The meeting was convened at 10:00 a.m. in the Commission of Fine Arts offices in the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C.20001, after a tour of the Tregaron/Washington International School site.
Hon. David M. Childs, Chairman
Hon. Earl A. Powell III, Vice-Chairman
Hon. Diana Balmori
Hon. Pamela Nelson
Hon. Witold Rybczynski
Hon. Elyn Zimmerman
Mr. Frederick J. Lindstrom, Acting Secretary
Ms. Sue Kohler
Mr. José Martínez
Ms. Susan Raposa
National Capital Planning Commission staff present:
Ms. Christine Saum
Ms. Nancy Witherell
D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board staff present:
Mr. Stephen Callcott
A. Approval of the minutes of the 17 June and 15 July meetings. The minutes of both minutes were approved without objection.
B. Dates of next meetings, approved as:
The Acting Secretary commented that holding a meeting in December was always problematical because of the holidays, but that would be looked at more closely as the time approached.
C. Confirmation of the reappointment of John E. McCartney, FAIA, to the Old Georgetown Board. The Chairman said he would like to recommend Mr. McCartney’s reappointment strongly, as he had been a very good member of the Board. Ms. Zimmerman made a motion that his reappointment be confirmed; it was seconded by Mrs. Nelson and carried unanimously.
D. Report on the site inspection of the Mall kiosk paint sample colors. Mr. Lindstrom reported that because of the festivities for the opening of the Museum of the American Indian, the site had been blocked off and the inspection postponed until the next month.
E. Confirmation of the recommendation for the U.S. Arboretum’s submission for the first phase of the new Flowering Tree Walk. Mr. Lindstrom recalled that the submission had been circulated to the members and that the majority had indicated their approval. There were two caveats. One was that the plaza area, slated for Phase II of the project, should be revisited when the time came, as what was presented in the current submission was not quite satisfactory. The second caveat was to recommend the use of exposed aggregate concrete for the sidewalks, rather than the plain white concrete as shown. He said the Arboretum was willing to do that. The Chairman commented that the Arboretum had the money to go ahead with this part of the project and had to spend it by the end of the fiscal year, and he thought the Commission could let them go ahead, although concern was still expressed by the piecemeal approach that had been noted before. He asked for a motion to this effect, which was made by Mrs. Nelson, seconded by Vice-Chairman Powell and carried unanimously.
II. SUBMISSIONS AND REVIEWS
A. National Park Service
CFA 21/SEP/04-1, Georgetown Waterfront Park, bounded by the Potomac River and Water Street, from the Francis Scott Key Bridge to the terminus of 31st Street. Revised concept for Phase I–that portion of the park between Wisconsin Avenue and 34th Street. (Previous: CFA 15/JUL/04-8). Staff architect Jose Martinez said that the Old Georgetown Board saw an informational presentation at their 2 September meeting and that their comments were included in the report circulated to the Commission members. Mr. Martinez then introduced John Parsons of the National Park Service.
Mr. Parsons said that the meeting with the Old Georgetown Board was positive and that their comments would be further studied. The presentation given to the Board was the same presentation that the Commission was about to see. Mr. Parsons said that the Park Service was seeking approval for their preliminary drawings in preparation for the more detailed drawings to be presented at a later date. He noted that the overlooks were not included in the presentation, since their artist, Jody Pinto, was reviewing the designs for sustainability and constructability. He then introduced Ignacio Bunster-Ossa, of Wallace, Roberts and Todd, to present a digital slide show of the proposal. In his presentation, Mr. Bunster-Ossa described proposals for paving and plantings, trees and lighting in the park.
The west side of the proposed park would be divided into four "rooms" bounded by K Street on the north and the Potomac River on the south. The "rooms" would be separated by three sets of concrete pavers that would run north-south. Each set would consist of a pair of pavers with grass areas in the middle and thematic materials on the top and bottom. These materials and grasses would represent different aspects of Georgetown, from the formal to the historic, in an east to west progression. The easternmost set would contain brick between the upper and lower portions of the parallel pavers with colorful groundcover plantings to represent Georgetown's formal garden tradition. The next set would contain exposed aggregate concrete and ornamental grass to reflect the industrial heritage of the waterfront and volunteer urban vegetation. The westernmost set would contain Belgian block cobblestones and meadow grasses to recall historic Georgetown. The curving walkways that would run diagonally through each "room," as well as the bicycle path on K Street, would be paved in asphalt.
Mr. Bunster-Ossa also described additional paving and landscape elements. The remaining paved areas would be treated as follows: the sidewalk on K Street would be cast-in- place concrete, the paving directly to the east of each set of parallel pavers would be granite cobble, the soft surface of the children's sculpture garden would be decomposed granite, the areas under the overlooks would be timber boardwalks and the labyrinth would be colored concrete. The granite cobble paving would hold the "street" trees and benches. The wood chosen for the boardwalks at the river's edge would be a sustainable material and would reinforce the ship-like environment of the overlooks. Mr. Bunster-Ossa noted that Ms. Pinto would integrate the pavings, railings and overlooks as one unit of design, which would be presented at a later date. The labyrinth would have a simple, traditional pattern with a raised sculptural element in the center. The initial concept for this element was some sort of bronze plaque that would diagram the relative location of Georgetown to other major world ports. This concept was still being developed and would also be presented later.
Additional landscape elements would include rain gardens, evergreen groundcovers between the Promenade and the river's edge and a bioengineered river edge. The rain gardens would be located along the park's edge on K Street and where the walkways meet the Promenade. They would collect the drainage, help filter the water and minimize runoff in the park. The evergreen groundcover would consist of 8 to 12 feet of plant material near the water that would serve as a sort of buffer, in the absence of railings. The bioengineered river edge would contain a combination of willows and other material that would help protect against floods by holding water.
Mr. Bunster-Ossa said that there would be a variety of trees in the park serving a variety of functions. Evergreens would provide a visual terminus, especially in relation to the boathouse proposed to the west of the park. Medium sized canopy trees would emphasize color as would larger sized trees, such as the sycamores currently along the water's edge. Overall, the trees would follow an thematic east to west progression, similar to the paving and grasses, from the more formal to the more natural. No final determination had been made on park furniture, though Mr. Bunster-Ossa indicated benches and receptacles with more rounded forms would most likely be selected.
Lighting within the park would be provided by more contemporary fixtures from which light is reflected, while lighting on K Street would consist of the more traditional Washington globe lights. The distance between the light poles would be approximately 60 to 70 feet. Mr. Bunster-Ossa acknowledged that the Board had advised against the use double globe fixtures at the park entrances from K Street, and indicated that the lighting overall was still being studied. He concluded the presentation with comprehensive cross-section renderings.
The proposal was well received by the Commission. The Chairman began the discussion with the suggestion that the hardscape and landscape plan for the park be simplified, both for the sake of aesthetics and maintenance. While commending the liveliness and differentiation in the plan, the Chairman suggested that the park was not big enough to accommodate that much variety. He agreed with the Board that the double globe, or "twin-twenty" lights should be eliminated. The Chairman concluded his remarks with a request that a mock-up panel be constructed on the site, so that the Commission could review samples of the proposed pavings.
Ms. Balmori concurred on the matter of the pavings, suggesting that the entrances and walkways be one material, brick for example, rather than two. She supported the variety of plants and the layering of trees, though she suggested that changing the trees along K Street would not be necessary. If maintenance was an issue, then perennial shrubs might be more manageable. She also suggested that the labyrinth have a more grassy, rather than a paved surface. Ms. Nelson were concerned that the labyrinth would be too open and asked if some manner of shading could be provided. Mr. Rybczynski supported the idea of simplification and said that the nautical metaphor was sufficient. Additional metaphors for the formal and industrial aspects of Georgetown were unnecessary, just as the variety of pavings were unnecessary.
With those comments, and with compliments to the Park Service and design team, the Commission unanimously approved the proposal.
B. National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund
CFA 21/SEP/04-2, 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 17/JUN/04-10; informational report) The Acting Secretary said this revised concept essentially followed the design shown to the members in July as an informational presentation. Before the presentation, Mr. Lindstrom introduced Craig Floyd, chairman of the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, noting also that Chief Judge Wagner from the D.C. Courts had also asked to speak.
Mr. Craig began by saying that he thought the project had improved as a result of the comments of the reviewing agencies, the courts, and the work done by the Commission staff, noting especially Mr. Lindstrom’s contributions. He also commented on his architect, Davis Buckley, and his ability to listen and respond well to comments and thoughtful input from others. Mr. Floyd commented on the opening of the Museum of the American Indian, noting that a leader in that initiative, Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, had also played a similar role in the development of the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. He thought that just as the Indian Museum would change the way people thought about the Indian contribution to the nation, so would his museum cause the American people to appreciate more fully the work of the country’s law enforcement officers. Mr. Craig then introduced Davis Buckley to present his revised design.
Mr. Buckley gave a PowerPoint presentation, beginning with views of the Memorial and pointing out the view corridor that would exist from the Memorial through to the new north entrance to the court building. He showed the museum’s two entrance pavilions on either side of the site, both the original design and the several revisions, which decreased the size of the pavilions and increased the distance between them and the existing court buildings to the east and west, but kept the necessary functions and still reduced the amount of solid enclosed space by 43 percent. The entire pavilion would be enclosed in clear glass, thus reducing its apparent size. The solid area would also be glass, but a translucent, fritted variation.
Mr. Buckley said he did not have the latest plans for the court’s addition, but he showed photographs of the model that was in the room, noting the importance of the skylights to the mezzanine level (located on each side towards the court addition) and the translucent glass plates in the plaza area, over the atrium; both would provide light to the underground spaces. A new element was a pair of planting panels, one on each side of the translucent glass plate area; these were to direct visitors to the lines waiting to go into the pavilions and leave the central space for those walking through. Mr. Buckley also noted the slight curving of the access paths from the south, adding a more gracious feeling.
Landscape architect James Urban was introduced to talk about the issue of the sloping site and ways to minimize it visually. In addition to getting people up six feet from E Street to the courts, it was also the site of the Law Enforcement Officers Museum, and the museum needed to be distinct from the street and have a distinct arrival place. He said the space had to be as flat as possible, and also noted that it was critical that the flatness of the memorial site be brought across into the museum site. On the museum site itself, he thought it was very important that the two pavilions have the same cornice height and the same entry door height to the extent possible. Critical to making that happen was the inclusion of three small steps on E Street; with this device he would be able to hold the plaza slope to about one-and-one-half percent, which he considered important. Also important was the ability to create a barrier-free access from the plaza level up to the courthouse. To avoid making this feel like handicapped access, the necessity for hand rails had to be eliminated; he said he had been able to do this by extending the ramps out and thus bringing them down to the required five percent ramp height. Another way to disguise grades was with the use of the curved walkways leading from the park south of the Old Courthouse through the court area and into the museum space, as Mr. Buckley had described.
Mr. Buckley said another aspect of the curved walkway scheme was that it would allow skylights down to the mezzanine level within the green space to provide natural light to this level. He went on to describe his proposed changes further and then Mr. Lindstrom interrupted to show the members the approved court plan for interim landscaping in this area until the museum was completed. Mr. Buckley said what they were presenting was a permanent plan, because everything they were showing was in an area under the jurisdiction of the museum. Mr. Urban noted that both the courts and the museum scheme had the same set of large steps between the plaza and the court; he said the big difference was how the transition was made; also, the museum plan showed a small set of steps at the street to take some of the slope out of the plaza. In answer to Ms. Balmori’s comment that a ramp would then be required in that area, Mr. Buckley said only a very low ramp accessed from the vehicle layby would be required to reach the center of the plaza area. Mrs. Nelson noted the low walls in that area and asked if they would be used for security functions. Mr. Buckley said they could be used this way, but that would have to be discussed with the courts because he had no idea of the level of security they required. There was some further discussion, using the model, about the entrances to the pavilions and to the underground spaces, and then the Chairman introduced Chief Judge Annice Wagner to address the Commission.
Judge Wagner introduced her colleague, Judge Washington, and said she regretted that the court’s architects, Beyer Blinder Belle, could not be present. She told the Commission that the Planning Commission had approved the “final site and building plans for the Old Courthouse including the entrance pavilion on E Street as well as the permanent and interim features of the entrance plaza and other site modifications which are consistent with the principles in our draft Judiciary Square Master Plan and with the historic setting of the buildings and open space of Judiciary Square.” She said the courts would continue efforts to coordinate with their neighbors in this project, particularly the Law Enforcement Museum and Mr. Buckley, but she wanted to correct something that continued to be said: The entrance on E Street was not, as Mr. Buckley continued to say, the rear entrance of the courthouse, but the front entrance, the entrance for all users of the courthouse.
She said Mr. Buckley’s plans, as just presented, caused her some concern because they appeared to presume modifications to the court’s already approved plans; she said she would like the opportunity to review them with their architects, Beyer Blinder Belle, and to respond formally to them. She noted first that the plans did not depict the addition to the courthouse in accordance with the approved design. Then she outlined her specific concerns, as follows: (1) Accessibility to the highest court in the jurisdiction would be severely compromised in that the ADA route would be more confusing and circuitous to the public than the plan their architects had developed and would prevent wheel-chair users from entering the courthouse in a way similar to that available to others; (2) The configuration of the terraces would impact negatively not only on the proportion of the entrance but also on the aesthetics and would further compromise ADA access; (3) The emergency vehicle access would require ambulances and fire engines to drive across the park-like south end of Judiciary Square and exit on Indiana Avenue, which would be far more damaging to the historic courthouse because of the necessary driveways and curb cuts than the turnaround space provided by the master plan; (4) The proposed translucent glass plates in the plaza would tend to give the impression that “law enforcement blocks or controls access to the courts.” She thought it should be possible to meet the requirements of an underground museum without resorting to this real and symbolic barrier to the highest court in the jurisdiction. Judge Wagner said the courts also had safety and maintenance concerns, and she said their security issues would have to be worked out with the U.S. Marshal’s office; she added that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces very likely had their own security issues which would have to be addressed. Lastly, she commented on Mr. Buckley’s reference to jurisdictional lines. She said the courts continued to take the view that the jurisdictional lines defined in the legislation referred to permission to build an underground museum extending out under the sidewalk.
The Chairman thanked Judge Wagner for her comments and then began the Commission’s discussion of Mr. Buckley and Mr. Urban’s revised concept. He said he was concerned that the courts and their architect had not had time to respond to the proposals, and he thought the Commission might find a way to make whatever action it took contingent on the response and the formal coordination of the two parties, and make sure it was positive before giving final approval to the project. He then gave his own comments on the design. First, he said many of the Commission’s concerns had been addressed, such as the issue of scale, symmetry, the axial relationships, and diminishing the size of the pavilions and to some extent their scale. The pavilions still needed to be looked at; he commented that they continued to be large structures, and their success would depend on the detailing. If the Commission approved the plan, it should make sure that the ideas expressed by the architect would actually materialize– would the column structure, the type of fritted glass, the intended transparency really result in the sort of openness needed so that the structures would become pavilions in a park rather than a new wall across the openness of the square.
Mr. Childs said he had another question–this concerned the nature of the translucent glass blocks in the center of the plaza, whether they would be flush and if they would be slip-free. Milo Meacham, from Mr. Buckley’s office, answered these questions, saying that the material would have a roughened surface and had been used successfully at a number of locations. As they would be translucent, they would not offer views down into the museum, but they would emit a glow at night. Mr. Buckley said the actual material had not been selected; they were waiting to see the palette of the court’s material before making a selection.
Ms. Balmori had several comments. First, she thought that access to the courts would definitely be impeded, especially for the handicapped; she mentioned particularly the three steps on E Street, and the necessity of having to make a secondary movement to the side rather than approach the court building on axis. Secondly, she noted that the plaza was a small one, and the large planters that were now being added to it would further reduce the public space. Her third comment was that the glass blocks in the center of the plaza evoked the feeling of going over a garage, a feeling of being in a secondary space. The plaza should not be taken over as a place to illuminate an underground space. She did think that the additional transparency of the pavilion design had been a good effort and had resulted in a better scheme, but she still thought the pavilions would read as very large objects because of the reflection off the glass. She said she would need to study the changes in the ramps going to the court addition to see that the axis was not impeded; although the plan seemed to work, she thought the court’s architects should take another look at it.
The Chairman said he agreed with Ms. Balmori’s comments. He then had some technical questions for Mr. Urban regarding the slope of E Street, the proposed addition of the three steps, and whether they were necessary to take up the street differential and avoid a warped plaza. Mr. Urban said there were other places where he could try to reduce the slope, but he actually liked the addition of the steps because he saw them as a space-defining element that separated the plaza space from the street.
Ms. Zimmerman asked for an explanation of what was going on underground so that she could better understand whether the translucent glass blocks were really necessary or not. Mr. Buckley showed drawings, pointing out the mezzanine spaces that would benefit from the two east and west skylights and the lower atrium space, the major public space of the museum, which would receive natural light from the glass blocks. There was a discussion about the need for natural versus artificial lighting , and Ms. Zimmerman was not sure the large, 30-foot-high atrium would receive much benefit from the translucent light filtering down.
Mrs. Nelson said she, too, had trouble with the glass blocks because they contradicted the feeling of being in a plaza. She also commented on the security issue, saying that it should be worked out in the design phase and not be thought of as an add-on, which might destroy the quality of the design. Mr. Rybczynski also had a negative feeling about the glass blocks, feeling that they recalled similar blocks over basements in New York City. He thought they were too utilitarian, and he said that the pavilions themselves should be the skylights. He did not find the two triangular skylights to be such oppressive elements. The Vice-Chairman agreed, and he thought the design of the pavilions had come a long way. He said he was curious about Judge Wagner’s comments on the emergency vehicle access. Mr. Buckley addressed that, saying that the pathways east and west of the pavilions could take all but the largest emergency vehicles, which could not be brought across the underground museum spaces because of the weight. He thought the courts should consider a solution for these, one that would not have to go across museum property; he said he had discussed this with the court’s architects. As for the security issues, he said they had been advised that this was a courts issue; the issues would have to be identified and they would have to coordinate with the courts, but security installations would not be an expense of the museum.
The Chairman then summarized the situation in light of the comments made. First he noted that NCPC had not seen this scheme but would be looking at it later in the month. The Commission of Fine Arts’ concerns included materials that hadn’t been seen yet, the security plan, the emergency vehicle issue, and the fact that the court’s architects had not yet seen the scheme, and wanted to have some time to respond, which he considered a reasonable request. His suggestion was that the Commission not take action at this time, but make the following comments: generally speaking, the Commission thought the attitude about the basic scheme was a good one and liked the idea of keeping the pavilions completely separate and minimizing them as much as possible, although there was real concern about the addition of planters in the plaza area that diminished the public space, and also about the glass block skylights in the middle of the plaza floor. The triangular skylights on the side as part of the planting area were seen as worthy of further development. These issues needed to be resolved, as did the one he considered most important–the series of steps at the street entrance which set up a circuitous route for the handicapped to approach the court on axis. He said he understood the grading problems, but he thought that although it would be allowable at the steeper steps leading to the building, doing it a second time was cause for concern. He said the leveling of the plaza was important, and the Commission would understand if another way to do it could not be found, but he thought it deserved further study. He asked that the courts be allowed to review the revised concept and that there be a full coordination between the two parties, with the results to be seen by the Commission next month.
C. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Mint
1. CFA 21/SEP/04-3, Fifty States commemorative quarter program for 2006. Design for South Dakota quarter. (Previous: CFA 19/FEB/04-2) Before the submission was introduced, the Chairman told the members that he had been very pleased to have the director of the Mint, Henrietta Holsman Fore, visit him in New York recently and discuss the Mint’s numismatic programs. He told her the Commission would be interested in talking to her about the options for new artists to be involved in these programs and would welcome her attendance at a meeting some time in the future.
Staff member Sue Kohler then introduced Barbara Bradford, Pam Borer, and Stacie Anderson from the Mint, and asked Ms. Anderson to present the designs for the South Dakota coin.
Ms. Anderson said this was the first quarter the Artistic Infusion Program artists had worked on; five of these artists and the Mint’s own sculptor-engravers had participated in developing the designs. She showed five designs: #1 depicted the Mount Rushmore Memorial; #2 the American bison, or buffalo; #3 the Chinese ring-necked pheasant; #4 a combination of the Mount Rushmore Memorial and the bison; and #5 a combination of the Mount Rushmore Memorial and the ring-necked pheasant. She said the state had submitted narratives for each design, and the artists had worked from those. (The Mint had decided previously that the artists working on the quarter program should no longer see visual concepts of the candidate designs.) There was unanimous approval for the bison, with some discussion as to whether the grass shown underneath the animal’s feet would be intelligible at coin size.
2. CFA 21/SEP/04-4, U.S. Marine Corps 230th Anniversary commemorative silver dollar. Designs. Barbara Bradford showed the obverse designs first, noting that designs #1- #3 and 5-8 were all variations of the photograph taken of the flag-raising at Iwo Jima; they were not based on the sculpture, as shown by the rocky base rather than the sculpture pedestal. Design #4 depicted a male and a female Marine Corps officer. She said that Marine Corps Heritage, the sponsoring agency, preferred #5 or #6.
For the reverse, #1 and #7 showed versions of the Marine Corps emblem, which included an eagle, globe and anchor; #7 showed the United States flag and the Marine Corps flag behind the emblem. Designs #2- #6 were all variations on a design supplied by the Marine Corps Historical Foundation, which was the work of a retired colonel, Avery Chenowith, and his son, Richard. Of all these designs, the sponsors preferred #2 or #5.
The members discussed the designs, and for the obverse preferred two that showed the raising of the flag– #7 or #8. As #7 was complicated by the circular lettering and ring of stars, #8 made a more favorable impression. For the reverse, either one of the designs showing the Marine emblem–#1 or #7–was considered acceptable, with the edge being given to #7 because of its clarity.
3. CFA 21/SEP/04-5, Chief Justice John Marshall commemorative silver dollar. Designs. Ms. Bradford showed the obverse designs first. She said designs #8 - #11 were based on a portrait of Chief Justice Marshall by Rembrandt Peale, and #7 and #12 were based on the bust of the William Story sculpture at the Supreme Court building. These were sent to the Supreme Court justices and their historical society, at which time Chief Justice Rehnquist asked the Mint to add some renditions of his favorite–a profile portrait of Marshall by Charles de Saint Memin. These were designs # 14- #20. There was a consensus that the profile portrait was indeed much better on a coin, and approval was given for #20, but using the organization of the graphics seen on #19. Mr. Rybczynski abstained, saying he was not ready to vote until he could see a reduction to coin size, as had been done with the other coins. Ms. Bradford said she would have that done immediately. (The reductions were sent to all the members, after which Mr. Rybczynski said he would agree with the recommendation made by the other members.)
Ms. Bradford showed eight designs for the reverse. Design #1 was an image of the restored old Supreme Court in the Capitol, the Supreme Court of Marshall’s day. Design #2 was the William Story statue in its entirety. Designs #3- #8 were all views of the present Supreme Court building; the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court Historical Society preferred that one of these be used. The Chairman thought #7 was the most powerful image, and the other members agreed. Mrs. Nelson had some questions about the oak leaves on either side, thinking they might get lost when reduced to coin size, but Mr. Rybczynski thought they at least contained the building image and kept it from bleeding off the coin. It was then agreed to recommend design #7 as presented.
D. General Services Administration
CFA 21/SEP/04-6, Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th Street, NW. Building modernization, renovation and security modifications–Phase I. Final. (Previous: CFA 18/SEP/03–by delegated approval) The Acting Secretary said that the goal of this phase of the EEOB modernization project was to upgrade the windows for blast protection, while preserving the appearance of this historic building next to the White House. He introduced Michael McGill of GSA to present the project.
The Chairman welcomed Mr. McGill and indicated that upon review of the submitted drawings, the Commission felt that the proposed double-hung windows would be an improvement on what was approved a year earlier and would preserve the historic character of the building. Mr. McGill said that GSA's historic preservation staff worked closely with the architect, Joseph Wells, to ensure that the historic character remain intact.
The proposal was unanimously approved by the Commission.
E. Department of Defense, Department of the Navy
CFA 21/SEP/04-7, Potomac Annex, 23rd and E streets, NW. Perimeter security upgrades at the North and South gates. Concept. Mr. Martinez said that this proposal was the first to be considered by the Commission for the Potomac Annex gates and if acceptable, the applicants would like for it to be considered for final as well as concept approval. He introduced Melissa Devnich from the Department of the Navy, who in turn introduced Mark Rengel, an architect with Einhorn Yaffee Prescott, to make the presentation.
The proposal was to replace two sets of swinging chain-link and barbed wire gates and a haphazard series of Jersey barriers with a more formalized ornamental gate and retractable vehicle barriers. The gates, located at the north and south entrances to the annex from 23rd Street, would match existing ornamental gates used by the Navy. They would open by swinging out onto 23rd Street and the vehicle barriers would be located behind the gates. There would be a pedestrian turnstile at each gate, designed in the same ornamental manner. Additionally, guard houses behind each gate would be replaced. Mr. Rengel said that the guard houses would match the existing structures in appearance, but would need to be completely rebuilt in order to conform with ballistic requirements.
The Chairman asked if movable bollards could be considered instead of the retractable vehicle barriers, as the barriers were very off-putting and created a siege-like condition. He also suggested that double gates, rather than turnstiles, would be appropriate for the Annex's prominent location and pointed out that nearby high-profile buildings such as the State Department and the White House refrained from using anything like the aforementioned devises for security. The basic design for the ornamental gate, however, was commended.
The consensus of the Commission was that, while the Navy's desire to establish effective and consistent security requirements across the board was understood, the Annex's location on the National Mall in the Capitol city made it imperative that a special, but no less secure, condition be established there. Indeed, this special condition should be applied within all of Washington, and the Chairman emphasized that the Commission had no wish to affect standards throughout the country or the world. He thanked Mr. Rengel and Ms. Devnich for their presentation and the Commission did not approve the project.
F. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
CFA 21/SEP/04-8, Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge, Capital Beltway/U.S. Interstate Highway 95-495 between Telegraph Road (Rte. 611, Virginia) and Indian Head Highway (Rte. 210 Maryland). Revised design for the Rosalie Island deckover. (Previous: CFA 15/JUL/04-4). The Acting Secretary noted that the proposed revisions had been circulated to the members and then introduced Robert Healy from the Maryland Department of Transportation, who in turn introduced the members of his design team.
Mr. Healy began with the Commission’s comments about the structural nature of the new bridge, and the request that the deckover pick up on this and that the structure be simplified. Mr. Healy said that because of previous commitments to a landscaped deckover, as well as construction schedules and budgetary constraints, they were unable to follow through on this in the way the Commission had requested, but he thought improvements had been made. He showed drawings, noting first that it was more “bridge-like”, expressing the structure, and the heavy concrete, fake stone wall on top had been replaced by a open vertical picket railing, actually more of an S-curve, similar to the railing in New York that had been used at Battery Park. The same railing would be used on the approaches. This open railing would allow views from the bridge of the landscaping on the deckover, which now included trees, and it would also open up views of the bridge and the river from the deckover. Lastly, Mr. Healy said they had simplified the landscape features. He pointed out also that small trees had been added on the deckover itself and on the approaches, thus giving the feeling of a continuous landscape from end to end, as the Commission had suggested.
Mr. Healy then showed three different treatments of the middle pier and end abutments.
He said they preferred the one showing a taller kind of pylon at each end, serving as anchor points, with the middle column stopping at the level of the superstructure banding. Another version showed three tall pylons, coming up to the top of the fence line. The third showed the abutments and the middle pier all stopping at the superstructure banding.
The Chairman asked about the stone used on the abutments and center pier and was told that it was not actual stone, but a stone pattern cast into the concrete and then stained to give it a more realistic color. Ms. Balmori thought the fake stone made the bridge look as though it was not well-designed structurally, and that it should be left as concrete, like the rest of the bridge. She liked the idea of the vegetation going across the bridge, but thought it could be designed in some way to make it appear more graceful. Ms. Zimmerman agreed, and she had some questions about the large black granite pylon between the lanes of traffic on which medallions taken from the old bridge and depicting Woodrow Wilson would be placed. There was a discussion of this pylon, but Mr. Lindstrom reminded the Commission that this was not part of the submission, that it had already been approved.
The Chairman commented on the landscaping on the deckover, noting that the people seemed to be confined to the center; he wondered if they could get over to the railing and look at the bridge and the views. Mr. Healy said it would be possible, but it would be necessary to cross several landscape features to do it. Mr. Childs then commented on the deckover itself, saying that it was a much more straightforward, honest expression of a double span. He recalled that he had objected before to the fake stone and thought that it would be better to take advantage of the plastic nature of concrete and put some interesting patterns in it when it was being formed. As for the different treatments of the abutments and center pier, he thought they should all be low, and for the center pier, he did not like the “stone” being carried above the span. He then asked Mr.Rybczynski for his views.
Mr. Rybczynski agreed that it would be much better if real stone could be used, but since that was not possible, he said he could live with the faux treatment; he commented that there would also be rather vast expanses of concrete within the approaches, because of the ramps, and also in the garden area below, and he thought some embellishment of the concrete was needed. Mrs. Nelson thought if the fake stone pattern was being used, it should not be dark, giving a two- tone effect, but close to the color of the concrete. The Chairman suggested planting something like Virginia creeper at the base of the abutments, center pier, and approach structures to soften their appearance.
To clarify the location of the ramps and the location of the retaining walls, as well as show changes to the landscaping, Mr. Healy asked landscape architect David Patterson to show his new plans. He said they would continue the concept of having the paths in the middle at a lower elevation and have the landscape rise towards the outside to give people a sense of enclosure. The main addition was the use of trees along the outside; he said they were thinking of using Japanese black pine and a Kousa dogwood, as well as sweet bay magnolia and some viburnum–species large enough to be visible from the roadway. He pointed out also ways that had been employed to give the continuous sweep of green from one side of the deckover to the other.
The members then discussed the wording of a motion that would grant final approval but expressing certain caveats. So as proposed by Ms. Balmori and seconded by the Vice-Chairman, it said first that the Commission thought the revised plans represented a vast improvement over the original submission and that the efforts to take the concerns into consideration were appreciated. As to the design proposals, the scheme without the vertical extensions at the ends and for the center pier was preferred, without the “stone” facing extension of the center pier above where the weight of the bridge came down. The fake stone facing for the abutments, approaches, and retaining walls was reluctantly approved, although a patterning more appropriate to concrete would be much preferred. The landscaping was much improved, although additional plantings at the ends of the deckover would give a more gracious appearance and reinforce the sweep of greenery from one side to the other. The motion was carried unanimously.
G. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
CFA 21/SEP/04-9, Anacostia Light Rail. Following the CSX rail alignment from Pennsylvania Avenue, SE to Bolling Air Force Base, South Capitol Street, SE. Concept. The Acting Secretary introduced John Thomas, project manager with Metro, to introduce the concept proposal for the Anacostia Light Rail Line.
Mr. Thomas said that a study of transit modes was conducted by the District of Columbia and Metro and one of the results of that study was that several corridors were identified as appropriate for new transit lines. One of those corridors was on the east side of the Anacostia River, from the Minnesota Avenue Metro station to the National Harbor Project in Maryland. This rail corridor had been used to deliver chlorine chemical tank cars to the Blue Plains Water Treatment Facility. This operation ceased after September 2001 because of the corridor’s adjacency to the Anacostia Naval Station and Bolling Air Force Base. The proposed light rail in this corridor would consist of 2.7 miles of single-track line with six station stops, including Pennsylvania Avenue, the Fairlawn neighborhood, the Anacostia Metro Station and Barry Farms.
Ed Riley, manager of architecture with Metro, presented the proposal in more detail. The main elements of the proposal would consist of a new yard facility and six station stops. Several of these elements would incorporate features that would identify them with Metro. The yard would be located between South Capitol Street and Interstate 295, just north of Bolling Air Force Base and St. Elizabeths Hospital. It would be enclosed by a simple decorative fence and the site would include a shop, entrance gate, guard house, parking area and emergency access road. The shop would be a two-story precast and brick building, since Metro yards have traditionally had brick buildings. It would include service bays for two rail cars, office space and mechanical space. The east elevation, which faces the highway, would have large translucent window areas to allow light in during the day and out at night. The west elevation, which would house the administrative spaces, would have clerestory windows.
The station stops would consist of a platform with catenary poles at either end, lighting fixtures and shelters. The catenary poles would be painted Metro brown and the platforms would be stained concrete with a precast edge of truncated dome tiles, similar in appearance to platforms within Metro rail stations. Signs would be incorporated in the lighting fixtures with signs that would cantilever from the light poles. Metal halide and fluorescent lighting would be used. The shelters would be made of stainless steel with a stainless steel framed map case. There would be a curved arch roof with stainless steel supports, a stainless steel bench and a precast base. The arches are intended to be reminiscent of the Metro escalator canopies.
Michael McBride, manager of the public art program at Metro, said that public art would be integrated into the six stations via the platform surfaces or the fences that will surround the platforms. He said that Metro intended to work with the communities along the rail line to incorporate art that will reflect the cultural and historic interests of each under the umbrella of a general theme, still to be determined.
The proposal was well received by the Commission, and they welcomed the overall concept of reintroducing light rail into the transit system. Ms. Nelson suggested that fluorescent lights in the shelters would have a "deadening" effect and that Metro should consider another lighting solution there. Perhaps, she said, lighting could be integrated into the public art program. She also asked if any advertising space would be available and was told that for the time being the only display would be a map. Ms. Nelson felt that the shelter roof required more design, as it seemed truncated and tentative, though she liked the base.
Ms. Balmori had some concerns about the shop's "two buildings in one" appearance and its fenestration, but found the concept in general acceptable. Ms. Zimmerman was supportive of the public art element, and suggested that artists be invited to participate as part of the early design process, particularly if the platform surfaces were to be used as public art space. It was preferable that the art be integrated early on, rather than added on later.
With those comments, the proposal was approved unanimously.
H. District of Columbia Department of Transportation
1. CFA 21/SEP/04-10, Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. On the east and west banks of the Anacostia River. Concept. The Acting Secretary introduced Jim Sebastian, Bicycle Program Manager of the D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT). Matt Martin, of T.Y. Lin International, made the actual presentation. Mr. Sebastian said in his brief introduction that the proposed Anacostia Riverwalk Trail was a key part of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative. The Riverwalk Trail would accomplish at least two goals; it would connect the neighborhoods with the river and it would close gaps in the existing regional trail system.
Mr. Martin said that the design team worked very closely with the National Park Service in the concept development of the trail. At the request of the Park Service, the landfill area, for which the Park Service was working on an EIS document, was omitted from the proposal. He defined the project limits in three sections; the first from South Capitol Street along the east side of the river up to Benning Road, the second from Benning Road to the Maryland connection into the Bladensburg Trail and the third from 11th Street at the Washington Navy Yard through the water to M Street along the RFK access road, past RFK Stadium to the Benning Road Bridge. Because of the construction schedule, only this last section, the western portion, would be discussed in the presentation.
In addition to connecting two endpoints, the object was also to integrate destination points, such as the Navy Yard promenade and Metro stations. Using a presentation board to illustrate, Mr. Martin highlighted the variations in the surrounding areas that trail users would experience. Starting in the Water and N Street areas, the atmosphere would be urban and somewhat industrial. A trail with facilities for pedestrians and cyclists would be created to separate those users from vehicular traffic. From N Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, where traffic volumes were relatively low, the trail would be shared with vehicular traffic, with a sidewalk for pedestrians. The crossing at the CSX railroad would be bordered with fencing. The space in the area of the RFK access road would become more open and vegetative, allowing for a connection to the Congressional Cemetery and for the creation of vistas and waysides. This higher elevation of this space would afford a good view of the river below.
The trail would circumvent the area by the RFK Stadium, since the Park Service was in the process of reestablishing natural meadows and woods. After that point there would be soft- surface pedestrian only areas that would radiate from the trail to the river and would also relate to Kingman Island. Other developments would include a pedestrian bridge over the CSX railroad, structural elements over Beaver Dam Creek and under the Amtrak and New York Avenue bridges that would connect to the Bladensburg Trail.
The proposal was enthusiastically received by the Commission. Ms. Balmori requested clarification on landfill area that the Park Service asked the designers to circumvent. Mr. Martin explained that part of the Park Service's NEPA process was the remediation of the landfill area and that part of the remediation would be to accommodate the trail. Any unfinished portion there as a result of cooperating with the Park Service would be completed later. The proposal was approved unanimously.
2. CFA 21/SEP/04-11, District of Columbia Streetlight Grand Plan, city wide. Guideline policy. Concept. The Acting Secretary introduced Colleen Smith Hawkinson, planner for the D.C. Department of Transportation, to make the presentation.
Ms. Hawkinson showed a digital slide show and highlighted the main elements of the proposed streetlight plan. Poles would be spaced at a minimum of 60 feet apart to avoid crowding and the lowest acceptable wattage according to AASHTO standards would be used. In residential areas, 400 wattages would be avoided. The context of the neighborhood would be taken into account for pole heights. Through the use of prismatic globes, the hoped for result would be a reduction of glare and enhancement of visibility. Metal halide was being considered to replace high-pressure sodium in order to get a clearer look. Various examples of lights were shown, including the Twin Twenty, the Washington Globe and decorative teardrops. Examples of poles and hardware shown as well.
The hardware selection would be based on the context and historical significance of the neighborhood. The three street designations assigned for locations were historic, special and non- historic. Historic indicated streets in designated historic areas, special streets were major thoroughfares, usually with connectivity to Maryland or Virginia, and non-historic were basically everywhere else. Ms. Hawkinson provided maps to illustrate the designations.
Within these street designations was a further breakdown of classification areas; commercial, intermediate or mixed-use, residential, bridges, alleys, freeways and tunnels. Charts were shown to indicated which types of lighting were being considered for each area within each designation. For example, the preference for a historic designations in a commercial area would be the Washington Globe on a black pole. Exempted locations would include business incentive districts, the Monumental Core, National Park Service land and Architect of the Capitol property. However, Ms. Hawkinson said that once developed, the guidelines would be shared with these jurisdictions.
In creating street designations and classification areas, DDOT staff understood that because these standards would overlap, depending upon the location, therefore the guidelines would allow for flexibility.
The Chairman said the Commission was very pleased that these guidelines for a city-wide street lighting plan were being developed. The fact that DDOT was willing to be flexible in terms of details such as pole colors for example, was commended. The plan as presented was very complex and closer analysis by the Commission would be needed. A site visit to inspect proposed lighting in situ was requested. The Chairman complimented DDOT on their efforts and thanked Ms. Hawkinson for her presentation.
I. District of Columbia Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services
1. CFA 21 SEP/04-12, Engine Company Number 15, 2101 14th Street SE. Second story addition, renovation and modernization. Final.
2. CFA 21 SEP/04-13, Engine Company Number 12, 2225 5th Street NE. Addition of Hazardous Material Unit Facility (HMUF) and modernization. Final.
Mr. Martinez said that several fire houses were submitted to the Commission for review. Of those submissions, two were proposing alterations major enough to warrant review by the Commission. He introduced Ralph Cyrus, project manager for the Capitol Projects for the Fire Department, to make the presentation.
There were approximately ten vehicles at Engine Company 15, and the community was requesting an additional ambulance. In order to accommodate space for an additional vehicle, a bay would be built in what was currently living quarters. A second floor would then be added and the living quarters would be moved upstairs. The second floor would contain expanded dormitories and locker rooms and dedicated facilities for female staff.
The proposal for Engine Company 12 was to expand the garage area and build two equipment bays for two additional HAZMAT units. Mr. Cyrus explained that in the summer, outdoor parking for some of their vehicles was adequate, but that in the winter, when it was preferable to have vehicles garaged, the space was insufficient. Concluding his presentation, Mr. Cyrus acknowledged the architect for Engine Company 15, Phil Cooper from Baker Cooper and Associates.
The Acting Secretary took a moment to compliment Mr. Cyrus on his work with the staff to review and implement needed upgrades as quickly and efficiently as possible. The Chairman thanked Mr. Cyrus for his presentation and the proposals for both fire houses were approved.
J. District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
1. Shipstead-Luce Act
a. S.L. 04-103, Washington International School, 3100 Macomb Street, NW. New library/academic building with two-level parking structure. Concept. Mr. Martínez introduced architect David Cox from Cox Graee + Spack to discuss his design for this addition to the school, after it was noted that the Commission had inspected the site on a pre- meeting tour.
Mr. Cox first remarked that the school occupied part of the Tregaron site, originally a private estate with a manor house designed in 1912 by Charles Platt. He pointed out on a site plan that the school occupied the far west side on the site on the highest elevation of Tregaron Hill, and that the site fell away in all directions except the west, and that it shared the western property line with the Taiwanese Embassy. He said the house and all the dependencies were sited on an east-west axis, along a carriage lane, and that a later building, a Russian dacha, had been added in the late 1940s. He said the dacha had obliterated a large part of an original garden. When the school bought the land in the 1980s, the manor house and all the dependencies had been converted to classroom and other academic uses. Two additional buildings had been constructed: a middle school, seen from the current entry drive coming up from Macomb Street, and most recently, in the early 90s, an arts and athletics building combining a gymnasium and a music and arts classroom in one structure. The old carriage lane had become the central academic walk, the main axis of circulation. There was also a service lane with parking at a low elevation, well-separated from the student area, plus the original service drive and parking area.
Mr. Cox then discussed his proposals for a new building that would contain a library, ten classrooms, and a black-box theatre with 330 seats; the theatre would be below ground. There would also be a new two-level parking structure between the old carriage house and the new arts and athletics building. Mr. Cox said that at first they had intended to make the academic and the library buildings two separate structures, but that idea was abandoned because of problems with viewsheds from the manor house. The final plan was to combine the two buildings and move them as far west as possible, away from the historic house; the theatre had always been planned as an underground structure.
The Chairman had some questions for Mr. Cox about the playing field, which Mr. Cox said had to be both lengthened and widened to make it a regulation soccer field. Because it now sloped downward, it would have to be regraded and raised slightly to allow the theatre 20 feet of height. He said service entry for the theatre would be through the lower level of the parking garage. At the north end the grade would be raised about 2 feet, with a low retaining wall, but at the south end it would be 6-7 feet higher, requiring a sizable amount of fill, which would be taken from the excavation for the new building. There would be two walls, with a landscaped berm between them, to avoid having one high, very visible wall. Mr.Cox said that in order to get the proper length, the field would have to extend another 45 feet to the south, then another 35 to accommodate the retaining walls and the berm between them. This would take it 80 feet beyond the present property line and would require negotiation with the current owners. The width would also have to increase, requiring the basketball court to be relocated. He noted that the retaining walls would be made from rubble stone, and if they could match the rugged causeway bridge stone, they would do that. He observed that there were a number of stone retaining walls throughout the site. The Chairman expressed his concern about how much earth would have to be moved and what further damage this would do to what was once a natural, hilly site. Mr. Cox said he realized that, but it was the only way to get a regulation field.
The discussion then turned to the architecture, with the Chairman noting that it was quite different from the more Georgian-style buildings surrounding it. Mr. Cox explained that to keep his building in context with the existing buildings, he would continue the use of red brick, a cast stone material and slate roofs, but he would combine this with a water table of rubble stone. For the south elevation, facing the long playing field, he had chosen to use bookend gables at either end for the two-story classroom section with a regular rhythm of vertical piers and large windows to take advantage of the south light. The library then turned to fill the space between the arts and athletics building and the gardener’s cottage, stepping down toward the cottage, and with its facade on the academic walkway, thus becoming part of the main east-west axis. An open area would be left between the library and the cottage, a section of it covered by a pergola, so that the new building did not block access from the academic walkway to the playing field.
The Chairman asked the members for their comments on the building first. Mr. Rybczynski said he was curious why the architectural style was related to collegiate Gothic rather than Georgian. Mr. Cox said that was a hard question for him to answer; perhaps it was his wish to move into a more collegiate Gothic atmosphere, but it also enabled him to get away from the simple punched windows of the Georgian style and play up larger areas of glass. The Chairman recalled, however, that Mr. Cox had talked about tying all the disparate elements together along the academic walk, and so he might want to look more closely at the vocabulary of the buildings on the site and also at a different way of treating the areaway between the library and the gardener’s cottage. Other than these comments, he thought the scale issues had been addressed and seemed to be generally right.
Mr. Childs then asked for comments about the landscape, beginning with Ms. Balmori. She felt the main problem was that this was an incredibly contoured site, and to make a flat plane out of it went against its very nature. She thought the building fit in quite well, but the fact that the playing field had to be raised as well as both widened and lengthened was making it the major feature of a site whose attractiveness was based on the enormous changes of level within it. Ms. Zimmerman commented on the number of dead trees in the area, trees that had probably died because their roots had been smothered by previous site work, and she suggested that a tree expert be hired. Mr. Cox said they had a landscape architect they were working with, and the Chairman thought it would be useful to have a report from this firm as part of the next presentation. He thought another site visit was necessary, with the size of the field and the new height staked out. That was agreeable to everyone, and Mr. Childs told Mr. Cox to proceed on that basis, developing some elevations and more details about landscaping and the solution around the basketball court adjacent to the playing field, as well as responding to the comments about the architecture.
b. S.L.04-081, Tregaron (The Causeway), 3100 Macomb Street, NW (alternative address 3029 Klingle Road, NW). Plan for planned unit development. Revised concept. (Previous: S.L. 04-036, 19 February 2004). The Acting Secretary said this submission was for a revised concept for the development of part of the Tregaron estate. He said the Commission had received comments from the community, the Historic Preservation Review Board, and others on the design reviewed in February; although the Commission had approved the concept, it had been rejected by the HPRB and the plan reworked to comprise only nine houses. This was the plan to be presented at this meeting. He introduced Cynthia Giordano from Arnold & Porter and architect Craig Curtis from the Miller Hull Partnership and asked Ms. Giordano to begin the presentation.
Ms. Giordano recalled the rejection of the sixteen-house plan in response to “unwavering opposition” by the ANC and the Friends of Tregaron. In the new proposal, the road proposed to branch off from the existing causeway–which seemed to be the focus of the HPRB’s concern– had been eliminated and some of the houses accessed off Klingle Road. Because there would now be street frontage, the project would be a matter-of-right development rather than a planned unit development. She noted that although Klingle Road was not passable at present, there was a city Council resolution to reopen the road.
Ms. Giordano described the proposal briefly, saying there would be nine houses sharing four driveways. The amount of impervious surface had been minimized as much as possible to minimize runoff of storm water, and as in the previous proposal, the houses had been tucked into the hillside. One benefit of the new plan was that the houses would be less visible from the historic buildings on the site because they would be tucked into the hillside from a different direction. She said the architects were eminently suitable for this project because it was all about environment-sensitive design, and the firm was the recipient of several Green Buildings award from the AIA. She then asked architect Craig Curtis to continue the presentation.
Mr. Curtis said he was happy to be back and was still excited about the project, remaining confident that it could be implemented in a way that would respect the historic nature of the site. The Chairman said there was some disappointment on the Commission that many of the aspects of the first proposal, which were quite innovative and interesting, would not come to fruition, but he commented that many of the environmental concerns outlined before were still there, and he would like to concentrate on those and on the question of views from the historic buildings.
Mr. Curtis began a PowerPoint presentation by showing the previous scheme and one done after the rejection that had ten houses and no new road. It, too, was rejected as not being significantly different; they were asked to develop a new scheme with access from Klingle Road. Although this was a more traditional way of access, he was confident that the architecture could still be exciting and environmentally responsible. He said they were down to nine houses, seven along Klingle Road and the two previously approved entered from Macomb Street. The roofs of
50 percent of the houses would be planted as green roofs, and with the removal of the new road shown in the first scheme, and the minimizing of the number of driveways and curb cuts, they were down to only 4 percent of the site covered with impervious materials. He said they had hired a civil engineer and had looked at construction methods that would enable them to save as many trees as they had indicated on the drawings–something that many people had doubted could be done. They had made a serious study of the storm water runoff problem and were considering such things as rain gardens, biofiltration swales, and storm-retention vaults, and they would get into more details of the grading with their consultants, Oehme Van Sweden, in October. He showed a section model to explain how the houses would be sited into the hillside and how they would be entered.
Ms. Balmori asked if they had overlapped their plan with the original plan for the estate grounds done by Ellen Shipman to see what areas of the original plan would be touched. Mr. Curtis said they had done that; their development would be in what was called the Wild Garden. He said the aspect of her plan that would be impacted most would be the bridle trails throughout the property; he said they would restore the trails as much as possible and open them to the public with interpretive panels showing what the original appearance of the garden was and giving a history of the site.
Mr. Curtis said that even though the project had been scaled back, they were making a commitment to try to address the entire property. He showed a map, pointing out the area that would be in private ownership and the larger area that would be deeded through an easement or trust or given to an organization such as the Friends of Tregaron. They would also make a commitment to clean up the pond, which had become completely silted over. There was further discussion of the possible ownership of the property, and then the Chairman asked Sally Blumenthal to give the members an idea of the Park Service’s thoughts on the project.
Ms. Blumenthal commented first that the Park Service had been involved with this project through its many iterations, and she noted the importance of this historic landscape, saying specifically that this project would be located not only on the steepest slope on the property but in the Wild Garden, one of the most significant components of the historic landscape. Also, while the houses would be less visible from the manor house, they would not be less visible from the public way. She then talked about the condition of Klingle Road, saying that the Park Service would prefer that it not be paved and opened to traffic, but that it be returned to a natural valley with a trail condition so that the enormous storm water runoff that ended up in Rock Creek and severely affected the park could be at least somewhat alleviated. She said the Park Service was concerned about this development because of the possibility for adding even more runoff into the public realm.
The next speaker was Bonnie LePard, president of the Friends of Tregaron. She agreed with Ms. Blumenthal about the dangers of more runoff with this project, even more than were present with the previous scheme, and she said that because the new houses would actually affect some of the site features listed on Tregaron’s entry in the National Register, her organization was in opposition to the project.
Ms. Balmori said it would be very useful if the Commission could have the original plan for Tregaron, overlapped with the current proposal. Ms. LePard said she would be happy to furnish this, as well as historic photographs. There was a discussion with Ms. Blumenthal about how the District government was going to go about the process of reconstructing and paving Klingle Road and with the architect about their ways of managing water runoff.
The Chairman then opened the Commission’s discussion of the proposal. He said it was a dilemma for him: he observed that even though the Friends of Tregaron had been in existence for thirty years, the historic landscape had been largely lost during that time. If this project were approved, more of it would be lost, but if it were not approved, the deterioration of the entire site would still continue to get worse; at least with this architect and his environmental concerns there would be some stabilization of the erosion. He asked for other comments.
Ms. Balmori said that this kind of landscape, with its very abrupt contours, could only take a certain amount of weight, and the school had nearly exceeded that limit. She hoped that some parts would be taken over by a trust, and the school could keep its space, but no further development should take place. She thought it was a very valuable landscape, one of the few large pieces left of Ellen Shipman’s work, and she noted that the Commission had never even been shown her original plans.
Mrs. Nelson thought that in a major city such as Washington, where land was running out, there would continually be pressures for development. She thought the architect for this project was a very good and sensitive one, and since in a next round the Commission might not be so lucky, she would approve the concept. She observed that in just saying no to any development, a choice was being made to condone further neglect. Ms. Zimmerman also said that, given the terrible condition of the landscape at this time, and the concern of the architect for the environment, she would support approval of the concept. Mr. Rybczynski said he had not yet been convinced of the landscape’s former greatness, that he had not been shown much evidence, and could only note its deplorable condition at present. He said he had been really impressed by the architect’s presentation, but he wondered what developer could afford to build it and if there really was a market for houses such as these that would undoubtedly be very expensive. If it was economically feasible, he thought this was the time to do it, as nobody else would come forward.
The Chairman closed the discussion by saying that if there was a motion to approve the revised concept, with the stated concerns and commitments, he thought the Commission could endorse the concept, pending the architect’s ability to follow it through in subsequent review stages. Ms. Balmori said she would like to add that dealing with the water problem would require full site engineering, and the Chairman said he would agree with that. She also commented that since there was very little protection afforded to historic landscape, there should be an offer to restore some part of this landscape before the Commission could approve the proposals. Ms. Zimmerman agreed, and she thought perhaps the Commission could suggest that all those involved with this site should start talking to each other.
The Vice-Chairman said he agreed with the general direction of the discussion and thought it would be a shame to leave this landscape in ruins. He said he was impressed with the architect’s presentation and, noting that this would not be a final, but only a concept, approval, said he would be willing to make a motion that, subject to Ms. Balmori’s request for further study of the water problem and a presentation by Oehme Van Sweden on their proposals for the landscape, the Commission would approve the revised concept. The Chairman recalled that there had been a good presentation by an environmental engineer during the earlier presentation, and he might be called upon again. He thought this was the time to do as much restoration as the developer would undertake, beyond the restoration of the pond and the bridle paths, because if the remaining property were transmitted to a non-profit organization, it would be unlikely they would have the money to do it. Mr. Childs also asked for a submission of the original landscape plans at the next submission, and at Ms. Zimmerman’s suggestion, testimony by the District’s Department of Transportation as to their plans. With these additional requests, Mr. Powell’s motion to approve the revised concept was seconded by Ms. Zimmerman and then carried unanimously.
c. Appendix II. The Shipstead-Luce appendix was approved
2. Old Georgetown Act
a. O.G. 04-226, 3502 Winfield Lane, NW. New single family townhouse. Concept. Mr. Martinez said that the house proposed for Winfield Lane would be part of a development known as the Cloisters. The Old Georgetown Board reviewed the concept and recommended that the building height be lowered as much as possible. The front facade should relate more to the neighboring houses on Winfield Lane and the 35th Street facade should be studied further, as should the arrangement of windows on the rear facade. With those recommendations, the Board approved the concept.
The Chairman said that a full presentation would not be necessary, as the members had reviewed the submitted materials carefully. To summarize, three sides of the house would be visible with the most exposed side facing 35th Street at the entrance to Winfield Lane. Details would relate more to the windowed houses and to the treatment of the 35th Street facade.
The Chairman said the concept, as presented, would fit in with the site. Mr. Rybczynski said that he thought the facades could be simplified, and other members agreed. The architect, Paul Davis, asked if the design should be simplified overall, or if, as previously recommended, each elevation should be tailored to its respective streetscape. The Chairman replied that the facades need not "change gears" towards whichever street they would face. With those comments, the proposal was approved.
b. Appendix I. Several items were removed from the appendix at the request of the applicants and one item, O. G. 04-232, 3124 Q Street NW, was discussed at the meeting. For a record of this discussion, see the transcript for the 21 September 2004 Commission of Fine Arts meeting, pp. 288-296.
The remainder of the Old Georgetown appendix was approved unanimously. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:51 p.m.
Frederick J. Lindstrom