The meeting was convened at 10:05 a.m. in the Commission of Fine Arts offices in the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20004, after a tour of the National Arboretum.
Hon. David M. Childs, Chairman
Hon. Earl A. Powell III, Vice-Chairman
Hon. Diana Balmori
Hon. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel
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. John Cogbill
Ms. Patty Gallagher
A. Approval of minutes, 15 April. The minutes were approved without objection.
B. Dates of next meetings, approved as:
21 September (Tuesday)
C. The Commission's 94th year, established 17 May 1910; and the Shipstead-Luce Act's 74th year, approved 16 May 1930. Following the custom, the Assistant Secretary noted the passing of these anniversary dates.
D. Announcement of the Secretary's retirement. Mr. Lindstrom announced that Mr. Atherton's retirement would become effective on the 29th of this month, and it was noted that he had been with the Commission forty-four years, since 1960. Mr. Lindstrom said that in that time he had missed only four meetings, and one was because he was in France attending the fiftieth anniversary of the Normandy landings, at the request of the American Battle Monuments Commission. The Chairman recalled that he had met Mr. Atherton in 1968, when he had come to Washington to work on the Pennsylvania Avenue plan, and so had had the pleasure of knowing him and working with him for many years, in various circumstances, and that he had learned a great deal from the experience. He said the Commission was delighted to be hosting a reception for Mr. Atherton the evening before the next meeting, when more formal tributes would be made, but at this time he just wanted to comment on a remarkable career and wish him success for the future.
Mr. Atherton commented that being Secretary of the Commission had been an extraordinary opportunity for him, both because of the involvement with the development of the city over such a long period, and because of the people he had worked with. Ms. Diamonstein noted his recent election to the D.C. Hall of Fame, and she said she was happy to see the honor go where it was so richly deserved. She observed, too, that at the lighting inspection the evening before, he was "filled with all sorts of rich, new, work- intensive ideas for the Commission", and she hoped this applied to himself also. The Chairman commented that there was a fine tribute to Mr. Atherton in the AIA magazine, copies of which had been sent to all the members. Mr. Atherton thanked everyone for their kind words, and Mr. Lindstrom then noted that the next item of business also concerned Mr. Atherton's accomplishments at the Commission.
E. Presentation of NCPC Resolution. Mr. Lindstrom introduced John Cogbill, chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission. Mr. Cogbill said he had come to present a resolution on behalf of NCPC, recognizing Mr. Atherton on the occasion of his retirement. The Chairman remarked on the "renaissance of coordination" between the two agencies since Mr. Cogbill had been named chairman, and Patty Gallagher, who was also present, had served as executive director. Mr. Cogbill then read his resolution, which is attached as Exhibit A to these minutes, and Mr. Atherton thanked him, saying that it had been a pleasure and an honor to work with the Planning Commission over the years.
Presentation by the American Battle Monuments Commission. General John P. Herrling (ret.) recalled that the ABMC had probably been before the Commission hundreds of times since it was formed in 1923. He said he had been part of the process for nine years with the design of the World War II Memorial, and no one had provided the project with greater support than Mr. Atherton. He then presented Mr. Atherton with a picture of the memorial, signed by the architect, Friedrich St. Florian, the landscape architect, James Van Sweden, and the sculptor, Ray Kaskey. Mr. Atherton thanked him and said he felt very fortunate to have been associated with the World War II Memorial, and going there the preceding evening to see it all completed was an experience he would never forget.
F. Report on the 2004 National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs program. The Assistant Secretary reported that twenty-one grants had been distributed, and he would be happy to share the details on the disbursal of the funds if the members so desired. Ms. Diamonstein said she would like to have them, and Mr. Lindstrom said he would e-mail them to each member.
G. Report on the inspection of the lighting at the National World War II Memorial. The Assistant Secretary reported on the inspection, saying that all the members were present, and spent a delightful evening looking at all aspects of the memorial. He turned the discussion over to the members, beginning with the Chairman. Mr. Childs said it was very gratifying to see the memorial completed so successfully, and he congratulated all who had been involved. Turning to the lighting, he noted first how important the lighting of the Washington Monument had always been to visitors, how it was a memory they always retained, and while he thought the lighting at the World War II Memorial had many powerful and wonderful aspects, there were aspects of it that needed further adjustment, and some of it would be hard to do. First, he mentioned the scalloping on the walls as the visitor entered from 17th Street, noting that it was a function of the depth of the light fixtures away from the wall and the way in which the light fixtures were designed, thus making it hard to change. Second, some inconsistencies in light level were noted, and he said he understood that problem would be corrected. Third, there was a question about the intensity of the lights on the main vertical fountains, which seemed a bit too much and could be more subtle, more in harmony with the Washington and Lincoln memorials. This was especially important in view of the fact that the source of light could be seen. The visibility of light sources was apparent in several places, including along the Wall of Stars, where some kind of shielding was needed so that only the reflected light was seen. Again, the source of light in the baldachinos was distracting, and the pin lights could be more suffused. He said he realized that this problem was being worked on. In spite of the remaining problems, he said the sense of joy and satisfaction felt by everyone on seeing the memorial completed so successfully and on time was tremendous. He then asked for any additional comments from the other members.
Ms. Diamonstein thought he had covered all the things discussed during the lighting inspection, and she wanted to add that the memorial was not only completed in time but also under budget. She said the reason the Commission had so many comments on the lighting was that it was really not up to the level of the work of the other contractors, and she thought the other members would agree with her on this point. She thought that the fixtures were too large and too bright, and that more subtlety was needed. Realizing that some installations could not be corrected because they were cut in stone, she thought others could be much improved by shielding, especially at the Wall of Stars. Noting that this part of the memorial was still a work in progress, she said the most important thing was the overwhelmingly favorable response to the memorial by the visitors who had seen it, and she thought the ABMC deserved warm congratulations on its completion.
Mrs. Nelson echoed Ms. Diamonstein's congratulations, calling the memorial very evocative and hard to leave, adding that she had brought her father, a World War II veteran, to see it. That experience had made her think that additional seating in the shade should be added, particularly for veterans and other older people who would like to be able to sit in the tree area and look back into the memorial. Her only additional comment on the inspection was that she thought the small individual jets encircling the Rainbow Pool would be more effective if they could interlace-reinforcing the idea of unity seen in the ropes on the pillars uniting the states.
Ms. Diamonstein remarked that she had been surprised at the amount of night visitation to Washington memorials, and she thought some consideration should be given to establishing an ancillary exterior lighted path connecting all the Mall area memorials into what would really be a Washington promenade. Ms. Balmori said she was one of those who had always visited the memorials at night, and so she was especially conscious of lighting. In regard to the World War II Memorial, she thought the two large jets at either end of the Rainbow Pool were excessively lit, thus killing off the other water displays. She commented that there had been great technical advances in lighting in recent years, including the ability to use much smaller lights to achieve desired effects; she said this had not been apparent in the choice of fixtures at the World War II Memorial, which were all too large. Aside from the lighting, she commented on the previous Rainbow Pool jets which had the ability to crisscross, and she wondered if that could be brought back for use on special occasions, especially now that the pool had been lowered and there would be no obstruction of the view of the Lincoln Memorial.
Ms. Zimmerman recalled three other items that had been brought up during the lighting inspection. The first was the excessively bright, gold color of the bronze railings that led down the ramps to the Rainbow Pool, and their too delicate scale when compared to the strength of the other memorial elements. The second was the walk around the outside of the pillars, which seemed very narrow and possibly not even wide enough for a wheelchair. Lastly, she commented on the soft, subtle lighting in the Circle of Remembrance, which seemed very appropriate and did not need to be augmented by a post light, as had been suggested.
Ms. Diamonstein asked what would happen on special days that were specific to that memorial-arrangements for ceremonies, laying of wreaths, etc. Barry Owenby from the ABMC answered that question. He said that as the Park Service would be operating the memorial, they had jointly developed a policy on which ceremonies would be allowed, how many people could assemble without a permit, etc. He said the Wall of Stars area was the most sacred area and would be reserved for only federally sanctioned events.
Except for breaking news, TV coverage would be generally restricted to the ceremonial entrance area. Ms. Diamonstein then asked about the parking lot and its small number of spaces. Mr. Owenby said it was limited to handicapped parking, there would be ten spaces, and there would be a park policeman on duty.
The Chairman told Mr. Owenby he hoped the Commission's comments had been helpful, and he said the Commission would like to be kept informed of any changes made. He also told Sally Blumenthal from the Park Service that in regard to the lighting of paths connecting the memorials, the Commission would be worried about lighting seen and reflected in the pools, and that they should consider looking at fixtures that would light just the ground plane. He said the Commission would like to be consulted early on, and see mock-ups as the work progressed. He then closed the discussion by thanking and congratulating everyone concerned.
H. Report on the site inspection to the U.S. National Arboretum and discussion of the actions postponed from last month's submissions. The Assistant Secretary commented that the Commission had spent over one and one-half hours at the Arboretum prior to the meeting, touring the grounds and inspecting the Administration Building, and looking at the several proposals that were presented at the last meeting. He turned to the Chairman to summarize the members's comments.
Mr. Childs said they had gone first to the proposed new entrance with the director, Thomas Elias, whom he commended for his energy in pursuing plans for needed development at the Arboretum. He said, however, that things seemed to be going ahead in a piecemeal fashion, and the Commission's recommendation to him would be to hire a design and landscape firm to consolidate all his ideas and supplement the engineering work that was being done, so that the experience of the Arboretum would be all of a whole, rather than a piecemeal presentation.
Mr. Childs observed that the new entranceway off Bladensburg Road had already been started, and was, unfortunately, at the peak of the hill, and that there was a beautiful oak tree right in harm's way. He thought that if there was some way to save it, it would make a beautiful "sculptural" entrance to the Arboretum. From there they had gone to the area where there would be new construction, and he said it was really imperative that the Arboretum get a respected landscape architecture firm to design the connecting walk and respect the openness of the meadow. On the other hand, the greenhouses planned were not going to be open to the public and were less visible, and as the old ones would be very costly to renovate, he, for one, would have no objection to their demolition and replacement with modern ones. As to the Administration Building, he said it was a fine piece of modernist architecture, and while he understood the need to replace the large panes of single thickness glass with smaller, insulated panes, he said this was not an engineering job but should be undertaken by an architectural firm, one noted for its work in preservation of buildings of this period. He asked for comments from the other members.
Ms. Zimmerman said she felt that Dr. Elias was a sympathetic person, trying to do the right thing, but was somewhat hamstrung by the Department of Agriculture and their requirements or restrictions. She thought it would be helpful if someone from the USDA would talk to the staff or come to a Commission meeting and listen to the comments on the Arboretum's needs as far as their buildings and site development were concerned. Mr. Lindstrom said there were actually representatives from the USDA in the audience as they would be presenting a project at this meeting. Ms. Diamonstein said she would like to make a plea to them to get the Arboretum some assistance, especially in the form of a development person. She referred to the Arboretum's remarkable research and development program for the rest of the country, the introduction of new plants, and the supplying of plant material to nurseries country-wide, for which no royalties were received, and she thought they deserved an increase in their budget rather than the cut they expected.
It was agreed that the Commission and the staff would do everything possible to help Dr. Elias work within the tight constraints and regulations he faced within the USDA and retain the services of a nationally known landscape design firm to carry out the major projects he was considering, and also a preservation architect to carry out the renovation of the Administration Building. Ms. Diamonstein commented again on the location of the new entrance, mentioning the saving of the oak tree and noting also that she foresaw problems with the stacking of cars on Bladensburg Road during peak visiting periods. In response to the requests of several of the members, Mr. Lindstrom said the Commission's comments would be sent to the appropriate groups and individuals, those who had an interest in the welfare of the Arboretum or needed to be informed of the needs of this little known, but invaluable national resource.
I. Report on the General Services Administration draft Memorandum of Agreement regarding the Southeast Federal Center. The Assistant Secretary noted that the members had received a copy of this draft in their pre-meeting packages and that it concerned establishment of a procedure for the Commission's review of projects in the Southeast Federal Center. The Chairman began by saying that he had discussed this at length with GSA, that there had been a meeting with the staff, and that he had also had discussions with John Cogbill and Patty Gallagher from NCPC, noting that they had a similar memorandum of understanding that they had spent a great deal of time developing. That agreement was specific to NCPC's responsibilities, but he said he had asked Mr. Lindstrom to be sure that the two agreements, NCPC's and this Commission's, were coordinated.; he asked Mr. Lindstrom to continue the revue and bring it back before the Commission took any action on it.
Mr. Lindstrom said he had a few comments regarding some of the language, particularly the thirty-day turnaround for review, which could catch this Commission between meetings, and so preclude review; he thought forty-five days would be better. The Chairman agreed that the memorandum was not perfect, but was better than no review of these projects; he thought the Commission should continue to work with GSA and NCPC, and should move as quickly as possible.
Item not on the printed agenda: letter from the Navy concerning review of security projects. The Chairman commented on a letter from the Department of the Navy, which was circulated to the members, which thanked the Commission for the reviews of security barrier proposals at the Naval Observatory, but said they needed to move quickly and were going ahead with the vehicle barriers the Commission had disapproved. He said he was disappointed in the response and hoped that this would not be the case in the future. When questioned, he said there was nothing the Commission could do about it, as far as this case was concerned, but he thought an effort should be made to find out who, at the highest level, the Commission could talk to. Also, other options should be pursued, such as contacting manufacturers to see if they would be receptive to ideas that would improve their products a far as aesthetics was concerned, especially when they were to be installed here in the nation's capital and other places where appearance was important. He observed that review of security measures occupied about 80% of the Commission's time now, time that would be wasted if the advice was routinely disregarded. Mr. Lindstrom said the response he had gotten from the Navy was that the problem resulted from a combination of critical security needs and the funding cycle; in the case of the observatory, they had wanted the barriers in place two months ago. The Chairman closed the discussion by saying that the Commission should definitely follow up on remedying this situation.
J. Freer Gallery of Art; objects proposed for acquisition. The Assistant Secretary showed photographs of four objects: two Chinese blue-and-white porcelain covered jars and a blue-and-white dish to be used in the Peacock Room, all dating from the Qing period; and a Japanese painting, ink and color on silk, from the Edo period. The Chairman asked about the height of the jars, but no dimensions were given on the photographs. Staff member Sue Kohler commented that, as the members knew, they traditionally went over to the Freer to see the objects, and she hoped that the practice of seeing only photographs was not going to replace these visits. The color photograph of the painting was not a good one, and while the Commission felt the jars could be approved from the photos, especially since they were intended just to be part of the decoration of the Peacock Room, they were not ready to approve the painting without seeing it. The Chairman asked that arrangements be made to see the painting at a later date, and that in the future, no photographic submissions should be made.
II. SUBMISSIONS AND REVIEWS
A. Department of the Treasury, United States Mint
1. CFA 20/MAY/04-1, Congressional Gold Medal for Jackie Robinson. Design. (Previous: CFA 20/MAR/97-5; $5 and $1 silver commemorative coins) Ms. Kohler said the Mint's submissions this month were for two gold medals. Before discussing them, Ms. Kohler passed out copies of an article from Coin World regarding a proposal in Congress to limit the number of gold medals awarded in one year to two, and to place restrictions on those awarded posthumously as well as set time limits. Also, medals could no longer be issued to groups. She then introduced Jack Sczerban from the Mint to show the designs, which had already been circulated to the members.
There was only one design for each side of the Jackie Robinson medal. The obverse featured a portrait of Mr. Robinson with his name and an inscription to the left of the portrait. The consensus was that the portrait was a good one, but it was suggested that the ampersand in the inscription be replace with the word "and". The reverse showed a quotation from Mr. Robinson within a shield, framed with laurel leaves with a ribbon scroll above. Originally to have contained Mr. Robinson's signature, it was now blank, as Mrs. Robinson had requested that the signature be taken off. It was then suggested that the ribbon be removed, some adjustments made in the size of the other elements, and Mr. Robinson's birth and death dates added beneath his name. Ms. Diamonstein made a motion to that effect, which was seconded by the Vice-Chairman and carried unanimously.
2. CFA 20/MAY/04-2, Congressional Gold Medal(s) for Reverend Joseph A. Delaine, Harry and Eliza Briggs, and Levi Pearson. Design. Mr. Sczerban said these medals would be awarded posthumously to these four people for their pioneering efforts that led to school desegregation in the landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education. The obverse showed four portraits, with names, and two palmetto palms representing South Carolina. The reverse featured a quotation from the dissenting opinion on Briggs v. Elliott, with the scales of justice and books representing education, at the left. The feeling about both sides of this medal was that they were too complicated. For the obverse the recommendation was that the palmetto trees be removed, and the portraits be adjusted so that the names could be placed beneath them in all cases, giving a more orderly and less complicated appearance. The reverse also seemed overly complicated, and it was recommended first, that fewer typefaces be used, and secondly, that the books be removed, leaving only the figure of Justice, or that only the inscription be used.
B. Department of Agriculture
CFA 20/MAY/04-3, Headquarters Complex (Whitten, South, and Yates buildings, and Cotton Annex), Jefferson Drive, Independence Avenue, 14th and 12th streets, NW. Perimeter security barriers. Concept. Staff member Kristina Alg introduced this project, noting that the Department of Agriculture was the only departmental building on the Mall and that they had been coordinating their perimeter security program with the Smithsonian, their neighbors on Jefferson Drive. She introduced Jim Reddington, director of Emergency Programs, to make the initial presentation, to be followed by Marsha Lea, from EDAW, landscape architects.
Mr. Reddington first thanked the Commission staff for their help, and he added that the comments on the Arboretum and its needs would be related to the Department's senior leadership. He then commented on the location of the Whitten Building, at the corner of 14th Street and Independence Avenue, saying that this put them astride two major corridors through the city, one of which was a strategic corridor linking the White House to the Pentagon; they were also right across 14th Street from the Holocaust Museum, and the only departmental building directly on the Mall; all of this gave them serious security concerns. However, he said no one wanted to work "in a fort surrounded by Jersey barriers", and he noted also that their buildings were often the first set of federal buildings visitors saw when they came to Washington. He said they wanted to make sure their plan was consistent with others along Independence Avenue and the Mall, and so they had hired architect Shalom Baranes and the landscape architects of EDAW, who were also the Smithsonian's lead team, and they had had experience in designing effective security elements that were also attractive. He asked Marsha Lea from EDAW to describe their plans.
Ms. Lea began by describing the location of the other three buildings in the complex: the South Building, directly across from the Whitten Building on Independence Avenue and bordered by 14th Street, C Street, and 12th Street; the Yates Building (the old Auditors Building) on the southwest corner of 14th and Independence; and the Cotton Annex, facing 12th Street at the end of C Street, with D Street just to the south.
She showed photographs of existing conditions at all four buildings and then described the security proposals. Beginning with the Whitten Building, she said that in most cases there was a fairly broad setback from the street, the exceptions being the two wings and arches over to the South Building on Independence Avenue which came right out to the street, and a parking lot along the 12th Street tunnel which came out to the sidewalk. She noted also the parking lots on Independence Avenue between the main building and the wings. The wide, landscaped Mall frontage offered the opportunity for free-standing and retaining walls and bollard fences set within the landscape, with retractable bollards used at the entrances to the main section of the building. The parking lot on 12th Street would have landscape bollards with new planting and retractable bollards at the vehicular entrances. The 14th Street side, with its wide lawn and a vehicular moat close to the building, would have landscape bollards with new planting at the edge of the lawn area, well back from the street, with retractable barriers at the vehicular entrances. Independence Avenue would require several different barrier types: bollards at the curb where the wings projected to the street and met the arches to the South Building , similar bollards at pedestrian entries, retractable bollards at parking lot entrances, hardened planters along the parking lots for screening purposes as well as security, and fence bollards at the back of the sidewalk in the remaining areas.
Ms. Lea said the South Building was set close to the sidewalk on all sides with, in most cases, an areaway next to the building protected by a wall and guardrail. In this case there was little choice but to place a line of bollards or fence bollards at the curb. The number of street trees would be increased and the bollards would follow the line of the tree wells. On Independence Avenue there was a special need for porosity, given the Metro station, shuttle buses, Metrobuses and metered parking along the street. At C Street, there was a series of six courtyards, each with a vehicular entrance, so retractable bollards were needed there plus the usual streetscape bollards. Additional street lights would be added on C Street, and all street lights around the building would be hardened.
The Yates Building, a historic structure, was built very close to the street, and had a day care center on its north side. Bollards would be placed at the curb on 14th Street, connecting with the Holocaust Museum bollards. At the intersection with Independence Avenue the radius of the curved corner would be reduced for increased safety, and the bollard line would continue along the edge of the day care center, ending in a retaining wall and hardened existing areaway wall at the west end The Cotton Annex, on 12th Street, was surrounded by a GSA parking lot on the north and east sides, and Ms. March said plans for that perimeter would have to be worked out with GSA and were not submitted at this meeting. A hardened fence, 6-feet high, would separate the USDA parking lot to the south from the GSA lot, and a bollard fence and retractable barrier would mark off the entrance from 12th Street through part of the GSA parking lot to the Cotton Annex loading dock. Along 12th Street would be the usual entrance bollards and bollard-fence-tree combinations, with hardened street lights.
Questions were asked for clarification, and for assurances that there was not some degree of overkill in the number of security elements, and that the fence bollards would not become too opaque. Planters were especially suspect, with the Chairman commenting that they were really not much different from Jersey barriers, except that they were nicely made and decorative. Mr. Lindstrom pointed out that the planters in front of the parking in the Whitten Building courtyards would contain trees to screen the parking, but Ms. Balmori asked if they couldn't just plant a row of trees there. Ms. Lea said they would look into that. A question about the decorative appearance of the planters brought another about the design of the bollards, and Ms. Lea said they had not really gotten that far in their design, but they would probably be metal and perhaps hexagonal, and they did intend to take details from all the buildings and use these to enhance the appearance of the bollards and other security elements. She showed some perspective drawings with landscaping elements in place and photographs of building details to illustrate their thinking.
The Chairman thought that with this attention to detail, and with the other comments taken into consideration, the concept design could be approved and they could be encouraged to go on into the design development phase. There were no objections to this, and the concept design was unanimously approved.
C. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
CFA 20/MAY/04-4, Vehicle barriers at service tunnel and three security guard booths. The Assistant Secretary said this submission was for the installation of several guard booths and a secure entrance to the service tunnel. He introduced Roger Mosier, director of capital projects for the Center to make the presentation.
Mr. Mosier recalled that there were already two guard booths on the grounds, which he pointed out on a drawing. These were rundown and would be replaced in more or less the same area they were in at present. The largest part of the project, however, was a new guard booth at the entrance to the service tunnel, which would not be just for monitoring and observation, but would control entrance to the tunnel. It would be quite visible from the grand staircase, and they wanted to be sure they would be comfortable with the way it looked. He said the architect was Peter Schwab from RCG Associates, and he asked Mr. Schwab to describe his design to the Commission.
Mr. Schwab noted that the tunnel was used on a daily basis, and they had already put in new retractable brushed stainless steel bollards of the same design used at the State Department building, which was very plain and modern and suitable for the Kennedy Center; he said there would be no gate arms. They had wrapped reflective tape around the bollards to warn the truck drivers to stop, and there would be stop lights raised up slightly higher than normal-all this was to avoid needing the gate arms. There was also concern expressed about someone ramming the guard booth, so a small concrete wall was added. Screening had been added for the bollards so they were not seen from the street, and he noted that the pole light fixtures matched the Sasaki design used elsewhere.
Mr. Schwab showed a photograph of a guard booth and said their new one would be similar, and it would be painted an off-white, the color the Center used on the building when they were trying to match the existing stone. In answer to a question from Mrs. Nelson, he said there would be lights inside the guard booth. Ms. Zimmerman asked if the low wall in front of the booth couldn't be incorporated into the booth itself. Mr. Schwab said they had considered making it a planter, but then it got to be too thick and so they just left it as a wall. Ms. Zimmerman said her objection was to the wall as a separate element, and she asked if the booth itself couldn't be hardened, and so eliminate the need for a wall. Mr. Mosier said the reason for the wall-enclosed space around the booth was that the guard did not stay inside the booth for much more than 50% of the time; he was encouraged to walk around a little and be seen, and they introduced the wall to provide a small amount of protection for him. The Chairman commented that these booths seemed to be compatible with the design of the building, and they were not permanent, given the assumption that the Vinoly design would move ahead. As this was only a concept submission, he asked for a motion to approve it, which was made by the Vice-Chairman, seconded by Mrs. Nelson, and carried unanimously. Mr. Lindstrom asked if the Commission would be willing to delegate final approval to the staff, and there were no objections to doing so.
D. Department of the Navy
CFA 20/MAY/04-5, Washington Navy Yard. Building #1, renovation, landscaping and new ADA ramp. Concept. Staff member José Martínez recalled the Commission's recent site visit to the Navy Yard, noting that one of the buildings pointed out was this building, the historic Commandant's quarters. He introduced Larry Earle from the Navy to describe the proposals for renovation.
Mr. Earle said this was a historic building erected in 1837 as the Commandant's office, and had been used in recent years by the Naval Historical Center. Now the current Commandant wanted to move back into the building, for probably the first time in a hundred years, and renovations and restoration was needed. He showed photos, noting that the building was originally a brick building entirely wrapped in open porches, some of which had subsequently been filled in. As the new use required that the building be made ADA accessible, some of that space would be turned back into porches for installation of a handicapped ramp. He showed how this would work, adding that there would also be an elevator installed inside. It was unanimously agreed that the opening up of the porches for the installation of the ramp actually improved the appearance of the building, and the renovation was unanimously approved.
Before Mr. Earle left, Mrs. Nelson suggested that the Commission might mention to him the letter received from the Navy regarding the Naval Observatory vehicle barriers, previously discussed. The Chairman said he was very disappointed in that letter, and wanted to be sure that in the future the Commission was brought in earlier on these projects so that there was time for its advice to be taken; he said a letter would be written in reply. Mr. Earle said he would soon be retiring as a federal employee, and he would try to get the name of the future commanding officer for the Commission to write to.
E. Department of the Army
1. CFA 20/MAY/04-6, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Main Section. 16th Street, Elder Street, and Dahlia Street gates. Security barriers, guard booths, visitor registration facilities and other modifications. Concept. (Previous: CFA
2. CFA 20/MAY/04-7, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Main Section. 14th Street Gate at Alaska Avenue. Security barriers, guard booths, and other modifications. Final. (Previous: CFA 19/NOV/98-3)
The Assistant Secretary said the Army wanted to increase the level of protection for all the entrance gates at Walter Reed Medical Center. He said he wanted to compliment the staff at Walter Reed for coming in very early in the project and consulting with the Commission staff on the some of the design challenges and the tight restrictions they had to work with, trying to meet the Department of Defense guidelines for these installations. He observed that Walter Reed, as an urban campus, had very limited space to work with. He said the Commission staff had been working with them for the past few months, and he then introduced their architect, Jeff Zalewski. Mr. Zalewski discussed the 14th Street Gate first, since it was the only one for which final approval was being requested. He said it was a secondary gate, and the present condition was described as consisting primarily of Jersey barriers and a temporary structure. He said they were hoping to develop it in a sensitive way, and they were asking that it be considered a two- phase project. In the future, he said, additional barriers would be provided as part of a separate contract, as would provisions for possible canopies. In the meantime, they were looking for very minor improvements-provisions for an area of inspection and for a future guard booth, paving, curbing and other surface work; there would be just a single lane in and out. The removable bollards now in place would remain, and in answer to the Chairman's question, he said the bollards were in place most of the time since the gate was only open from six to nine p.m. There were no objections to this work, and it was unanimously given final approval.
Mr. Zalewski then moved on to the other gates, for which concept approval was being requested. He began with the Dahlia Street Gate, a primary entrance associated with the hospital. It would be similar in nature to what was being done at 14th Street, but larger, with two incoming lanes and one exit lane, which would require an expansion of the existing condition. At this point he said there were no funds for a guard booth, so there would just be a raised island on the site. The bollards would be of the same type as at 14th Street, with pop-up barriers planned for the future. At this time he said they were asking for approval only of the road surface and guard booth structure. Final approval was unanimously granted, with the final design for the guard booth at both the 14th Street and Dahlia Street gates to be seen later.
At the Elder Street gate, Mr. Zalewski said there was an existing guard booth, and a visitor registration center was to be added. This gate, too, was a primary entrance gate for the hospital; visitors would receive badges at the registration center, and there would be parking for a limited number of cars. The Chairman asked if there was a design for the visitors center, and Mr. Zalewski said there was a conceptual design, which he would show later with the guard booth design. Buses and other larger vehicles would also be inspected at this gate. There were no objections to the concept design, and it was unanimously approved.
The 16th Street Gate generated a long discussion. It was a primary commercial vehicle inspection area with two entrance lanes and one exit lane, and it needed to accommodate four 18-wheel trucks to avoid traffic back-ups on 16th Street, a major artery. Its size was based on the turning radii of these large trucks. Mr. Zalewski said it would be about 150 feet from side to side. It also needed a visitors center and its requisite parking spaces, and a stand-off distance of 30 feet between a parked vehicle and the building. Unlike the other gates it required a large cut into a hillside, the destruction of a number of large oak trees, and a retaining wall, which even though heavily landscaped to minimize its effect on the adjacent neighborhoods, would be over 300 feet long and up to 10 feet in height; it was shown as stepped in the drawings. Mr. Lindstrom said he had been working with the architects for some time, and there just was not another site for this facility that was large enough to meet all the security requirements, and the layout of the required elements could not be reconfigured either, no matter how hard they tried. Mr. Zalewski was asked if he had any more detail on the design of the visitors center, and he showed drawings, saying that it was a combination of the traditional masonry Georgian Revival architecture of Walter Reed with more modern elements, particularly the attached projections which would have an aluminum skin. He showed two slightly different color schemes.
In the end, there was agreement that the project was not heading in the right direction. It appeared overly large and destructive of the 16th Street frontage and of many large trees. The retaining wall was obtrusive, and the Chairman thought that at least it could be sloped-it would actually be lower and its appearance would be less jarring; more of a landscape approach should be tried. He thought perhaps a model would help clarify the situation. The visitors center building was also not satisfactory; it could be simpler and perhaps smaller, without all the additions. Ms. Diamonstein suggested that the concept design not be rejected, but that the applicants be asked to rethink it in light of the concerns expressed, and come back with modifications and/or convincing explanations to make their case. There was unanimous agreement that this should be the Commission's action.
(The Commission adjourned for lunch at 1:07 p.m. and returned at 1:59 p.m.)
F. General Services Administration
CFA 20/MAY/04-8, Potomac Annex (Old Naval Observatory), 23rd Street at C Street, NW. Overlook picnic deck. Final. Ms. Alg said Mr. McGill from GSA had to leave early, and there was no one to present this project. The Chairman said that since it was a small project the Commission would review it anyway, and he asked her to present it. She said it was just a large deck made of a synthetic, wood-like material called Trex, with bench seating and a 10 by 10-foot concrete pad for outdoor cooking equipment. A wood lattice, painted dark green, would screen the open space beneath the deck. The staff had no particular problems with it except that it was in a rather prominent location, near the State Department and the Lincoln Memorial. An effort had been made to align it with the campus geometry, and it would be landscaped. While the project was not looked on with enthusiasm, there were no serious objections, and the final design was unanimously approved.
G. Union Station Redevelopment Corporation
CFA 20/MAY/04-9, Union Station Parking Garage, H Street, between 1st and 2nd streets, NE. Garage expansion. Final. (Previous: CFA 19/FEB/04-9) Mr. Martinez reported that in response to the Commission's comments at the last review, the applicants had made some revisions to their design. He noted also that there had been a staff site inspection, and he asked Ms. Alg to report on it.
Ms. Alg said she and the Assistant Secretary had visited the site the preceding day, where they photographed a mock-up of the screening panel being proposed; she passed around the photos, and called attention to the similarity between the patterning on the concrete structure and that on the screening itself. She said the reason for this was that the patterning on the concrete was made using corrugated metal, the material of the screen itself. She said one of their concerns was the lack of transparency of the screening, from the outside looking in.
Mr. Martínez then introduced David Ball from the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation. Mr. Ball said the users of the station, the board of the Federal City Council, and the Akridge Company, who were purchasing air rights from GSA for a building adjacent to the station, were all happy with this design, and the only things remaining to be worked out were some easement issues with Akridge. He introduced Bill Cavanaugh from Timothy Haahs and Associates, and then turned the discussion over to architect Rod Henderer from RTKL.
Mr. Henderer showed new drawings, noting that they had gone through a period of considerable development of the design. He commented first on the mock-up, saying that it showed only a sample of the material itself, and did not reflect the framework behind it, nor the reveal system introduced to reinforce the horizontal nature of the material and to give shadow lines between panels. Turning to the elevations, he began with the north, noting the two horizontal metal rails that would wrap around the project, and pointing out that the sign, saying "Union Station", would be held between these rails. It would be a glass sign with acid-etched lettering, lit at night by metal halide lights concealed in the rail that would wash up the glass and over the top of the metal screen. He commented also that there were plans for a new Metro entrance in this location, saying that the superstructure had been set up to allow it when the Metro system was built.
The west elevation would undergo considerable change , in an effort to break down the mass and bring more light and better ventilation into the garage. This would be accomplished by the selective removal of precast panels and the addition of the perforated panels to create a rhythmic cadence along the facade. On the south elevation, Mr. Henderer said he had run into a difference of opinion between this commission and NCPC; the Planning Commission wanted to see this same treatment wrapped around the south side, further than the architects were proposing. He said it would be very expensive, approximately $400,000, but he would be happy to do it if Mr. Ball's budget could accommodate it. The Chairman said he had commented on this the last time, saying that this facade was up against a major building, and while not the most handsome, was of its time and did express the long span; he would just leave it alone. Mr. Henderer said he could go either way. Ms. Balmori thought it looked better and stronger without the screen.
There was further discussion of the character of the screening material, with Ms. Zimmerman saying that in the drawings, the structure of the garage could be seen through the screen. She asked if that was how they wanted it to look to the pedestrian on the street during the day. Mr. Henderer said it was, but Ms. Zimmerman did not think that would happen. On a bright day the screen would be especially opaque because it would be the element that was lit; it was also reflective, thus increasing the opacity; she compared the effect to a theater scrim. She noted also that the staff's pictures made the screen look virtually the same as the concrete walls except that it was a horizontal pattern.
In conclusion, the Chairman said that everyone liked the design, including the idea of a transparent screen used in certain places on the garage, although preferably not on the south facade, where the structural honesty of the great truss seemed more appropriate. The actual material chosen for the screen, however, seemed to have problems of transparency, and the members thought that a site inspection was necessary before making a final decision.
H. National Park Service
1. CFA 20/MAY/04-10, Downtown Parks. Numerous locations. Selection of site furniture. Final. Sally Blumenthal and Glenn DeMarr of the National Park Service presented the next two submissions, for site furniture in downtown parks and the rehabilitation of McPherson Square. Ms. Blumenthal began by expressing appreciation, of behalf of the Park Service, for the work of Commission staff members Kristina Alg and Frederick Lindstrom on the task force charged with working towards the revitalization of Franklin Park and McPherson Square. She said that the Park Service had partnered with the District of Columbia Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) in the actual revitalization of these two parks. The goal was to create a sustainable design that would include appropriate site furniture and receptacles. This would allow for easy maintenance and attractive parks.
Prior to the discussion of furniture, Mr. DeMarr, noting the plaza at the west end of Franklin Park, said that the task force had considered the possibility of a future plaza on the east end, to balance out the park. Ms. Blumenthal said that the benches would be the standard Park Service wooden bench, with space between the back slats and seat slats. With an eye toward potential changes in the Americans with Disabilities Act standards, Ms. Blumenthal said that the Park Service would be interested in adapting the bench design to include arms. The standard Park Service trash basket, more appropriate to pastoral rather than urban settings, would be replaced with a Victor Stanley model. The trash baskets would contain a side door, through which trash would be collected. Ms. Blumenthal said that top-loading version of the Victor Stanley trash can would become the Park Service standard for parks located north of Pennsylvania Avenue. Since the BID would be responsible for the installation of the baskets and the collection of the trash in Franklin Park and McPherson Square, the models with the doors would be used in those locations. Mr. Lindstrom added that the Victor Stanley model to be used in these two parks was already being used successfully by the BID throughout downtown and also in Georgetown.
A motion to approve this proposal was carried unanimously.
2. CFA 20/MAY/04-11, McPherson Square (Reservation 11). 15th and K Streets, NW. Rehabilitation. Final. Mr. DeMarr indicated two drawings, one depicting the existing landscape conditions at McPherson Square and the other, the proposed changes. Basically, the diagonal vista of Vermont Avenue would be opened up. Existing trees and annual beds at either end of the diagonal would be removed while planting beds around the center where the McPherson statue stood would remain. An exception to the tree removal would be an elm, which dated back to 1912.
A motion to approve this proposal was carried unanimously.
I. Green Spaces for DC
CFA 20/MAY/04-12, Green Spaces for DC. Memorial Groves program. Information presentation. The Assistant Secretary said that Green Spaces for DC was a new citizens group that advocated the renewal, revitalization and care of green spaces. He introduced Barry Goodinson, the Executive Director, to give a brief informational presentation on the organization.
In addition to an overview to Green Spaces for DC, Mr. Goodinson also briefly introduced one of their first major projects, the September 11 Memorial Tree Groves. He said that Green Spaces for DC was loosely modeled after the Central Park Conservancy, to partner with the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). Initially, the idea was to raise capital funds for green space projects, actually carry out the projects and then hand them over to DPR. When it became clear that the internal capacity of DPR might have trouble absorbing projects for which very large sums of money had been raised, the approach was to "create a philosophical and a capacity change in DPR." To that end, Green Spaces for DC raised money and hired a landscape architect for the DPR staff. Since then, DPR absorbed the position and hired a second landscape architect. The addition of horticulturalists to the DPR staff made it possible for them to internally review plans and make appropriate decisions.
Mr. Goodinson then briefly described the September 11 Memorial Tree Groves project. Funded through the U. S. Forest Service Living Memorials Project, the memorial would consist of trees rather than built structures. There would be a central grove on Kingman Island, which would be part of the habitat reclamation there, and one grove in each of the eight wards of the city. Locations within the wards were nominated by their communities and the designs for the ward-based groves would be dependent upon their sites. The Kingman Island grove design was in the concept stage at that point and design documents were expected soon. Although the project was in early stages, Green Spaces for DC was very aware of the need for iconic signage or some sort of unifying element in each grove to convey that all the groves were part of one greater memorial.
The Green Spaces for DC program was well received by the Commission and the Chairman thanked Mr. Goodinson for his presentation.
J. District Department of Transportation
1. CFA 20/MAY/04-13, District of Columbia entrance gateway signs.
35 locations at the major entrances to the city. Concept. Ms. Alg introduced John Deatrick, Chief Engineer with the District of Columbia Department of Transportation, to present the proposal for thirty-five gateway signs to be located at various entry points to the District. Mr. Deatrick said that design was selected from a group received from Catholic University, who had been invited to assist with the design. Many of the designs submitted were more modernist as opposed to the more warm and homey feeling to the selected design. It was meant to convey that the District was not only the nation's capital, but also a living, residential city. The program was still uncertain, in terms of whether there would be one standard sign or a variety of signs, unique to the neighborhoods in which they would be installed.
The Commission members had several concerns about the proposed signs. The Chairman felt that the scale was too large and that the design was not very dignified. He also said that all thirty-five signs should be identical. Ms. Diamonstein agreed with the Chairman's first point and added that the capital city belongs to every state, and that that should be reflected in the design. As a point of reference, she referred to signs used by the Smithsonian in 1976. Ms. Zimmerman suggested that a professional competition be held, and emphasized the importance of defined guidelines. One guideline should a requirement that more permanent materials, such as stainless steel, be used. She also suggest that the text of sign not necessarily be left to the designer, but rather, have a slogan selected prior to the competition. The Vice Chairman agreed, noting the existence of four universities in the D.C. metro area with architectural programs.
With these suggestions, Mr. Deatrick was invited to confer with Commission staff about design guidelines and was asked to return with a new concept.
2. CFA 20/MAY/04-14, Kenilworth Avenue Bridge over Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue. Artwork on the wingwall of bridge. Concept. The D.C. Department of Transportation projects continued, with public art proposed for the Kenilworth Avenue Bridge over Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue. Mr. Deatrick gave a brief introduction before Susan Badder, Julia Moe and Joan Samworth of the Corcoran Gallery of Art made the presentation. He said that two new structures would replace a concrete bridge over the avenue and a secondary structure would be built over Watts Branch Creek. The creek itself would also be restored as part of the Anacostia waterfront watershed effort. The bridge replacement project would also have a public art component, as part of an effort to create more of a parkway concept.
Ms. Badder, Senior Curator for Education at the Corcoran, spoke about the ArtReach Program at the Corcoran, under which the proposed artwork was developed. Ms. Moe, the project coordinator, continued discussing the program. She said that student artists from high schools near the bridge site worked as members of a design team, under the direction of Ms. Samworth, artistic director in the program and Byron Beck, one of the artists. The students were involved in every aspect of the design process, including site analysis, research of local history and consultation with the community. The idea was to create a piece of public art that would uniquely represent the community in Northeast Washington.
A portrait of Nannie Helen Burroughs would be the central element of the proposed artwork, a mural on the new Kenilworth Avenue Bridge. She was an educator and civil rights leader who founded a girls' technical and academic school in Northeast around the turn of the 20th century. The school still exists in the community as a charter school. In addition to Ms. Burroughs, the students chose four other elements relevant to the community. The lotus would refer to natural resources in the area, particularly the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and cattails would recall the Anacostia River. A blue heron and an eagle were also chosen. Each of the sixteen students created a preliminary design and through a democratic process, decided on the arrangement. The result was a grouping of three images sets on a wall section of the bridge that would be 16 feet high and 40 feet wide and have a stone surface. From left to right, the first image would contain the portrait of Ms. Burroughs, lotus flowers, cattails and a heron. The second image would depict an aquatic scene and the third an eagle in flight. Due to the hilly location of the bridge wall, the images would be sized successively smaller, the smallest being the eagle. Because the bridge would not be constructed for another two years, the students would create the mural on concrete panels which would then be integrated into the bridge.
The Commission were generally favorable towards the proposal, though they did have some concerns and suggestions. Since there was no identification or title on the mural, the average driver would not necessarily know who the portrait depicted. Ms. Burroughs' achievements in the areas of education and civil rights were not portrayed and therefore could not serve to identify her. There was also the concern that the images looked too fragmented, like cut-outs, rather than part of a mural, to which Ms. Moe replied that a stone wall background was the community's preference. The eagle was not immediately recognizable as such and it was suggested it be modified and clarified. Nonetheless, the Commission were supportive of the concept of the work as a community-based project and the proposal was approved.
3. CFA 20/MAY/04-15, O and P Streets, NW between 37th and Wisconsin Avenue (Georgetown). Rehabilitation of streets and removal of trolley tracks. Concept. Mr. Martinez introduced the next project, the rehabilitation proposed for O & P Streets in Georgetown, from Wisconsin Avenue to 37th Street. He said that the community was divided over whether to remove or retain the historic trolley tracks currently exposed in O & P Streets. The Old Georgetown Board reviewed the proposal as a discussion item at their 6 May 2004 meeting and offered comments. Regarding the trolley tracks, the Board suggested that a portion of the tracks in their original cobblestone context be retained, although they did not express a preference as to which location this portion should be retained.
Georgetown residents Timothy Downs and Lance Friedsam spoke in favor of removing the tracks. Mr. Downs said that a vote taken at a community meeting held on 11 March 2004 at St. John's Episcopal Church favored removing the tracks, forty to five. Representatives from the D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the D.C.
Historic Preservation Division attended this meeting. Bill Gallagher, another Georgetown resident, spoke in favor of retaining the tracks. He said that he and other residents would like to see at least one entire street with the tracks be saved and recalled in 1976, 80 percent of Georgetown residents, with the backing of the Old Georgetown Board, voted to permanently save the tracks.
Karen LeBlanc, communications specialist with DDOT, spoke next. She said that all the tracks were set in concrete, including tracks on 36th Street which were covered by asphalt. In a proposal to the Historic Preservation Board and the Federal Highway Administration, still under review, DDOT recommended retaining a portion of the tracks on 36th Street, rather than O or P Streets. The reason for this was because the amount of utility work required on 36th Street was much less than that required on O & P Streets. The installation of two water mains, for example, would be very difficult on O & P Streets if the tracks remained there.
Ms. LeBlanc also briefly reviewed other work proposed for the street rehabilitation outside of the trolley tracks. She explained that the sidewalk bricks would be removed and reused and that if additional materials were needed, matching brick would be obtained. The same was true for the cobblestone in the streets and the bluestone curbs; the existing cobblestones would be reused and if needed, matching Belgium granite would be obtained. Ms. Leblanc cautioned that bluestone cracks very easily when removed, but that every effort would be made to preserve and reuse it. She said that it may be necessary to switch to granite for the curbs, as they may run out of bluestone. The crosswalks and the handicapped ramps would be colored concrete, to match the Belgium granite. Concrete was preferred to granite because it would be less slippery when wet and less expensive.
The Vice Chairman felt strongly that the trolley tracks on O & P Streets should be removed for both safety and aesthetic reasons. He supported the Board's suggestion that a portion of the tracks, embedded in cobblestones, be retained for historic interest and he also supported DDOT's recommendation that that portion be located on 36th Street. Ms. Diamonstein agreed and suggested the removed tracks be given to the Trolley Museum. Ms. Balmori also agreed that retaining the tracks in one block would enhance the character of Georgetown. The Chairman, however, felt that as long as the tracks were anchored in concrete and set in cobblestone, they would make the streets more interesting and unique to Georgetown.
The Vice Chairman made a motion to approve removal of the trolley tracks on O & P Streets and retention of the tracks in cobblestone on 36th Street. This motion was seconded and carried with the Chairman dissenting. The remainder of the work proposed was also approved.
(Ms. Diamonstein left the meeting following this discussion.)
K. District of Columbia Public Schools
CFA 20/MAY/04-16, MacFarland Middle School. 4400 Iowa Avenue, NW. Additions and modernization. Concept. Ms. Alg introduced Paul Falkenbury to present the proposed additions and alterations to MacFarland Middle School. Mr. Falkenbury explained that the main body of the school was built in 1923. Two subsequent additions built within the next decade gave the school its current tri-partite design. A canopy was added to front façade in the 1940s. The additions proposed would be built at the back of the school, and the canopy at the front would be removed and replaced with a new canopy. The green space at the front would be altered to allow for buses to load and unload students with disabilities who were enrolled in a special education program at the school.
Beginning with the canopy, Mr. Falkenbury said that it would be a glassy structure and described it as light, open and modern. The canopy would be rounded and would stand away from the building; though its projections would bring it close enough to the building to offer protection from the weather. Moving onto the rear elevation, Mr. Falkenbury said that the existing belt course and water table would be carried over to the additions and that the additions' window spacings and proportions would match those of the existing building. The transition points between the existing building and additions would be composed of glass and aluminum panels and there would be sunshades on the facades of the additions. Architectural details from the existing building, such as brick accents, would be part of the new additions, as would the school's interior color scheme of boysenberry and burgundy. A gate would be added to the access point of the parking lot. This, too, would echo the architecture of the original building.
The Chairman was complimentary to the proposal and particularly to the canopy, though he cautioned that the canopy should be precisely detailed and focused. Ms. Balmori was very concerned that the bus drop-off point at the front came at the expense of green space, and that apart from the playing fields, there was precious little open green space to begin with. She suggested that an accessible drop-off be located at the side of the building in the existing parking lot.
With those suggestions, the proposal was approved in concept.
L. District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
1. Shipstead-Luce Act
a. S.L. 04-077, 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. 04-060, seen 15 April 2004). Ms. Alg introduced Bob Evans, architect with Evans Heintges Architects to address comments made by the Commission when this project was presented in April.
Mr. Evans began by briefly reviewing the project, known as Capital Gallery. There were two existing buildings, an eight-story building to the east and a three-story building to the west. Seven stories would be added onto the west building, which stood in close proximity to the canopy at the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station at 6th Street and Maryland Avenue. The project would also include the creation of a landscaped plaza with a defined path from the Metro to the new entrance of the Gallery.
Mr. Evans addressed three points based on the Commission's previous comments. The first was the treatment of the corner area of the west building as it met the canopy. The proposal was to create a glass curtain wall on that portion of the building. This curtain wall would cantilever to the north, in order to co-exist with the canopy as a kind of background and also to parallel the line of Maryland Avenue as much as possible. In order to address this area, two existing conditions needed to be considered. One was that the canopy extended about eight inches into the building's property line. The other was that the below grade construction on that portion of the street, which included the Metro and tunnels for communications and power, limited the amount of construction possible there.
The second point concerned comments about color, which Mr. Evans said were very useful. He said that a whiter precast concrete would be used as an alternative to the existing beige-brown precast. Except for the curtain wall portion, the building would use white precast spandrils to create a light, airy atmosphere. The third concern was that glass proposed would be too reflective. Mr. Evans clarified that the glass proposed would have no more than 18 percent reflectivity in order to meet energy codes and still be as close as possible to clear glass.
The presentation was well received by the Commission and the concept was approved.
b. Appendix I. The Commission listened to a presentation for case S.L. 04-073, a rear addition to 3500 Williamsburg Lane, NW for the Embassy of Peoples Republic of China. The applicants had additional information since the project appeared on the draft appendix with a recommendation against. For a full record of this discussion, see the transcript of the meeting of the Commission of Fine Arts for 20 May 2004, pp. 299-307.
The remainder of the Shipstead-Luce appendix was approved.
2. Old Georgetown Act
a. Appendix II. The Old Georgetown Act appendix was approved.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:17 p.m.
Frederick J. Lindstrom