually left open, with ugly sodium vapor or fluorescent lights visible He thought the entrances should be kept as low as possible and the doors carefully designed. Mrs. Nelson had previously expressed her concern about the 23rd Street entrance as it would be seen from the soon-to-be-built Institute of Peace. Ms. Balmori's concern was that the new location for the 22nd Street entrance would be damaging to the integrity of the Pope building and really belonged in the addition. The Chairman agreed but was not sure that could be done. Mr. Davidson said it would be difficult because of the effect on the interior space, but it could certainly be moved up another bay or so. The Chairman thought that would help, and he brought up another point: rather than making a long diagonal cut into the berm on both sides, vertical stone retaining walls might minimize the effect of the cut. He encouraged him to move forward with the revised design, working with the staff, and submit permit drawings to the Commission when they were ready. (Later in the meeting, the Chairman remembered that he had intended to ask if the green roofs shown in the drawings were real copper. Mr. Lindstrom assured him they were, and asked him if he would prefer they be left to patinate naturally or treated to accelerate the patination; the consensus was that they be left alone.)
C. National Park Service
CFA 15/APR/04-3 , United States Marine Corps Memorial, Arlington Boulevard and Meade Street, Arlington, Virginia. Rehabilitation of the lighting. Final. The Assistant Secretary recalled the Commission's viewing of a mock-up of the proposed lighting in March, looking at several variations. He introduced John Parsons from the Park Service to discuss what had happened since that time.
Mr. Parsons first reviewed the lighting history of the memorial, saying that the sculptor, Felix de Weldon, had placed lights in the crevices of the rocks surrounding the sculpture. This gave the effect of a sculpture floating in air; the base was not visible. With time these fixtures rusted and became totally inoperable, and uplighting, from lights placed in the surrounding shrubs, was installed. This was not satisfactory as it put too much light on the base and did not show off the sculpture to advantage. Since the Park Service was beginning a complete renovation of the plaza and the landscaping, they thought it was a good time to try to improve the lighting. He showed photographs taken during the March lighting mock-up, and said the current proposal was to use two pole lights on the south to provide the principal modeling lights for the most important south and east sides of the memorial, and then use uplights at the base that would be widely spaced, so as to provide only enough light to keep that area from becoming too dark. The base lights that had been used for the mock-up were spaced 8 inches apart and considered by the Commission to be much too bright; now the plans were to space them 2 feet apart on the south and east sides, and 3 feet apart on the less important north and west sides. All the lighting, from the poles and at the base, would be adjustable.
Mrs. Nelson asked if the renovations of the plaza, mentioned by Mr. Parsons, would be brought to the Commission. Mr. Parsons said he should have shown the members the deteriorated condition of the plaza during the lighting inspection. He said it was the original concrete and would be replaced in kind, so they had not planned on bringing it to the Commission. It had, however, been shown to the Historic Preservation Review Board, and they had encouraged the use of the original material rather than using granite. In answer to the Chairman's question, he said it would be an exposed aggregate concrete. There were no further questions, and Mrs. Nelson made a motion to approve the revised lighting scheme, which was seconded by Ms. Balmori and carried unanimously.
D. National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
CFA 15/APR/04-4, National Law Enforcement Museum, Judiciary Square (Federal Reservation #7), E Street between Court Buildings E and C, and north of Old City Hall. Revised concept. (Previous: CFA 16/OCT/03-5) Ms. Alg noted for the record that the Commission had made and informal site inspection of the sites for the Law Enforcement Museum and the addition to the Old city Hall building before the meeting. She introduced Craig Floyd, chairman of the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, to begin the presentation.
Mr. Floyd said their architects had been working to respond to the comments made previously by the Commission, and he thought the members would notice significant modifications to the central plaza area, which had been the area of major focus during the last presentation. He said it had become more open, and yet they had retained their on-grade skylights so that natural light would continue to penetrate the underground museum area. He then turned the presentation over to architect Davis Buckley.
Mr. Buckley began with a PowerPoint presentation to show the changes that had been made. Starting with some statistics, he said their legislation allowed for 10,000 square feet of above-grade construction, but they were using only 8,650; he commented that they had always wanted to make their pavilions as small as possible and yet provide the necessary functions. He said the maximum building height was 25 feet, and pointed out that the average height from the midpoint of the pavilions would be 18.75 feet. He said the public law was not specific about setbacks from the buildings to the east and west, but when the Commission had given them concept approval, they had a 20-foot setback from these buildings and had since increased it to 25 feet.
Mr. Buckley then reviewed the history of the design of the skylights. He said that the concept approval drawings shown in March 2003 had the skylight running east-west, connecting to each pavilion, with a water feature in front (north), which also connected the two pavilions. Then, when Beyer Blinder Belle became the architects for the courts, they questioned the accessibility to the courthouse with that design, and so it was changed in October to provide a connection straight through to the courthouse by means of a step-like structure over the water element and the skylight. That was not accepted, and now the entire plaza plan had been reworked to meet the requirements of the courts as well as facilitate the entry of visitors to their museum and create a special, defined precinct accessible to everyone. There would be three small steps from E Street to the plaza level with ramps at the sides to allow handicap accessibility, and then a 1.6 percent slope upward through the plaza to the steps leading to the upper, or court plaza. He commented that the main plaza had to be a defined gathering space, one that would accommodate the many visitors expected to visit the museum, somewhere between 350,00 and 500,000 per year, many more than would be expected to visit the court, which he estimated would be about 10 percent of that figure. Mr. Buckley noted that the east pavilion would contain the museum entrance for the general public, and the one to the west would be for groups, and so would have to accommodate certain orientation functions. The plaza would be paved using a glass plank system, which would be opaque in some places and translucent in others, notably over the atrium. He said this system had been used in a number of places and had worked very well. He stressed the importance of admitting natural light to the below-ground spaces.
Turning to the transition area from the main plaza to the court plaza, Mr. Buckley said they had revamped Beyer Blinder Belle's ramp system to the upper level, making it a special walkway around a rectangular center space, landscaped with a garden of American Beauty roses, the Law Enforcement Officers Foundation official flower, and with a skylight in the center.
There would be two such ramp arrangements, one on each side of the court's entrance steps. He said the skylights would provide needed natural light to the café on one side and the ticketing and gift shop on the other. Changes had also been made to the water element in the Beyer Blinder Belle design. Instead of being completely enclosed by a concrete retaining wall, the water would cascade over the edge on the north side and drop into a weirm similar to what he had done at the Japanese-American Memorial.
Mr. Buckley then showed plans, including the configuration of the space within the pavilions at the entry level, as well as the plans for the café level, exhibits level, and administration level. For each of these he commented on the importance of bringing in natural or diffused light, by means of skylights or glass floors to carry the light downward. Next he showed elevations, pointing out the height of the pavilions at various points, noting that the plaza gradually sloped upward toward the courthouse, and the site sloped upwards toward the east. Basically, the pavilions would vary from about 12 feet as they faced the plaza, sloping up to about 24 feet as they faced the large court buildings to the east and west. The would be separated from these buildings by an allée 25 feet wide, and they would run long this allée 48 feet. The higher part of the pavilions would house mechanical equipment.
Mr. Buckley then returned to the plaza itself and to the treatment of the public space along E Street, to conclude his presentation. He said he said he wanted to make the plaza as level as possible, so that it did not have a ramp-like appearance. In consultation with his landscape architect, Jim Irvin, they had decided that the correct slope would be from 1.6 to 2 percent; more than this would increase the ramp effect, especially when considering the parallel seams of the glass paving system. Turning to the treatment of E Street, he noted that the D.C. Department of Transportation had requested car and bus lay-bys, and he pointed out two of them, one on each side of the entrance. He noted that he had designed these and the entrances to the allées using curving forms, to recall the curvilinear forms used in the memorial across the street.
The Chairman opened up the comment period by giving Mr. Buckley his reaction to his plan, particularly to the pavilions and their effect on the open space of Judiciary Square, but also to the treatment along E Street and the overly-complicated planting areas. His comments are attached as Exhibit. Ms. Balmori agreed with the Chairman's comments, adding that she was particularly concerned with the intrusive effect of the lay-bys on the public sidewalk and by the introduction of the curvilinear elements in this area and the curvilinear scoring on the plaza glass paving system. She thought the ramps had become "narrow and mean" and had been sacrificed to the planting and the skylights. She thought it had all become incredibly complicated, and she was even unsure of the glass, simply because it added another material. Mrs. Nelson was also concerned about the complexity-the competition between gardens and architecture, and the obscuring of diagonal views, particularly by the pavilions. The Vice-Chairman asked for clarification of the materials for the pavilions-were they all glass? Mr. Buckley said they were, but some areas would be opaque and others translucent or transparent. Mr. Powell then asked if the mechanical equipment could be put someplace other than underneath the roofs of the highest part of the pavilions so that the mass could be reduced. Mr. Buckley said that would be almost impossible; they had nearly completed the mechanical design, and what they had strived for was to avoid any projections through the roof plane.
The Chairman thought all the discussion about the details were related to the bigger conceptual matter that he had discussed before, that the exterior structures needed to be pavilion- like, in the true sense of the word. Their sides needed to be pulled in, and they needed to read as two small objects within the open space. And the rest of the plan-gardens, curves, graphic devices-everything had to be simplified, and another look should be taken at the location of the mechanical equipment. Mrs. Nelson had one more comment: she thought the signage-especially those signs that would direct people-needed to be developed with the design.
There were no further comments, and Mr. Buckley was asked if he would agree to be present through the next two presentations, which concerned the courthouse addition and the new parking garage. He said he would be happy to do so.
E. District of Columbia Courts/General Services Administration
1. CFA 15/APR/04-5, District of Columbia Old City Hall (Courthouse) Judiciary Square, between D and E streets, NW. Additions and renovation for the D.C. Court of Appeals. Revised concept. (Previous: CFA 18/MAR/04-8) Ms. Alg said this project was located just to the south of the preceding project, in the same section of Judiciary Square. She introduced John Belle and Hany Hassan from Beyer Blinder Belle to show the Commission the revisions they had made since the design was seen in March. She asked John Belle to begin the presentation.
Mr. Belle said he would confine his comments to the points brought up at the last meeting and in the Commission's letter. Before he began, the Chairman asked him about the old portico on the north side-were there four columns as on the other small pavilions or was it wider? Mr. Belle said it was six columns wide, and the pediment broke the roof line. He then proceeded to discuss the size of the entrance pavilion, showing both old and new versions. In response to the Commission's request to reduce the depth, he said he had reduced it by one bay, or 12 feet; this then would increase the depth of the space between the stair landing and the entrance by 3 feet, making it 24 instead of 21 feet; the narrowness of that space had been another of the Commission's concerns. He said the entrance pavilion had also been lowered, which he thought had improved the proportions. The ramp scheme had been retained, using a 10-foot-wide ramp, which he thought was a much more gracious and appropriate way for the handicapped to enter than the scheme that had been proposed by the Law Enforcement Museum Foundation. For the same reason they were proposing universal access to the entire plaza area, from the sidewalk on E Street to the bottom of the court steps. There would be no steps or ramps at E Street, just a gentle rise of 3.7 degrees to the court steps, and then the ramps to the pavilion entrance or around to the sides of the old courthouse.
The Chairman asked Mr. Belle if he was able to get all the required security and other functions in the smaller building. Mr. Belle replied that he was, because the court had made the decision that both staff and visitors would go through the same screening machine, which meant that the space required could be reduced by 50 percent. Mr. Hassan added here that the reduction in depth had meant that they were able to keep their steps totally within the line demarcating their building line and thus increase the size of the plaza.
Ms. Balmori had some questions about the two small plazas, or terraces, on either side of the entry pavilion. She wondered why the two walled-in, L-shaped water features ended so far from the old building. She thought that, although water was always nice, simply using a bench to embrace the three sides, and eliminating the planting up against the building, a might give a more generous feeling of space. Mr. Belle said, first, that they were trying "to have the lightest touch on the historic north facade." Also, there was a grade change to consider, and the water features would help them to incorporate it. Finally, leaving some space open there would allow access to the north side of the building during the period of construction of the museum, which would come after their work was completed. Mr. Hassan also pointed out two PEPCO vaults in that area, and said they would not want to put water over them. There was further discussion of the water question, with comments that the area was shady (that was shy Mr. Belle said the trees would be small ones) and water was seasonal; still, Mr. Belle brought up the grade problem again and said he would still like to study the incorporation of a small body of water.
The Chairman returned to the question of the proper grade for the plaza. He said he had told Mr. Buckley that if he used steps at E Street so that he could use his 1.6 grade for the plaza, they would have to be broad, with a low riser. Still, that would require the use of ramps on either side, making the entrance more complicated, and he thought, in the end, the simpler approach of Mr. Belle's was preferable. Mr. Hassan noted that with their design, the free movement through the square and the entire park would be maintained, with no obstructions at all.
Their was a brief discussion of the bollards shown across the E Street entrance. Mr. Belle said they had not developed a design for them yet, and the Assistant Secretary reminded the Chairman that GSA had not yet completed their master plan, which would include a design for all bollards to be used in the square. He said there was another issue the courts might want to explore, and that was that the western layby on E Street came very close to the Military Court building.
A motion was then made by the Vice-Chairman to approve the revised concept; it was amended by Ms. Balmori to add simplification of the terrace and study of the water element, then seconded by her and carried unanimously.
2. CFA 15/APR/04-6, D.C. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Judiciary Square, Southwest corner at Indiana Avenue and 5th Street, NW. New shared underground parking facility. Phase I - Final. (Previous: CFA 17/JUL/03-10). Beyer Blinder Belle was also the architect for this parking facility, and Mr. Hassan began the presentation by showing a model. He noted that the view corridor from Indiana Avenue to the historic courthouse would be maintained by limiting the elevation above-grade in two places, and that the ramp would come off 5th Street. He pointed out a trellis over the ramp, but said that the trellis that had continued east-west in the original design had been removed; it was not considered necessary to this design, which would complement and balance the service entrance on the other side of the square, coming off 4th Street.
There would be several above-grade projections. On 5th Street, south of the ramp, would be a stair and vent shaft combination. Diagonally across, at the northeast corner, would be another stair, combined with a vent shaft and an elevator. Near this was an existing historic shaft, which they had at first decided to maintain just because of its historic value but since had found they could actually use for ventilation. He said the material for these structures would be primarily granite, the same as was used for the historic courthouse, set in a running bond, with a honed finish. The Chairman thought that as these were very small elements in a garden setting, it might be better to use a decorative edging or a diaper pattern rather than the severe, straight linear coursing. Mr. Hassan noted the 30-inch wall along 5th Street and Indiana Avenue and said this would also be granite. Ms. Balmori asked if any of the paths had been moved, and Mr. Hassan said there had been only slight modifications; one had been taken out which had just complicated the movement through the park.
Mrs. Nelson brought up the possibility of both the courts and the museum sharing the service entrance on 4th Street, so that all the screening for the three buildings could be done at one place. The Chairman told Mr. Belle that the Commission had discussed this and thought it might be a good idea. Mr. Belle said there were at least two critical areas to be studied before he could answer that question: One was the security -how could you keep the circulation systems for moving things in and out secure for all three entities? The other was the nature of things that would be moved in and out; he noted that what goes in and out of a museum was usually large stuff, whereas what came out of a court building was basically paper and trash. These considerations would mean that the size of the facility would have to increase substantially. But he said it should be looked at. The Chairman said he would ask the same question of the museum-would they be willing to coordinate with the courts on this, which might be to everyone's advantage. Mike McGill from GSA asked to speak. He said he had just spoken to the D.C. Courts people who were in the room, and they said they would be willing to fund the security assessment to test the feasibility of doing this. The Chairman expressed his appreciation that they would be willing to do this.
Mr. Hassan reminded the Commission that this was a final submission, and that the garage needed to move ahead immediately, that it was not on the same schedule as the courts. Questions were asked about the refinishing of the Darlington statue, which was within the park over the garage, and how much depth there would be for tree planting. Mr. Belle said the statue would be refinished, and that they had 4-5 feet planting above the garage. The Chairman was pleased to hear that, and he then asked for a motion to approve the final plans. Ms. Balmori moved that the garage design be approved with the comments made, and that it would be good to study the possibility of a combined service facility. The Chairman said the detailing of the above-ground pieces could be left to the staff to look at. The Vice-Chairman seconded the motion, and it was approved unanimously.
F. Department of Defense / Air Force Memorial Foundation
CFA 15/APR/04-7, Air Force Memorial. Navy Annex, Columbia Pike, Arlington, Virginia. Final. (Previous: CFA 20/MAR/03-3). The Assistant Secretary introduced Ed Grillo, president of the Air Force Memorial Foundation to begin the presentation. Mr. Grillo introduced the members of his team and then began a PowerPoint presentation, starting with Air Force images and words that had influenced the development of the design. He noted the importance of "threes" in the Air Force, such as the three core values, three parts of the Air Force mission, etc. Especially dramatic was the photo of the Air Force Thunderbirds doing their "bomb burst" formation, which had been recalled so vividly in the design for the memorial. He talked briefly about the geometry, design, and proposed construction of the three soaring spires of the memorial, comparing it to Eero Saarinen's St. Louis arch in its sophistication.
Turning to the changes that had been made since the Commission had seen the design, he said there were actually very few, and they were really only cosmetic. First, the glass walls between the spires had been removed because it was decided that nothing should interfere with the spectacular view from the promontory. Secondly, the contemplation chamber glass had been rearranged so that there was a focal point at the rear, permitting a view of an inscription wall. He showed a simulated photo of what the inscription walls would look like at night when illuminated. He said they had been enlarged and had become anchor points for both the contemplation chamber and the honor guard. The entrance to the memorial had been developed, as had a parking area for twenty cars and a turnaround and parking for three busses at the end. Near this turnaround was the administrative building, clad in granite and placed behind a granite wall so that it appeared just like another element in the memorial. Then he showed simulated views of the memorial as it would appear in 2010, when all the Navy Annex buildings had been removed, and also nighttime views, noting that the spires would not have the usual red lights on top; he said they had been working with the FAA and thought they could achieve their requirements without using the red lights. Next he showed views of the entrance, noting that there would be no gates, although there would be bollards to prevent anyone from driving into the spires. There would be security cameras monitored by the Pentagon, but it would be a completely open memorial.
James Freed, the designer of the memorial, spoke next. He said the design had been developed by working with a form that expressed what the Air Force did-taking off from the earth, fighting in the air, and being totally involved and dependent on technology. He said the soaring elements had come about as a "kind of look at how to leap off the edge". In front of the triangle of three spires the memorial ground was laid out as a long rectangular parade ground with an honor guard at one end and a chamber of contemplation at the other, the two joined by a "blue line" of blue-black slate, which Mr. Freed described as a "singular path between honor and sacrifice". Mr. Freed said the solution to express the ideals of the Air Force was a very minimal one, using steel and stone, so that the idea was not overwhelmed by the materials. Two diagonal paths, formed by changes in the paving stones, cut through the parade ground to form a larger triangle with a slightly raised viewing platform at its base, facing the three spires. Mr. Freed said the spires, "the heart and soul of the memorial", would be made of stainless steel. The stone for the walls and the paving would be "Jet Mist" granite, in a honed finish for the walls, and a thermal finish for walking surfaces. The inscriptions would be carved into "Absolute Black" granite panels placed on the walls. Samples were shown of these materials. Mr. Freed described the inscriptions, which he thought were coming along very well, as the interpretation center of this memorial, commenting that too many memorials lately were getting interpretation centers added to them.
Mr. Freed then discussed the lighting of the spires. He said they would be lit from below by batteries of lights, and the problem had been to make them invisible. He said the solution was to hide them behind the inscription walls, with the wall itself becoming the source of light. Lights would also be placed in the area between the administration building and the adjacent wall.
Landscape architect David Rubin from the Olin Partnership then discussed the proposed landscaping. He said it had been developed primarily to enhance the spires, and central to the whole scheme would be the rows of tulip poplars, framing the memorial area and giving the spires a supporting structure. They had been chosen for their stately height and straight trunks, recalling true columns. Rows of red oaks would be placed on top of the viewing platform, and London plane trees had been chosen to line the entrance. A series of supporting trees of various species would be planted informally on the slope, and there would be a blue holly hedge along the back of the parking area. Mr. Rubin said they had worked with arborists at both Arlington Cemetery and the Pentagon to come up with a palette that would be appropriate to the site and in terms of maintenance. Ms. Balmori expressed some concern about the number of species used, and she said she hoped the bracketing by the tulip poplars would bring them all together. Mr. Rubin said the actual progression through the memorial was quite simple, involving only three species.
Mr. Grillo then introduced sculptor Zenos Frudakis to discuss his four honor guard figures, which were to be placed at one end of the parade ground. They would be 8 feet high, somewhat stylized, and placed low to the ground where people could see them and be photographed with them. The material would be a "white bronze". He showed photos of the full-sized maquettes as well as photos of other work he had recently completed.
The Chairman asked for comments. Ms. Balmori said she felt that the memorial itself was so strong it did not need any figural additions, and she did not think that, aesthetically, they added anything to the whole. The Chairman agreed. Mr. Grillo said the honor guard was an especially strong Air Force tradition, and that was why the sculpture was thought to be so important to the memorial. Ms. Balmori agreed that a live honor guard was a very impressive thing to see, but this was not the same thing. The Chairman compared this situation to the Vietnam Memorial, where the addition of the realistic sculpture did nothing to add to the power of the memorial. Mr. Frudakis thought that for many people, a humanistic element was needed, that human sacrifice was what it was all about. Ms. Balmori agreed that the issue of the human figure was always an important one, but here, and in this form, she did not think it was successful.
There was further discussion about the sculpture between Mr. Frudakis, the Chairman, and Mrs. Nelson. The Chairman's final comment was that in this case, just a simple wall or something sculptural but more abstract would be more powerful, that this kind of sculpture in relation to the scale of the memorial became insignificant. As to the project as a whole, Mr. Childs and the rest of the members commended Mr. Freed and his colleagues on its great strength and appropriateness, and the final design was unanimously approved.
G. Department of Defense
CFA 15/APR/04-8, Fort McNair. National Defense University. New Physical Fitness and modification to the Small Area Plan. Revised concept-new site. (Previous: CFA 17/JUL/03-6). The Assistant Secretary recalled the previous submission, when the project was to be located on a parking lot adjacent to the Defense University at Fort McNair. Since that time, Congress had authorized the purchase of an adjoining piece of property called the "Tempo C Site", and the fitness facility was to be built on part of that site, which would place it closer to the existing gymnasium. With the change in site some modifications had also been made to the design, and Greg Bordynowski from Sorg Associates was asked to explain them. Mr. Bordynowski pointed out the site on a map, noting that the building would still have the same relationship to a group of industrial-type buildings that it would have had on the old site, but was now closer to the historic section of the fort. Ms. Balmori asked him where the proposed new entrance to the fort would be, and if the building would be visible as one entered. He said the new entrance would be on 2nd Street, and he pointed it out, noting that a new building was scheduled to be built in the vicinity, which would cut down on the visibility of the gym. A new brick wall would also be built along 2nd Street as part of the entrance sequence, and a considerable amount of planting would be done.
Mr. Bordynowski said the fitness center needed to relate primarily to the base and the main green space, and most of the traffic to it would be internal. Since the new site would bring it closer to the historic section, the Fort McNair design guidelines would take on increased importance. He showed photos of the old buildings and noted the kind of brick that had to be used. He said they had tried to be somewhat "playful" in their interpretation of the old designs in order to give the building a contemporary appearance without turning its back to the past. He showed elevation drawings, pointing out particularly a sort of colonnaded loggia at the front entrance that was concave in plan, and the tall, narrow windows which were similar to those used on the War College. He also noted the manipulation of the brick, in the sense of subtle changes in plane and the use of header courses to create a cornice effect. He also said they would try to use some openings in the brick where there were mechanical spaces in lieu of giant-sized louvers.
The Chairman thought all these attempts to break up the facades were extremely important, because it was a large building with a huge gymnasium vault in the rear. He was not convinced by the concave entrance loggia, feeling that it was not powerful enough for that building. Another element that bothered all the members was the use of curving ends for the gymnasium vault. With these comments, the new site and the concept design were unanimously approved, with Ms. Balmori requesting that for the next submission, visual material be providedshowing the building's relationship to the new main entrance on 2nd Street.
H. Department of Agriculture
1. CFA 15/APR/04-9, U.S. National Arboretum. New York Avenue andBladensburg Road, NE. New vehicular entrance from Bladensburg Road, NE. Final.
2. CFA 15/APR/04-10, U.S. National Arboretum. New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road, NE. Administration Building. Renovation and alterations. Concept. (Previous: CFA 18/FEB/ 1959).
3. CFA 15/APR/04-11, U.S. National Arboretum. New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road, NE. Building 018--Headhouse and greenhouse. Renovation of headhouse for use as office space and replacement greenhouse. Concept/Final.
4. CFA 15/APR/04-12, U.S. National Arboretum. New York Avenue andBladensburg Road, NE. Flowering Tree Walk. Concept.
5. CFA 15/APR/04-13, U.S. National Arboretum. New York Avenue andBladensburg Road, NE. New perimeter security fence. Final.
Mr. Martinez introduced the next five submissions for projects proposed for the National Arboretum, stating that the Commission had a long of involvement with the development of the Arboretum since the early 20th century. Scott Aker, horticulturist with the Arboretum, made the presentation. The projects proposed for the Arboretum were 1) a new vehicular entrance off Bladensburg Road that would include new entry gates, signs, a guardhouse, fence, tram shelter and rest stop as well as a reconfigured Azalea Drive and parking lot; 2) rehabilitation of the 1960s era Administration building that would include alterations to the window treatment and entry vestibules; 3) the renovation of the headhouse, Building 18, for office space, and a replacement greenhouse and headhouse; 4) a concept design for the northern portion of the Flowering Tree Walk to connect the Capitol Columns to the event plaza, the Capitol Column Overlook and the Azalea Trail; and 5) the review of an existing perimeter security fence.
No action was taken on these proposals, mainly because the Commission felt that the presentation lacked sufficient details, given the large scope of the projects. There were several concerns raised by the presentation that needed to be more fully addressed, and an opportunity for a site visit was requested. The alterations proposed for the Administration building included changing the window configuration from single-paned sheet glass to smaller divisions of six or eight paned thermal glass. Details were lacking concerning the materials proposed for the new headhouse. The general concept and mission behind the proposal for the Flowering Tree Walk were deemed good, but as presented, the elements of the project seemed too disparate. (Exhibit _)
The perimeter security fence, a chain link and barbed wire structure, was already installed on the edge of the Arboretum along the Anacostia River. The Commission regretted that the fence was installed before they could comment on it, and said that they would consider the fence a temporary installation. The applicants were reminded that the District Government and the National Park Service were working on a proposed Anacostia River Waterfront Trail project, and that the design of a more permanent perimeter security fence and gate should be revisited once the portion of the trail adjacent to the Arboretum was developed. (Exhibit _)
The Chairman thanked Mr. Aker for his presentation, and said that the Commission looked forward to a site visit.
I. District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
1. Shipstead-Luce Act
a. S.L. 04-061, 3500 Williamsburg Lane, NW. Chinese Cultural Center of the Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China. Additions and alterations. Concept. (Previous: S.L. 04-048; 18 March 2004, Appendix II). Ms. Alg said that the staff recommendation for the proposed additions and alterations to the Chinese Cultural Center of the Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China appeared on the 18 March 2004 appendix. The majority of the project had been recommended against, although the window replacement was approved. The applicants requested an opportunity to address the Commission and were put on the agenda. Ms. Alg introduced Melissa Cohen from GTM Architects to make the presentation.
Ms. Cohen began with a brief overview of the project, an extensive renovation that would include replacement of the windows and doors and a slight modification of an enclosure. She addressed the two matters that the staff had specifically recommended against, the replacement of the front door and the addition of a roof. She said that the front door was no longer an issue because the staff recommendation would be followed. As to the roof, there were two points to consider. The first was the roof addition itself and the second was a possible future addition to the back of the house. The house currently had a flat roof, and the proposal was to add a hipped roof. Ms. Cohen pointed out that other buildings on Williamsburg Lane had hipped roofs, and that the desire was to fit more into the context of the neighborhood. A hipped roof would also help solve the problem of water infiltration into the house. The chimney would need to be extended and appropriate downspouts would be added. The material being considered was asphalt, but slate was also a possibility. The addition to the rear was a concept for which Ms. Cohen requested feedback from the Commission. She outlined the location of the future addition as a second floor over the garage as well as a two-story addition at the end.
The consensus of the Commission was that slate would be the preferred material for the roof. In theory, an addition to the house was fine, but the concept presented was deemed too large and out of scale. The applicants were advised to resolve all matters of zoning, particularly in regard to building heights, before returning with a permit application. Ms. Cohen was told that she would then need to submit the proposal to the Commission office, and at that time a determination would made as to whether to delegate approval to staff.
b. S.L.04-060, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW. Boston Properties Limited Partnership (Ocean View Development Company Limited). Additions to increase a three-story wing to ten-stories. Concept. (Previous: S.L. 98-2; building design). Ms. Alg introduced architect Bob Evans and landscape architect Elliott Rhodeside to present the additions proposed for 600 Maryland Avenue S.W. Mr. Evans, principal with Evans Heintges Architects, showed a visual presentation, during which he discussed more fully the proposals for the project, known as Capital Gallery.
The property, originally constructed about 1979-1980, consisted of an eight story building and a three-story building joined by a double-height atrium. The eight story building stood at the corner of 6th Street and Maryland Avenue, paralleling 6th Street, while the three story building's west elevation paralleled 7th Street. The L'Enfant Plaza Metro station, already in existence by 1979, stood at 7th Street and Maryland Avenue, in front of the three story building. Because of the existence of the Metro station, the building was originally designed with a one story arcade on the Maryland Avenue side that allowed pedestrian access to retail within the three story building, to the atrium and through the eight story building out to 6th Street. The proposal was to add seven stories of new steel construction onto the three story building, bringing it to a height of just under 130 feet. The eight story building would essentially remain untouched.
Mr. Evans noted that most of the buildings on Maryland Avenue did not meet the street, but typically were orthogonal to the major street grid. An exception was the eight story portion of Capital Gallery, which met the corner of 6th Street and Maryland Avenue, picking up Maryland Avenue's angle. The intent of the proposed addition, then, was to replicate the meeting of both the street and the Maryland Avenue angle on the northwest corner of the property. Mr. Evans asserted that the proposed addition would serve a couple of functions. First, it would act as a background to the sculptural Metro canopy. The particular element that would serve this purpose would be a two story lobby and arcade that would lead to the two story atrium between the buildings. This two story element would also break down the scale of the higher wall that would comprise the new building, and would help to create a backdrop for a more open green space on Maryland Avenue, which would be known as the north plaza. This space would be immediately accessible to people getting off the Metro especially.
Moving to elevations, Mr. Evans showed that the footprint would remain basically rectangular. He called attention to the northwest corner, at the top of the two story high piece. This portion would be canted back so that it would have a slight angle to the vertical of about two degrees. This would allow the building to co-exist with the Metro canopy, which, Mr. Evans said, was built about seven inches into the Capital Gallery property. Canting the northwest corner back would allow for more visual space between the building wall and the Metro canopy. The north elevation would have a glassy facade for the purposes of reflecting light and sky. This would help alleviate the mostly shadowy conditions of the north side and would also reflect the trees added as part of the landscape plan. The canted motif at the northwest corner would be continued at a lower scale along the north facade in order to serve as a backdrop to the garden and plaza planned for the north side. The west elevation was shown to further illustrated the canted area.
The materials would be precast concrete of a buff limestone color with a smooth finish. The glazing would be composed of a low-E glass which had some reflectivity, but was not reflective glass. Precast spandrils on the north and west sides would be light enough to maximize the glazing. The vertical mullions would be bright silver and the horizontal muntins would be charcoal or graphite gray. The site materials would include a standard gray District sidewalk. The walkway connecting the two entrances would be a buff color and the seating areas would use a gray granite known as Blue Pearl.
Mr. Evans introduced Elliott Rhodeside, of Rhodeside and Harwell to discuss the landscaping plan. He said that the site design program would contain three elements; the streetscape along Maryland Avenue and onto 7th Street, the north plaza park and the rehabilitated planting area. Mr. Rhodeside emphasized that native materials using sustainable design would be an important part of the program. The streetscape would include a double row of willow oak trees within the concrete-paved area from the Metro entrance to the arcade entrance and also along the avenue with access to USDA's educational facility. Red maples and southern magnolias would be planted along 7th Street. Because the north plaza would be heavily shaded, it would be planted with shade-tolerant plants. Water would drain away from the green domed areas of the plaza into a stormwater bioengineered basin proposed for the read maple trees. The south side of the building, which retains more heat, would have native plant materials such as eastern red cedars, perennials and grasses. Some of the existing oak and pine trees would be saved.
The proposal was generally well received by the Commission, though some concerns were raised. Ms. Balmori cautioned that the grasses selected for the proposed north plaza should be able to withstand a Washington winter as well as summer. The Chairman asked if it would be possible to bring the building to the property line and meet the angle, rather than go back from the property line and distort the angle. Mr. Evans replied that it was possible in theory, but that the presence of the Metro had created a below-grade condition that was prohibitive. The Chairman said that the approach chosen was a good one, but it proves difficult, then the building ought to then be orthogonal. As to the materials, the Chairman suggested that the glass have minimal reflectivity. He also suggested that a better material than precast stone be used, in order to be more in keeping with other buildings in the immediate area. Ms. Nelson said that the addition of the grass would be a very welcome thing. She was concerned about the views from the Jefferson Memorial, the Capitol and the Mall, and echoed the Chairman's comments on the use of less reflective glass and better quality stone.
A motion to approve with the stated recommendations and comments was made, seconded and carried unanimously.
c. Appendix I. Ms. Alg said that there were minor changes to the Shipstead-Luce appendix, particularly that some items were no longer recommended against. The museum at the National Academies, case S.L. 04-066, proposed banners on both the building and the light poles, and staff recommended against the banners on the light poles as unnecessary and redundant.
A motion made to approve the Shipstead-Luce appendix was seconded and carried.
2. Old Georgetown Act
(The agenda order was changed, and the Old Georgetown appendix, item II.I.2.b was discussed prior to the Sheridan Garage, item II.I.2.a.)
b. Appendix II. Mr. Martinez said that a couple of cases were added to the draft. He called attention to case O.G. 04-101 and commented that staff was still working closely with the Board and the applicant on the production of the final drawings. He noted that the Board has been very flexible working with the staff and receiving drawings between meetings. Staff was delegated to fill in dates on the appendix when supplemental drawings were received.
A motion made to approve the Old Georgetown appendix was seconded and carried.
a. O.G. 03-209, 2550 Q Street, NW. Sheridan Garage Limited
Partnership. Additions and alterations. Concept. (Previous: O.G. 93-106A, reviewed CFA 29 July 1993). Mr. Martinez said that in 1993, architect Shalom Baranes presented a proposal, approved by the Old Georgetown Board, to change the Sheridan Garage to a residential building. He returned in 2003 with the same design which was disapproved by the Board and objected to by the neighbors. After working closely with the architect, the Board is more comfortable with the direction the design is taking, and had no objection to the concept presented to them in April 2004. Mr. Martinez introduced Mr. Baranes to make the presentation.
Mr. Baranes said that the Sheridan Garage, originally a repair garage, was built in 1922 and was basically an industrial structure. One floor would be added to the top of the garage and the footprint would be expanded with additions to the rear east and west sides and with a separate building, also on the west side. The addition on the east would be integrated with the garage and the rear addition on the west, known as the Courtyard Building, would be connected to the garage by a bridge. The separate addition to the north of the Courtyard Building, the East Place Building, would be connected by a small trellis.
In the interest of maintaining the historic character of the building itself, Mr. Baranes said that the changes made to it were minor. There would be modifications to the openings in the form of additional windows and small door openings and lowering the window sills. The addition on top would have industrial type glazing using glass similar to channel glass. The mechanical penthouse would be split into three different pavilions, allowing access to the roof. In response to neighbors' concerns, the addition would be set back twenty feet from the garage edge. The north elevation of the East Place addition would be designed as a pair of townhouses in order to relate to existing townhouses on the block. The Sheridan Garage sign on the north elevation would be retained.
The proposal was well received by the Commission and, following the Board's recommendation, a motion made to approve was seconded and carried.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.
Charles H. Atherton