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. 2000l.
Hon. Pamela Nelson, Vice-Chairman
Hon. Diana Balmori
Hon. John Belle
Hon. Witold Rybczynski
Hon. Elyn Zimmerman
Mr. Thomas E. Luebke, Secretary
Mr. Frederick J. Lindstrom, Assistant Secretary
Ms. Sue Kohler
Mr. Jose Martinez
Ms. Kristina N. Penhoet
Ms. Susan Raposa
National Capital Planning Commission staff present:
Mr. David Hamilton
Ms. Christine Saum
Ms. Nancy Witherell
(Due to the absence of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman Pamela Nelson chaired the meeting.)
Approval of minutes of the 16 June meeting. The minutes were approved without objection.
Dates of next meetings, approved as:
21 July 2005
Report on the Department of Justice 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor and the submission by the Department of Heraldry. The Secretary noted that on 7 July the Commission had received a request from the Army's Institute of Heraldry to review the Department of Justice's 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor, which was authorized in December 2004 under Section 124 of Public Law 108-447, after having been in the proposal stage for several years. The law stipulated that the final design was to be approved by the Attorney General after consultation with the Commission of Fine Arts, but by the time the designs were submitted to the Commission, the Attorney General had already made his selection. Furthermore, because of the tight production schedule, it was requested that the Commission give its advice within two days of receiving the designs. Under these circumstances, and particularly in regard to vacation schedules, it was impossible to set up a formal public review, and so the staff made the determination to inform the Department of Justice and the Institute of Heraldry of the situation and not to express any formal opposition to the design. Mr. Luebke said he regretted the missed opportunity for the Commission to give its advice on this very important award honoring the heroes of 9/11. He noted for the record the letter which had been sent to the Justice Department and the Institute of Heraldry and circulated to the members. He asked for any comments.
The members discussed the symbolism on the medal and were of the unanimous opinion that it was a very poor design. Mr. Belle thought it was particularly regrettable because the event it commemorated could not have been a more important one, and the Commission was not given the chance to comment on the design of the medal awarded to its heroes. A motion was made saying that the Commission had seen the medal, without comment, and did not approve it. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Staff member Sue Kohler asked to comment. She said she understood from a Mint representative that the Mint fully expected to be involved in the design of any 9/11 medals, and she was quite surprised to hear of the arrangement with the Department of Justice and the Institute of Heraldry.
Introduction of consent calendar for non-controversial submissions. Mr. Luebke said that following recent discussions on the running of the Commission's meetings, the staff was proposing to create a consent calendar for submissions that could be delegated to the staff with certain parameters. These would include such things as applications for small building additions, antennas, window replacements, replacements in kind, etc. He noted that he had distributed guidelines to the members for their comments. In every case, a member could request that any of these items be pulled off the consent calendar and put on the agenda for discussion. Also, any item the staff deemed controversial would not be placed on the consent calendar. He pointed out that this arrangement would provide a way to track the submissions delegated to the staff; such items would be placed on the agenda after the administrative items but before the discussion items.
The Vice-Chairman said she wanted to be sure that this was a revocable change, and Ms. Balmori said it would be important that the Commission have ample notice so that a member could request that an item be pulled from the consent calendar and placed on the agenda for discussion. Mr. Luebke said there would be a week's notice, and he said again that if there appeared to be any question, the item would not be placed on the consent calendar.
The Assistant Secretary noted at this point that if the proposal to adopt a consent calendar was passed, the Commission would modify its rules and regulations. He said he would check this, noting that the Commission's sister agencies had similar arrangements. Mr. Luebke said he would get back to the members within the next few weeks to let them know if it would be reasonable to institute the calendar for the September meeting.
Mrs. Nelson noted a consensus for approval for Mr. Luebke to move ahead on this proposal, and she thought it would help the Commission focus on the really important agenda items.
Submissions and Reviews
National Park Service
CFA 21/JUL/05-1, American Veterans Disabled for LIFE Memorial. Square 580, Washington Avenue (Canal Street), 2nd and C streets, SW. Information presentation on revised concept and sculptural elements. (Previous: CFA 18/MAR/04-1).
Mr. Luebke said that when the design for this memorial was last seen, the Commission had asked for further refinements to the proposed scheme. The present submission was intended as an information presentation to describe the progress that had been made in the design, but more specifically inform the new members of the direction being taken in regard to the sculptural component and the quotations. A full design review was expected in the fall, perhaps in October. He said the presentation would be made by the landscape architect, Michael Vergason, and the sculptor, Larry Kirkland, and noted the presence of John Parsons from the Park Service, who was asked to begin.
Mr. Parsons first recalled that the memorial was authorized by Congress in 2000 and the site selected in 2001; it was approved in that same year by the Commission. There was a design competition, which was won by Michael Vergason, whose preliminary design was presented to the Commission in March and June of 2004. The Commission members were encouraged by what they saw but asked for some simplification. He said the purpose today was to get the Commission's reaction to the sculptural proposals, but he asked Mr. Vergason to speak briefly about the design refinements.
Mr. Vergason summarized the changes. The water elements and the fire had been consolidated into one element; the enframement of the fire by a star that would be embedded in the reflecting pool, thus locking all the pieces together and providing the basic structural organization for the memorial. He said he would return with details later on. Turning to the sculpture, he described the artist, Larry Kirkland, as being Washington-based but with a national reputation, and he observed that Mr. Kirkland's involvement in the project had extended far beyond these sculptural pieces, that he had become an integral part of the design team and had had a significant influence on the basic organization and character of the memorial site. He would present developing thoughts about four pieces for the memorial that would be associated with the translucent glass walls-three on the eastern wall and one on the north wall. At the same time, progress had been made on the content of the proposed inscriptions on these walls; the intent at this point was to dedicate the northern wall to comments expressing gratitude towards the veterans and the southern wall to the voices of the veterans themselves. Mr. Vergason then asked Mr. Kirkland to continue the presentation.
Mr. Kirkland first described what a humbling experience it had been to see and talk with the veterans and hear them describe their sense of loss. He commented then on the view of the Capitol from the memorial, and how important that was as a reminder to Congress of the human consequences of going to war. Noting that this memorial was not just about our current conflicts but all those going back to the Revolutionary War, he started thinking about an even earlier time, the period of classical Greek sculpture, and this was what had inspired the form of his sculptures. They would be cast in bronze, like the ancient figures, and with their limbs missing, endeavoring to suggest this sense of loss. With ever more women entering active service, one figure would represent a woman. The figures would be placed behind the 8-to-9-foot glass walls, with marble walls behind the sculpture.
Mr. Kirkland showed examples of his early studies, some quite representational and others more abstract; he said the veterans preferred the more realistic versions, but Ms. Zimmerman applauded his attempts to move away from a too literal representation, saying that some degree of abstraction could over time become just as powerful a way of conveying emotion and feeling. He said they would use computer technology to help arrive at the final form, and while Mrs. Nelson thought that could be helpful, she thought the artist's hand had to remain paramount. Ms. Balmori suggested that combining both realistic and abstract elements in one piece-the literal representation of the loss of a limb combined with the abstraction of a headless body-could suggest that the person had literally lost his head. Mr. Rybczynski thought it would be possible to combine realistic and abstract elements; the combination of the two might make it easier for people to see the link between them.
Mr. Belle asked for more information on the relationship of the quotes to the sculpture. Mr. Kirkland said they had collected about 700 quotes but had not yet decided which to use. One wall would be devoted entirely to veterans' stories, and he commented on the emotional effect of reading these and the importance of relating texts to sculpture as much as possible. Another wall could contain statements of gratitude for the sacrifices these veterans had made.
Mr. Vergason then described the walls and the way the quotes would be placed on them in more detail. He said the glass would be laminated, and the inscriptions would occur within the lamination, so that the outside would be smooth. There would be five layers of lamination and the inscriptions would be placed within different layers; the number and the density would have to be worked out later. Mr. Belle observed that the sculptural forms and the words really could not be separated, and the artist would have to involve himself with both. Mr. Kirkland said he had and would continue to be involved, and Mr. Vergason repeated his statement that Mr. Kirkland had become more than just the artist, that he was really a member of the design team.
Mrs. Nelson observed that the site, given the very heavy traffic around it, could be difficult for disabled people to enter, and it should become a model of accessibility. She asked how this would be achieved. Mr. Vergason said they had been very conscious of this problem and had made two changes since the Commission had last seen the design. One was the elimination of any grade change or stairs. The second was the expansion of the special-needs parking on C Street so that it would run along the entire length of the realigned C Street.
Mr. Rybczynski said he was not on the Commission when the memorial was first reviewed, but his impression at this point was that it was very complicated and there was no clear hierarchy of the elements. He thought the sculptures were essential and he liked them, but he thought they could get lost because they did not have an important place. There were too many elements - fire, a star, water, two kinds of walls, writing, sculpture, landscaping - but there was no clear hierarchy.
It was noted that the design had been simplified and Ms. Balmori thought it was stronger, but she agreed that it needed to be stripped down further, as Mr. Rybczynski had suggested. She was especially critical of the walls and she wondered what was considered most important-the marble, the glass, or the sculptures; she thought the sculptures would win out in the end over the text and everything else.
Mr. Vergason said they considered the fire and the reflection of the Capitol in the reflecting pool the most important things in the memorial. He agreed that they might have to quiet things down around these elements, but they had been the focus of the memorial from the beginning.
A discussion of the water in the pool followed - was it quiet enough so that the Capitol reflection could really be seen-and of details of the construction of the pool, the weir, the black granite bottom, etc.- details which Mr. Vergason would be discussing when he brought the design back in the fall.
Mrs. Nelson reminded everyone that this submission was really about the sculpture, but she told Mr. Vergason that the Commission considered this a very important memorial and the members were interested in all aspects of it. As this was an information presentation, no action was required, but Mr. Kirkland was encouraged to develop his sculpture in the direction he had shown, and Mr. Vergason was asked to keep the members' comments in mind as he further refined his design concept.
CFA 21/JUL/05-2, Lincoln Memorial Circle, perimeter security barriers on east side. Revised concept. (Previous: CFA 16/JUN/05-4).
Mr. Luebke summarized that there had been a concerted effort over the past several months on the part of the agencies involved to arrive at an acceptable solution for the security barriers at the Lincoln Memorial, which had proved to be a very difficult design problem. He acknowledged the dedication and patience of all the participants, and noted that the most recent proposal, put forth at the Commission's June meeting, "located the central portion of the security barrier at the bottom of the stairs below the Memorial Circle roadway at the level of the Reflecting Pool."
At this meeting the Commission would see three schemes for the actual location of the bollards and their relationship to the stairs, as well as proposals for security barriers at the level of the Memorial Circle roadway which would connect the retaining wall around the periphery of the circle to the stairs. He recalled that at the last meeting the Commission asked to see two locations for these barriers, one defining the new central plaza, and the other farther out, where French and Bacon drives intersected the circle. Mr. Luebke closed by saying that if the location of the bollards was decided at this meeting, the Park Service would like to have more direction on their shape, color, and design. He then introduced John Parsons from the Park Service.
Mr. Parsons showed a brief PowerPoint presentation which outlined the Park Service's new scheme for terminating the retaining wall short of the handicapped ramp to avoid the difficult solution of how to join the two. He said this would return the wall to the way it was approved three years ago. Then he showed how bollards would be placed from the wall across French and Bacon drives, following the outer curb line of the roadway to the plaza, where the security barrier would become a cable-stayed fence between rows of shrubbery parallel to the steps; finally, to a line of bollards across the approach to the memorial, at the level of the Reflecting Pool. He showed three alternatives for adjusting the width of the grass panel and the paved areas where the bollards crossed the approach to maintain an open feeling at the base of the stairs while still allowing room for Park Service emergency and maintenance vehicles to pass through. Mr. Parsons then completed his PowerPoint by showing several possible designs.
Mrs. Nelson thanked Mr. Parsons for his presentation and then said she would like to ask each member for comments on each option. She asked landscape architect Diana Balmori to begin. Ms. Balmori said she had gone to the Memorial earlier in the morning because she had been thinking about the security barrier problem since the June meeting. As she looked at the entire composition she realized what a strongly linear one it was, from the opening in the Memorial revealing the sculpture of Lincoln, down the steps, along the Reflecting Pool, and ending finally at the Washington Monument. She thought extending the plaza with two arms ending at French and Bacon drives diminished that linear feeling. She said she would prefer bollards rather than the cable fence and shrub arrangement down the stairs, and she said that wherever the bollards were placed, the primary consideration should be to strengthen the linear composition.
Mr. Rybczynski said he liked the idea of stopping the wall back from the ramps and avoiding the complexity of coping with that junction. He said he was hoping that the line of bollards along the curb could be broken up with benches and perhaps other elements, as had been discussed before. He agreed with Ms. Balmori's comments about linearity and also about the negative effect of extending the plaza with curved wings which were only a part of an old roadway that would never be used again. The monument was being changed, and he would suggest just getting rid of the road and replacing it with grass. He did not mind the use of the cable fence and shrubs along the steps; he thought a mixture of security devices was a good idea. He thought the Park Service's Option 3 was the best of the three, but he said he was not persuaded by any of the bollard designs. He did not think that all of them had to be the same, and he said he would like to see as much design work on the bollards as had been expended on the wall, the ramps and their connections. In regard to not using the benches and other elements along the curb, Mr. Parsons said these element had to be crash-proof, and they would have to be very bulky and unattractive to meet standards.
Ms. Zimmerman agreed with Ms. Balmori about the curving extension of the central plaza, and she thought that if they had to be there and could not be replaced with grass, they could at least be made of a material different from that used for the plaza. Mrs. Nelson commented that it could even be asphalt. Secondly, Ms. Zimmerman said that there had to be some guarantee that if the cable fence and shrubs were used, the Park Service would maintain the shrubs. Mr. Parsons said they would do it on a contract basis as they had done in other places. Ms. Zimmerman said that would make a big difference in the appearance, and she thought it was actually a good idea to have an alternative to bollards in some places.
Mr. Belle said he thought that this was a situation in which the better solution was the more complex one, not the simpler. With that in mind, he said there were some ways in which Option 3 could be made more acceptable to him, the first being the same as had been expressed by the other members-that the paving material for the plaza wings had to be different from that of the plaza. Secondly, he thought there had to be a solution other than bollards for the steps because of the slope, so he thought there was no choice but to go with some kind of soft green hedge, well maintained, with a security device buried in it. His third comment was that there was no reason why the bollards all had to have the same design. For example, in the long line in front of the Reflecting Pool the bollards across the center section should be the least intrusive, the simplest in design. Those in front of the grass panels could be something different as could those in front of the side steps. He urged that the design for the bollards be put in the hands of a skilled designer who could break down the idea that this was a fence in front of the approach steps to the memorial.
Mrs. Nelson commented on the exceptionally large number of bollards to be installed and thought that Mr. Belle was correct when he said that the design should vary; she thought even the color should vary; for example, those across the road should blend in with the color of the pavement. The important thing was that they be out of the visitor's vision as much as possible. She thought a designer should be brought in, perhaps through a design competition or perhaps consulting landscape architect Laurie Olin to get his advice and participation. She liked the idea of a change in plane for the line of bollards across the center section, but she did not think bollards going down the steps was the way to go in that area.
Ms. Balmori asked Mr. Parsons if a balustrade had ever been considered for the step area; he said they had discussed that with the Commission some time ago and it was not considered acceptable as it would alter the original design of the steps - which had no railings - too drastically. Mr. Parsons commented at this point that the Planning Commission had never agreed that the plaza concept was worth studying, and he said they had a major decision to make soon because the project was under construction. He said it would be helpful if this commission could make a motion now that would at least allow them to move ahead. Ms. Balmori made the motion, saying that generally, Option 3 was the preferred one, with the bollards across the center section of the long line in front of the Reflecting Pool changing plane to allow more distance between the steps and the bollards. To strengthen the intended linearity of the whole composition, the design of the plaza should not be treated the same as the curved parts of the roadway at each side, and the material of these curved areas should be differentiated from that of the plaza. The security devices going down the side steps should not be bollards but some other kind of security device, perhaps a wire cable, concealed by well-maintained shrubbery. Lastly, the design of the bollards should be given to a good designer and they should not all be of the same design; especially, the design of those going across the central stairs should be differentiated from the rest. The motion was seconded by Ms. Zimmerman, but the vote was postponed to listen to the comments of Judy Feldman, Chairman of the National Coalition to Save Our Mall.
Ms. Feldman thought the discussions at this meeting and those of the past few years indicated how complex it was to try to secure this memorial because of its artistic and symbolic qualities and its role as the western terminus of the Mall. She thought Ms. Balmori's comments on the strong linearity of the Lincoln Memorial composition were well taken and that Mr. Belle's suggestions about different types of bollards were interesting, but she wondered if it might not be the sides rather than the front of the memorial that needed the heavier security elements. She commented on a recent GAO report that pointed out that there was no real unified capability of approaching security on the Mall because of the lack of a unified management. She noted that it also recommended consultation early and often. In regard to the Commission meetings, she thought it would be helpful to have boards on display with different options, perhaps even some from the past, and not have to rely on memory.
Finally she commented that the present approach to security was based on decisions made following the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Park Service was doing what it had been told, and that was to secure the icons. But she noticed that the new Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, had come out with a different philosophy about establishing priorities, and she wondered if it might be useful to let him know of the complexity of the issues having to do with the Mall, and ask whether in the long term the stone icons were really our security priority or whether other things he had been stressing, such as ships and people, were not really more important, and perhaps we were not really securing our monuments in the way we should be.
Mrs. Nelson thanked Ms. Feldman, saying she had made some good points. A vote was then taken on Ms. Balmori's motion regarding the Lincoln Memorial; it was carried unanimously.
Department of the Treasury, U.S. Mint
CFA 21/JUL/05-3, Reverse design for the platinum proof bullion coin for 2006, 2007, and 2008. (Previous: CFA 15/APR/04-2, 2005 coin)
Staff member Sue Kohler said the Commission would see designs for the reverse of this coin for the next three years, noting that the obverse always remained the same, while the reverse changed each year. Because the members were not familiar with the obverse, designed in 1996, she showed a photograph, noting that it was a bust of the Statue of Liberty designed by veteran Mint artist John Mercanti. Barbara Bradford, the Mint representative present to show the reverse designs, said Mr. Mercanti had been with the Mint for thirty years. The members praised his design and wished that he could do some of the reverse designs.
Ms. Kohler then asked Ms. Bradford to show the current offerings. She said coin collectors always liked to see changing reverses grouped in a series, such as the earlier "Vistas of Liberty" used for this coin, and so the Mint had decided to have a series dedicated to the three branches of government-Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. She began with a board showing ten designs for the Legislative branch, saying that there might be some change in the inscriptions for historical correctness. She also noted that two of the artists had decided to do a three-coin series, with each coin having one or two elements tying them together. All were based on classical motifs-eagles, olive branches, scrolls-and most received a classical interpretation. The members had received the designs in their pre-meeting packages and so were familiar with them. The general feeling was that nearly all of them had too many design elements, which made them unsuitable for anything smaller than the large one-ounce coin. Ms. Bradford said the coin was produced in four sizes, according to weight, and was shown on the drawings in one corner in both the actual size of the one ounce version and in the smallest, one-tenth ounce version. (The one-tenth ounce coin would be slightly smaller than a dime.)
Ms. Balmori began the discussion of the 2006 reverse. She felt that after looking at all of the designs, L3 and L4 were the only ones that would be legible at the size of the smallest coin, and L4 only because the images-eagle, shield, and scroll-were recognizable. Mr. Rybczynski also selected L3, which was just an eagle's head, the word "Legislative," and a small scroll and pen, because of its strength and large size. Mrs. Nelson selected L6, but would eliminate the columns and eagles on each side of the figure of "The Legislative Muse." Mr. Belle also liked L3, but would consider L7, which featured the figure of Freedom atop the Capitol dome and L10, with an eagle perched on a bar and scroll with crossed oak and olive branches. Ms. Zimmerman said she really did not like any of them, and she asked why they had to be inscribed with the word "Platinum", "1 oz.", etc. Ms. Bradford said that was part of the legislation, and the Mint was obligated to put these inscriptions on the coins.
The final decision was to recommend L3, with the eagle fleshed out a little so that it would not look like a line drawing when minted.
For the Legislative group there was a consensus that E6, a large bust of an eagle with the words "Preserve, Protect and Defend", would be the Commission's choice.
When Ms. Bradford turned to the 2008 Judicial branch designs, there was no enthusiasm for any of them; J-10 was mentioned for its clarity, but it did not get approval, and Mrs. Nelson asked Ms. Bradford if the Commission could see more designs for that year. Ms. Bradford said she would relate the Commission's request to her agency.
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
CFA 21/JUL/05-5, 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 for central plaza skylight. (Previous: CFA 17/FEB/05-5) Mr. Lindstrom announced that this submission had been postponed by the applicant until the September meeting.
(The Commission recessed for lunch at 11:52 a.m., and the meeting was resumed at 12:45 p.m.)
District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
S.L. 05-079, L'Enfant Plaza, 10th Street Promenade, SW. Three new mixed-used buildings including the National Children's Museum, Revised concept and landscape concept. (Previous: S.L. 05-030 CFA 17 Feb. 2005)
(Ms. Balmori recused herself from the discussion of this project because of her association with the architectural firm and left the room.)
Staff member Kristina Penhoet recalled that the last time the Commission had seen this project the overall massing of the buildings was approved and there was a request for further development, particularly of the Children's Museum entrance. This submission, however, would focus on the development of the other buildings. She introduced Fred Clark from the office of the architect, Cesar Pelli, to make the presentation, noting that afterwards there were two people who wanted to comment.
Mr. Clark said he wanted to focus on two issues: the exterior expression of the three new buildings-the materials and detailing-and the landscape concept. For the benefit of Mr. Belle, who had not been a member of the Commission during the previous discussions, he reviewed the development of L'Enfant Plaza in the 1960s and 70s by the firm of I.M. Pei, with Araldo Cossuta as the designer, and its important place in the city, noting the future development of L'Enfant Promenade, with a potential link to the Forrestal Building and ultimately the Mall. He noted the expectation that there could be a great deal of traffic from the Mall to the Promenade and eventually to Banneker Circle overlooking the river. He discussed the proposed development of this complicated, multi-tiered site, with its emphasis on bringing life to the plaza by adding above-ground retail easily reached by the on-site Metro station and a new roughly oval-shaped office building placed diagonally in the central space and containing the National Children's Museum in its lower levels, as well as two other new buildings (one for offices and the other residential), flanking the existing office and hotel structure.
Mr. Clark then discussed new developments not yet seen. First, he noted that there would be a green roof on the new office building, which would replace the amount of green area that would be displaced by placing the building in the center of the plaza. There would also be a roof terrace on the new residential building. Noting that the three new buildings would be almost entirely sheathed in glass, he presented the details of the proposed skin: They would all be made of the same kind of insulated glass, Viracon 159, the most transparent coated glass available at present as well as being very energy-efficient. In the center building it would be used in different types to meet varying conditions: a dark grey spandrel glass used from a two-foot sill height down to the floor that would prevent people from looking up into the offices and still be 60 percent transparent; above that, a completely transparent type would be used up to the floor line above, where the transparent glass would cover a kind of shadowbox painted a warm grey, to hide the floor structure. From the point of view of appearance, the entire structure would be covered in glass. He described the way the glazing units were held together by metal fins that had only a minimal expression on the outside. For the residential building, where more privacy was needed, a white painted metal panel would be used in the bedroom areas; he showed drawings of typical glass installations and photographs of installations his firm had done in other cities.
Mr. Clark then turned to the landscaping. He said the goal was to make the open space the exact opposite of what it was today-rather than formal, axial, and uninviting, they wanted a variety of kinds and shapes of open space, more friendly to pedestrians, very green and planted with a variety of plant materials. There would also be a clear separation of pedestrian and automobile traffic, with cars allowed in only one part of the plaza. He commented on the importance of the kinds of spaces being created between buildings and showed five sections through some of the most critical parts of the project, noting that several layers of activity were comfortably accommodated.
Mr. Clark then introduced landscape architect Dennis Carmichael from EDAW. Mr. Carmichael began by saying there were two essential media they were using in developing the landscape plan; one was paving, which he said would help unify the entire project, both new and old. The paving would be unified in terms of both pattern and color; the general paving color would be warm with bands of cooler colors that reflect the coloration of the existing and proposed architecture. The major banding would run north-south, and when crossed east-west, as most pedestrians would be doing, the bands would create a playful, enjoyable rhythm.
The other medium would be the pattern of the trees, which would be used to create identity and places of distinction to give each area a slightly different character. The primary trees would be zelkovas and honey locusts, chosen because of their open character which would allow light to filter through. At the arrival court there would be a cluster of flowering trees, most likely white crape myrtles with some pink ones in the corners. Trees would also be used to delineate certain vistas; for example, ginkgoes, chosen for their fall color, would line the long east-west vista terminated by the HUD building. The island at the arrival court would be planted with flowering cherries for spring color. Mr. Carmichael ended his presentation by asking if there were any questions. Mrs. Nelson asked if there were material samples for the Commission to see. Mr. Clark then showed samples of the glass and talked further about its characteristics, noting at this time that at night it would not become a mirror, which would be particularly important in the residential building because it would allow the residents to look out. He showed a model which showed the white metal details at the floorline and the white spandrel piece use for the bedrooms in the residential building.
Mrs. Nelson asked about getting children from the Metro to the Children's Museum icon without having them get distracted by all the shops on the way. Mr. Clark said that if coming from the Metro they would simply come up to the plaza level and go along the walk to the Children's Museum entrance, they would not go through the stores. If they came by school bus, the buses entered at the lower Promenade level and the children would be taken directly up to the museum.
The members then left the table to look at the model and listened to Mr. Clark comment on it. After they had returned to their seats, Mrs. Nelson asked for questions. Ms. Zimmerman asked if there would be any seating or restaurants along the walk between the Metro and the entrance to the museum. Mr. Clark said there would be, that there would be outdoor dining, probably with trellises over that area, and all the planters would double as seats. He said that throughout the project, they were making an effort to have all the activities spill out into the plaza.
Mrs. Nelson wondered if there might be a bottleneck at the arrival circle when the hotel had a large function, since there was just one lane in and out. Mr. Clark said he did not anticipate the hotel having many large functions, and he thought the generous two-lane entrance and exit would be adequate; he added that they were trying to reduce the presence of the automobile in the pedestrian plaza. Asked if there were other entrances to the hotel, he said that there was Metro at the lower level, and also the underground parking garage.
Ms. Zimmerman had a question about the landscaping, and that was the nature of the plant material that would grow over the trellises. Mr. Carmichael said they were thinking of wisteria, and in that case the trellises would be metal, as a vigorous grower like wisteria would destroy a wooden arbor.
Mr. Rybczynski commented that the intent here seemed to be to create a sort of inner world, one of different shapes and colors, and he wondered if the paving could be a little less rigid and more animated and organic. Mr. Carmichael said there was an area around the icon which would be looked at as soon as the final design of that piece had been developed, and that pavement would have a more animated character. He said they had to be mindful of the fact that they were dealing with six buildings, and they looked at the paving as a sort of "quiet carpet," tying everything together.
Mr. Belle said he realized that he was coming late to the party, and all the issues that he wanted to comment on had already been decided. He said he thought it was a wonderful scheme, but he regretted that there had to be 350,000 square feet of office building right in the middle of the plaza; he thought the technology was exciting but he thought it would be a better space if it were just the home of the Children's Museum. Mrs. Nelson commented that the center space needed to be seen as the home of the Museum, not as an office park. Mr. Clark said he believed that would be the case, and they looked forward to showing the Commission what they were doing with the museum entrance. He noted that they had already moved the entrance out the maximum 4 feet over the property line so that it would be seen from L'Enfant Promenade from a distance, and they had also canted the wall of the office building back about 10 degrees.
Mrs. Nelson said there were several members of the community who would like to speak, and she introduced Peggy Seats, representing the Washington Interdependence Council. Ms. Seats said her organization was a non-profit agency authorized by Congress to establish a monument to Benjamin Banneker along the L'Enfant Plaza corridor. Starting in 1997 they had actively lobbied the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Park Service to underwrite the costs of renovating L'Enfant Plaza. She recalled that the L'Enfant Plaza Urban Study Plan had been completed in 2003 and the environmental study had just been completed. She said they had been working diligently over the years and would be coming before the Commission next year with a design for the Banneker Memorial. Mrs. Nelson thanked Ms. Seats for her comments and then introduced Larry Hamon, manager for L'Enfant Colony LLC, the owner of the existing building at 950 L'Enfant Plaza, known as the South Building.
Mr. Hamon asked that they be notified in a timely fashion of any submissions made to the Commission so that they could review JGB's plans for the plaza and be able to comment on them, since the South Building was such an integral part of the project, in terms of design, vehicular and pedestrian access, and the utility structure that currently served the complex. He noted that JGB had said they would share their plans with them, but they would also like to have a dialogue with the Commission. Ms. Penhoet said the submission deadline was the first Thursday of the month, and she would ask the applicant to inform Mr. Hamon when they planned to make a submission; she said the submission materials were available for public review, and he should submit a letter in a timely manner requesting to see them.
Mrs. Nelson then asked the Secretary if he would like to comment. Mr. Luebke said he had a few questions that he wanted to ask for clarification. He said most of the emphasis had been placed on the development of the plaza level, 25 feet above 10th Street, but he wondered what the condition was of the access level areas; he thought it was probably not the most attractive, and he asked Mr. Clark to address what they were planning to do with these areas. His second question concerned the closeness of the Housing and Urban Development building to the proposed new buildings at the northeast and southeast corners of the site; from the drawings it almost seemed that they touched.
Mr. Clark said they had a lot more work to do at the actual street level in regard to entrances and dropoffs and would report to the Commission later on that. He said, however, that they had done a lot of thinking about D Street, at the northern end of the plaza. It would be a critical address for the new North Air Rights Building, and they were thinking of lining the D Street facade of the existing north building with retail. He said it was presently underutilized and could be quite pleasant with a courtyard and a garden. He noted also that the D Street corner of the new North Air Rights Building also offered a good possibility for retail and was important because it was where the Metro traffic came together, where people who were going up into the building or onto the Plaza would come together. In regard to the HUD Building, he said they had really not looked at the close proximity of the corners of the HUD Building to their walls, but they would do that.
Mrs. Nelson told Mr. Clark that the Commission would like to have a site visit in September if possible, particularly to see the conditions underneath. Mr. Clark said he would be happy to arrange that. She asked for a motion to approve the concept, which was made, seconded, and carried unanimously.
(Ms. Balmori returned to the room after the vote.)
S.L. 05-078, 600 19th Street, NW. World Bank, perimeter security. Final.
Ms. Penhoet said this was one of the ancillary buildings of the World Bank, between 19th and 20th and F and G streets, NW. She introduced Naoto Oka from the World Bank to make a short introduction, to be followed by landscape architect Roger Courtenay from EDAW to make the presentation.
Mr. Oka said the impetus to develop this perimeter security came in August of last year when the World Bank was named a terrorist target. At that time a permit was obtained to place jersey barriers around the building until a more permanent plan could be developed. Since then EDAW had been retained as the landscape architect and Weidlinger Associates hired to do the structure analysis. He said they had had negotiations with the District Government, because the barriers would be placed on the sidewalk, and with the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, which had endorsed the project unanimously. He said this building was one of five used by the World Bank and that it was unusual in that it had commercial facilities at the ground floor level. Because of that, it had to maintain an openness, a visual connection between the perimeter of the building and the sidewalk. Mr. Oka then asked Mr. Courtenay to present his design.
Mr. Courtenay first showed a drawing from the NCPC Urban Security Plan, pointing out the building, and then a site plan showing the frontage, with existing planters around the building, and a 15-foot sidewalk between the face of the planters and the curb, a fairly wide pedestrian environment. He also showed photographs of the immediate area, pointing out a day-care center, eating facilities and other small shops. He said their area of concern was at least 20 feet beyond the building, especially the day-care playground, loading dock, the existing lay-by, and the parking entrance. Existing conditions that had dictated their solutions included vaults and both wet and dry utilities. Lastly, he noted parking on both 19th and G streets and universally accessible entrances on 19th Street and for the retail on G and H streets.
Following NCPC guidelines, they had tried to work within the character of the site and the existing conditions. He noted that their real opportunity lay in the existing granite planters, whose outside walls would be raised to 30 inches where necessary, using the same stone; new precast planters of the required height would be added. Operable barriers would be added at the parking garage entrance and at the loading docks. The parking garage entrance would have a horizontal beam barrier of a very slim design; at the loading dock the more typical wedge-type barrier would be used. Bollards would be used at the entrance to the building where there was a long stretch between planters. The location of the lay-by would be changed so that it was closer to the street with a line of bollards behind it. The bollards would have a bronze coating that would match the architectural detailing on the building.
There was a discussion with Mrs. Nelson and Ms. Zimmerman about a condition on G Street where the street was higher than the entrances to the building, bollards were placed within the planters instead of in the granite curb. Mr. Courtenay said it would be much more expensive to put them in the curb because of the foundations and the underground conditions, but Mrs. Nelson thought they did not look right coming out of the planter, and there should be further study to find a better solution. Mr. Rybczynski suggested looking at a fence or a combination of bollards and a fence.
The discussion then turned to the wedge or Delta-type barrier at the loading docks. Mr. Courtenay was asked to be sure that it was not painted in the usual orange and white stripes but in a less jarring color combination.
Mrs. Nelson said that although this was supposed to be a final submission, she sensed that there were still problems to be solved. Ms. Balmori agreed, saying that it looked like a system that would create an enormous amount of objects nearly insurmountable for a pedestrian. Mr. Belle was concerned that there were some existing elements not even shown, such as light poles, which would add to the obstacles.
At this point, Christie Shiker, from the law firm of Holland & Knight, representing the World Bank, suggested that after conferring with Ms. Penhoet, she would suggest that this project be postponed until the September meeting, so that they could work with the staff on the G Street bollard issue and some other things that had been brought up. Mrs. Nelson and the other members thought that would be helpful, saying that they wanted the World Bank to be secure, but they wanted the result to be as attractive as possible. No action was taken at this time.
S.L. 05-076, 400 7th Street, SW. The Nassif Building (U.S. Department of Transportation Headquarters Building). Building renovation and new facades. Concept.
Ms. Penhoet noted that this building was located on the opposite side of the HUD Building from the L'Enfant Plaza project that had been presented earlier. She said it had been designed by Edward Durrell Stone and that significant changes were planned for the interior plus a re-skinning of the exterior. She said Timothy Jaroch of David Nassif Associates would make the introduction and David King from SmithGroup would make the presentation.
Mr. Jaroch said he was one of the three general partners of David Nassif Associates which first developed the site in the second half of the 1960s and had continued to own the property, still the largest private office building in the District of Columbia. The U.S. Department of Transportation, which had leased the building since 1970, would be leaving soon for another leased facility being constructed at the Southeast Federal Center by JBG, the current developers of L'Enfant Plaza. He said the Transportation Department would vacate the building by the end of June 2007.
Mr. Jaroch said they had been thinking for years what they would do with this building once DOT left. While it was too early to be looking for a specific tenant, they were committed to thoroughly renovating the building. He said they had to deal with the exterior because of continuing problems with the 27,000 marble panels Mr. Stone had specified for the building, which were too thin and bowed sufficiently to require the replacement of many hundreds of them. The windows too needed to be replaced because they were not energy-efficient, and the through-wall air-conditioning system was not only inefficient but also a security issue. For these and other reasons, the skin on all eight elevations (including the four sides that faced the interior plaza) had to be replaced. He said they intended to renovated the building to the reasonably high level of security required for agencies of the federal government. He said they were at the conceptual design stage, and would then take the next step of looking at the cost of building it and then come back with a more refined design. He introduced Donald Jenkins, one of the other general partners, and Jeff Kramer, from Kramer Consulting, the program manager for this stage of their planning. David Varner and David King from the SmithGroup were also present, and he noted that SmithGroup was selected as the architect after a competition. He then asked David King to make the presentation.
Mr. King said Mr. Stone's design dated from 1968 and was completed in 1972. The Carrara marble chosen was very popular at that time, but unfortunately it was highly absorptive and the stone had a tendency to cup, crack, and eventually fall off the building. Apparently, Mr. Stone was not particularly proud of this building as it was not mentioned in his autobiography and he did not publicize it. One of its peculiarities was that it had no corner offices, only solid opaque corners, and the windows were very small. On the whole, it needed to be completely reconfigured, and to meet security requirements, ground-floor access would be limited to one large doorway, and the outdoor courtyard, which would not meet security requirements, would be eliminated. Mr. Belle pointed out that actually two entrances were shown, the second being from Metro. Mr. King thanked Mr. Belle for pointing that out, saying that employees would have a secure entrance directly from Metro. He said the Commission would see the perimeter security treatment as it developed. Mrs. Nelson commented that the sooner the better for the security treatment, so that it wouldn't be restricted to bollards and other add-ons; Mr. King agreed.
It was noted by several of the members that there appeared to be a courtyard space on the drawings, and Mr. King said he should have said the courtyard would have no public access. The lower two floors of the courtyard area would be mostly filled in with auditoria and other larger-scale rooms that needed generous spans and heights, and above that, the tenants would look out through a new window wall that looked into the old courtyard volume. On the ground floor in the center would be a "winter garden," recalling the original outdoor courtyard. Mr. King said they were proposing eight small additions-four on the exterior corners and four on the interior corners. These were to assist in the planning of the building with modern cores.
Mr. King then turned to the facade elevations. In contrast to the closed-in feeling of the existing facades, he said they would use a lot of glass, from floor to ceiling and from column to column. Beginning with the main facade on 7th Street, he noted the 100-foot-long new entrance and lobby and the flagpoles and signs that would be part of the perimeter security system. He said this was the most important facade, not only because it was the entrance facade but because it opened onto the HUD Building's public areas. The side facades, on D and E streets, were more or less good-neighbor facades. The south (D Street) facade was important because of the view of it from National Airport and the Potomac Valley. On the east (6th Street) facade he pointed out a large, glassy opening that would ultimately became a food service area, and on all the elevations he pointed out the organization of the added corners he had spoken of into balconies or into solid, glazed office space. Mr. King said the Metro stop would be completely upgraded. They would make sure it did not become dark once the exterior courtyard was removed by figuring out a way to bring daylight down from their new courtyard to the back of the Metro stop.
When Mr. King had finished, Mrs. Nelson asked for questions and comments from the members. Mr. Belle questioned the use of the roof space, and Mr. King said it would all be devoted to mechanical equipment. In answer to Ms. Balmori's question, Mr. King said the building would be ten stories high. Mrs. Nelson asked what was left after demolishing the outside and the inside of the building; Mr. King said they had talked about that, and it seemed there were financial advantages to saving the structural frame, but also time and construction issues. She then asked if they ever considered just leaving the exterior and repairing it? Mr. King said that since it was not considered one of Mr. Stone's best buildings and there were so many technology problems involved, it had not been seriously considered. He said there was the same kind of discussion about the courtyard.
Mr. Belle asked what physical surveys had been done of the marble skin, and Mr. King replied that they had done visual surveys and had in the past had some technical analysis done of the anchorage. Mr. Jaroch reviewed all the problems they had had and continued to have with the stone panels, and he said that was not the only problem; people nowadays did not want to look out of narrow slit windows with no views and little light, and he had to compete for tenants with other buildings that could offer a much more user-friendly environment, as well as a much more secure one.
Mrs. Nelson said she doubted that Mr. Stone was ashamed of his building even though it was not in his autobiography, and she thought it was part of his legacy. Mr. Rybczynski said he would have difficulty summoning enthusiasm for the building even if it weren't falling apart; he did not think it was a good urban building and he thought the arguments for changing the building from a symmetrical block to one that responded to actual conditions was compelling, and the chances were that the city would end up with a building that was not only more energy-efficient and rentable, but also a better one for the city from an urban point of view.
Ms. Balmori thought that one thing that was good about the Stone building was that it made a very strong statement about what the block was; the new design seemed to want to break it up into many different kinds of treatments, and it didn't really come off. She thought that somehow the design had to be simplified, and although she was not a great admirer of Stone's building, the one thing it did was to take a whole block and make a strong statement about it; whether or not it met today's requirements was another matter.
Mr. Belle thought Ed Stone was going through a hard period in his history at this time. When this happened, he thought one had to be wary of overkill, and he questioned whether it was necessary to throw the baby out with the bath water. He said he would leave it to Mr. King to figure out how to work with it, but he noticed that there had already been introduced into the design an element from one of Stone's most successful buildings, and that was the parapet on the original Museum of Modern Art building, but with square instead of round holes. He said he agreed completely with Ms. Balmori's comments that the pendulum had swung too far. He saw too much of an effort to humanize the building in Mr. King's design, and he thought he needed to reduce the number of elements, be respectful of the simplicity of Stone's architecture, and see if there wasn't a way to solve all the problems the building had but still leave a sense that there was a Stone building there.
Ms. Zimmerman said she had been around a number of Stone's buildings for years, and she found them, in a way, bombastic. She also commented that the white marble did not have the feeling it had anyplace else in the world. But she agreed that Ms. Balmori's comments on the overly complex new design were correct, and it should be simplified. She also noted that no views were shown from street level, and she would like to see what that would look like. She also commented on the new courtyard, or "winter garden" as it was called, saying "it feels like an alley" and she hoped it could be a bit more generous.
Mr. Jaroch said that not one of the five finalists in the competition saw any merit in keeping the building in its present form, and most of them wanted to change it more than the SmithGroup's scheme would. Mrs. Nelson thought that was the universal response to this kind of architecture right now, but it might not always be that way. She then said the Commission needed to move on, and she asked for a motion in response to the request for concept approval. Ms. Balmori proposed a motion that requested revisions to the design along the lines discussed by the Commission. The motion was seconded by Ms. Zimmerman and carried, with Mrs. Nelson abstaining.
Department of the Navy
CFA 21/JUL/05-5, United States Marine Corps Barracks Annex and Band Facility, 7th and L streets, SE. Installation of a statue of John Phillip Sousa. Concept. (Previous: CFA 20/JUN/02-5, building design for the Marine Barracks Annex).
Staff member Jose Martinez said the Navy would like to place a statue of Sousa at the corner of the entrance to the annex building. He introduced Harry Martin from the Marine Corps to make the presentation.
Mr. Martin showed a photograph of the site, noting that the statue would sit on a level grass area just to the left of the main entrance, which was 18 feet high. There had been some discussion about lowering the height of the sculpture base, but the sculptor preferred to keep it at 4 feet; the sculpture was 8 feet tall.
Mr. Rybczynski said he liked the statue, and he hoped that the base would be well detailed, and not just a granite cube. Ms. Balmori thought the sculpture might look more friendly without a base. Ms. Zimmerman agreed, thinking that at least it should be shorter, perhaps 2 feet. Mrs. Nelson and Mr. Belle felt the same way. Mr. Rybczynski said he could think of several statues of Benjamin Franklin around the university where he taught, and they were all on substantial bases. Ms. Zimmerman thought about it and agreed that Sousa was a big man, people got a lot of pleasure from his music, so why not look up at him, especially since the statue was larger than life. There was further discussion about what was suitable, with Mr. Martin noting that the Annex was a secure facility with a fence around it, and the public would be viewing the statue from the sidewalk, not up close. In the end it was decided that the height should be left up to the artist, with the request that he study a slighter lower height for the base, and that the base should have a nice form and be well detailed.
Department of Defense / General Services Administration
CFA 21/JUL/05-6, Armed Forces Retirement Home, 3700 North Capitol Street, NW. Draft Master Plan and redevelopment plan. Information presentation.
Mr. Lindstrom asked Mike McGill from GSA to introduce this project. Mr. McGill located the project, on North Capitol Street between Washington Hospital Center and Rock Creek Cemetery. He said it was a large site with an abundant amount of open space including a golf course on the southwestern part of the site, with a series of historic buildings and more recent buildings at the northern end which housed retired Army and Air Force personnel. He said it was created in the middle of the 19th century with funding after General Winfield Scott's successful conquest of Mexico and relied on that trust fund and small contributions from the wages of military personnel to meet expenses. Over the years as maintenance increased and the population of retirees decreased, the home had trouble surviving without dipping into its trust fund. He said this situation led to a decision to sell or lease some of it land to generate income for its future. He said the home was part of the Department of Defense and had authority to pursue this project; they had come to GSA for help in developing a master plan that would recognize the decision to allow some redevelopment because of GSA's experience in that field. Mr. McGill then introduced GSA's contractor, master planner Pamela Wessling, and noted that project director Amy Hecker was present to answer questions.
Ms. Wessling began a PowerPoint presentation, commenting first that the site once contained 500 acres but was now down to 270. It had included all the hospital land across the street and was an agriculturally self-sustaining community with its own dairy. At present the number of retired enlisted personnel numbered about 1,000. She said it received no money from Congress, but Congress had to approve how its funds were spent. By 2002 Congress was so alarmed by the financial straits the home was in that it insisted that someone from the retirement home industry be hired to run the home, and the existing board was disbanded. At this time the home was given the authority to sell or lease some of its property and put the money into its trust fund. Many functions were outsourced and 49 acres of land were sold to Catholic University. Several private firms, including Ms. Wessling's, were hired to provide full master-planning and real estate services. Recently a draft EIS had been issued, the public comment period completed and the Section 106 process begun. A draft master plan had been done for NCPC, and she noted that the home wanted the plan to be somewhat flexible; they were planning to develop about 225 acres of their 270 acre site, which would take about 15-20 years to complete, and many things could change in that time.
Ms. Wessling said it was important that the new uses on the site be compatible with the home's general purpose and that the residents be comfortable with the kind of development that would take place. She showed a site plan and said the entire site was eligible for listing on the National Register and a historic inventory had been done of the property; most of the historic buildings were in the northern section of the site. There was a National Historic District designation, and she noted that the National Trust was restoring the Lincoln Cottage and would be renovating another building for use as a visitors center. The buildings contributing to the historic designation would be renovated and adaptively reused. Those that were not contributing could be torn down and the land made available for development. In answer to a question from Mr. Belle, she said the home would not demolish these buildings as it would be too expensive. She pointed out some greenhouses on the site owned by the Smithsonian and said the home was working with them to have the buildings relocated as there was a good collaboration between the operators of the greenhouses and the residents who enjoyed working there and furnishing plants for various places on the site. She said the northern part of the site had been identified as Zone 1 and would be primarily for use by the home and could sustain some additional institutional development. She noted a prominent building in this area, eligible for listing, called the Grant Building, that she would like to see renovated.
Ms. Wessling said the rest of the site had been divided into other zones which would be for mixed-use development, including educational, research and development, office, a hotel, medical uses, and residential; she said various options had been laid out, each showing different proportions of the these kinds of development; she said all options showed a substantial amount of residential development and one was primarily residential. She then pointed out the large amount of open space that would remain: a golf course, driving range, several ponds, a meadow, and a garden, a "victory garden" for use by the residents. Within the developed areas there would be small pocket parks and tree-lined streets. In answer to several questions about the present and projected future population of the home, Ms. Wessling said that at present there were about 1,000 residents and they were projecting a fairly stable population with some modest growth. Ms. Balmori commented on the use of small pocket parks, saying that current thinking was that green space should be developed as corridors, no matter how narrow, rather than as isolated little green spots; she thought it would be important to put that idea forth.
Ms. Wessling said there had been substantial interest in the project. At this point they had had gone through a hearing, received comments and were hoping to address the comments and publish the final EIS in September. Many of the comments were from people who wanted to be more involved in the process, and they would bring them in to help with the guidelines for the site. Consultations had been held with the SHPO and other consulting parties on the Section 106 process, and a draft master plan had been developed. They would be looking for developers soon and would be issuing a request for proposals which would include the guidelines early in 2006.
Mr. Rybczynski asked Ms. Wessling if the public currently had access to the site; he was told that they did not, that at one time it was open but had not been for some time. She said there had been comments about opening some parts of it to the public, but one of the important issues had been security for the residents.
Mrs. Nelson said she thought it was important for the Commission to have a site visit because of the size and quality of the site and the importance of how it got developed. She then turned to a member of the community, Sandra Hoffman, and asked for her comments.
Ms. Hoffman said she was a resident of Petworth, a neighborhood directly west of the site. She urged the Commission, when they visited the site, to approach it not only from North Capitol Street, which was lined with 1960s institutional buildings, but to go around to the west and come up along Rock Creek Church Road and Park Road. She said they would see from this side what a truly magnificent piece of property it was. She said she was representing several community groups that were concerned about the planned development, and she had come to this Commission in part because of its role in advising NCPC on the selection of parkland for the city, and this was an area of the city that had very little parkland.
Ms. Hoffman said it was not just because of the neighborhood that she was concerned, but because of the historic significance of the site, which had been a place of respite for presidents, and the nation's first veterans home. The neighborhood, consisting of two-and-a-half-story row houses was concerned because the proposed residential development would consist of six-to-eight-story apartment buildings all along the southwestern boundary, and they were already worried about the expected dense development along Georgia Avenue and in Columbia Heights. She commented on the historic preservation, open space, and parkland portions of the federal elements of the Comprehensive Plan, saying that there was strong sense there of the need to preserve a feeling of space within the city. She thought this development plan offered a unique opportunity to provide much-needed parkland in the residential core of the city by developing the southern and western parts of the property as a park, keeping in mind the need of security for the residents. She said she hoped that a way could be found, through exchange of land or through development rights, so that the needs of the home could be met while at the same time providing magnificent parkland for the city and preserving the place where Lincoln went to get away from the stresses of war.
Mrs. Nelson thanked Ms. Hoffman for her testimony and said the Commission would do what it could to balance the needs of everyone and find a happy outcome. Mr. Belle said he thought the idea of a site visit was a very good one, and scanning a letter that had just been given them from the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board, asked that the staff give them an opinion on it before the site visit.
No action was taken as this was an information presentation.
General Services Administration
CFA 21/JUL/05-7, J. Edgar Hoover Building, 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. Building modifications to relocate ventilation intakes. Concept.
Mr. Martinez said the request here was to modify the air intakes for the garage structures, which had been blocked with plywood since the events of 11 September 2001, because of security concerns. He noted that the members had been sent drawings which showed structures raised 28 feet above the sidewalk. He asked Mr. McGill to begin the presentation.
Mr. McGill first went back to the previous presentation and suggested that when the members visited the Armed Forces Retirement Home, they should also go across the street to Rock Creek Cemetery to see Marian Adams's grave and the sculpture by Augustus Saint Gaudens. He then introduced Mike Farge from GSA, the project director for the FBI Building air intake modifications.
Mr. Farge described the location for the air intakes, noting first the wide and deep moat surrounding the building on the north, east and west sides. He said that in the northeast and northwest corners there were 18-foot-square openings through which outside air was brought into the building to ventilate the garage. They had been closed since 11 September 2001 and needed to be redesigned so that they would meet security requirements and current building codes in as attractive a way as possible. He recalled that designs had been shown to the Commission staff in June 2004, but the one recommended could not be built because of conflicting construction inside the building. Another design had been developed, and he asked Teresa Hueg from Wisnewski/Blair to describe it. Ms. Hueg said that based on the previous comments, the massing of the towers had been considerably reduced, and they were now only 28 feet at their maximum above the adjacent sidewalk level, well below the second floor level, and sloped down to a minimum of 10 feet. Above the street level the intakes would be finished with a precast wall finished to match the existing building, and the louver would be detailed to reflect the shadowbox of the building's fenestration. Ms. Hueg said the intake would have minimal impact on the building since it would be within the existing footprint.
Ms. Balmori said it was not clear from the drawings just how the pedestrian would be affected by these structures, and Mr. Rybczynski said he did not like the idea of walking on a sidewalk next to a 20-foot box. Mrs. Nelson noted that the handicapped ramp might also have to be altered, but did not see any drawings for that.
Mrs. Nelson said it was apparent that there wasn't enough information for the Commission to make a decision, and she asked Mr. Farge to work with the staff on refining the design and developing drawings which would show how the handicapped ramp would be altered and how the whole installation would affect the pedestrian experience. The Commission could then review them in September, if they were ready.
CFA 21/JUL/05-8, National Capital Region First Impressions Sign Program. New building/agency identification sign program at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in the Federal Triangle and the Department of Veterans Affairs Building, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW. Revised concept. (Previous review: CFA 16/JUN/05-5)
Ms. Penhoet said Mr. McGill was back with some modifications and a small mockup of the proposed text. He showed a sample book and pointed out the combination of brass finish material and lettering they were planning to use. There was a discussion about the hierarchy of information to be placed on the signs, with Mr. McGill saying that the address would come first, followed by the specific name, if there was one, and the agency name. The height would be about 8 feet. Mr. McGill said the signs would be made first for the Veterans Administration Headquarters and for the Environmental Protection Agency in the Ariel Rios Building. Mrs. Nelson thought it was a good idea just to do these two and see how they worked out, and if they were satisfactory plan to proceed with others. Mr. Lindstrom suggested to Mrs. Nelson that approval of subsequent installations be delegated to the staff, and she thought that would be helpful. Mr. Belle moved that the Commission approve the signs as submitted, in regard to material, layout, and height. Mr. Rybczynski seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
(Ms. Zimmerman left the meeting during this presentation.)
CFA 21/JUL/05-9, Lafayette Building, 811 Vermont Avenue, NW. Installation of exterior security cameras. Final. Mr. Martinez said this was a request for the installation of three security cameras, two on the southwest corner at Vermont Avenue and H Street on 15-foot bronze poles, and the third at the corner of 15th and I streets, at the northeast corner, which would be attached to the building. Mr. McGill said similar cameras were located in a number of places and were quite subtle compared to other security cameras used. He said they were being proposed to increase the camera coverage in the White House area.
Ms. Balmori asked if the two H Street cameras could not also be attached to the building rather than being placed on poles, which just increased the street clutter. The other members agreed that this would look better. Mr. McGill said he would ask if that could be done. Mrs. Nelson said if it could, Mr. McGill could just notify the staff and not return to the Commission.
(Ms. Balmori left the meeting after this review.)
District of Columbia Department of Transportation
CFA 21/JUL/05-10, Blues Alley (Georgetown), between 31st Street and Wisconsin Avenue, NW. Reconstruction and improvements. Final.
Mr. Martinez said this was one of the alleys included in the Historic Alley Program, and he noted that this would be a project that could be included on a consent calendar, if the Commission chose to adopt one, because of the number of reviews that DDOT had gone through with the ANC, the Old Georgetown Board, and other groups. He said the alley was presently in bad shape, and although some people wanted it paved in the traditional yellow alley bricks, that had proved to be too expensive, and the proposal that had been worked out with the community and the Old Georgetown Board was to pave it in concrete scored in a 2-foot square pattern. As the alley was an old one and not exactly 15 feet wide throughout its length, the horizontal scoring would be extended a few inches as necessary. He introduced Karen LeBlanc and Mr. Nafici from DDOT to answer any questions. Ms. LeBlanc said the color would be a blue-grey at the request of the Old Georgetown Board, who said they did not want just a plain white concrete. In answer to Mrs. Nelson's question, she said the scoring would be perpendicular, not diagonal. Mr. Nafici explained the treatment of the edges in more detail. Ms. LeBlanc said construction would begin on 22 August and would be completed in about two weeks. There were no objections, and the project was approved unanimously. As there were only three members present, Mr. Lindstrom said the vote should be confirmed at the September meeting.
District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Appendix I. Ms. Penhoet noted that all the projects recommended against in the draft Appendix sent out in the members' pre-meeting packages had had their problems resolved and postponed until the September meeting. There were no questions and the Appendix was unanimously approved.
Old Georgetown Act
Appendix II. Mr. Martinez said there were a number of minor projects that had been added and still needed supplemental drawings. He said that with the Commission's approval he would add the needed wording to the recommendation when the drawings came through. There was no objection and the Appendix was unanimously approved.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:06 p.m.
Thomas E. Luebke