The meeting was convened in the Commission of Fine Arts offices in the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001, at 9:05 a.m.
Hon. Earl A. Powell, Chairman
Hon. Elizabeth Plater–Zyberk, Vice Chairman
Hon. Philip Freelon
Hon. Alex Krieger
Hon. Mia Lehrer
Hon. Elizabeth Meyer
Thomas E. Luebke, Secretary
Frederick J. Lindstrom, Assistant Secretary
A. Administration of oath of office to Mia Lehrer. Mr. Luebke introduced Mia Lehrer, FASLA, whose appointment to the Commission was announced earlier in the year, and administered the oath of office to her. He summarized the work of Ms. Lehrer in her Los Angeles–based firm, Mia Lehrer and Associates, in urban design and landscape architecture, including public– and private–sector projects involving complex mixed–use developments, urban revitalization initiatives, and neighborhood and regional parks. He also noted her service on numerous academic, professional, and public–sector advisory boards. He added that her work has won design awards from the General Services Administration and the National Park Service.
Mr. Luebke noted that the appointment of Ms. Lehrer gives the Commission six members—all present for today's meeting—while one vacancy remains.
B. Approval of the minutes of the 17 July meeting. Mr. Luebke reported that the minutes of the July meeting were circulated to the Commission members in advance. The Commission approved the minutes upon a motion by Mr. Powell.
C. Dates of next meetings. Mr. Luebke presented the dates for upcoming Commission meetings, as previously published: 16 October 2014, 20 November 2014, and 22 January 2015. He noted that no meeting is scheduled during December, and the January meeting will be on the fourth rather than third Thursday to avoid a conflict earlier in January of the New Year's Day holiday with the submission deadline and the Old Georgetown Board meeting.
D. Report on the approval of objects proposed for acquisition by the Freer Gallery of Art. Mr. Luebke reported the Commission's visit earlier in the morning to the Freer Gallery of Art to inspect sample works from two sets of gifts being offered for the museum's permanent collection, resulting in Chairman Powell's approval of the acquisitions. One set is 59 Japanese hanging scrolls, most from the 19th and 20th centuries, from the Fujikura family collection; the other set is a group of Japanese scrolls and other objects from the Nara and Heian periods. Chairman Powell emphasized the beauty of the artworks.
Mr. Luebke noted that the Center for Civil and Human Rights, a project co–designed by Mr. Freelon's firm, opened recently in Atlanta and was featured in the August issue of Architectural Record.
II. Submissions and Reviews
Mr. Luebke introduced the three appendices for Commission action. Drafts of the appendices had been circulated to the Commission members in advance of the meeting.
Appendix I – Government Submission Consent Calendar: Mr. Lindstrom said that the content of the appendix is unchanged, but its title has been changed from "Direct Submission" to "Government Submission" to convey the content of this consent calendar more clearly to the public. He also noted that the first item on the appendix is an additional medal in the code talkers series from the U.S. Mint; he said that the obverse and reverse designs recommended by the staff are consistent with the preferences of the recipient Native American group. Upon a motion by Ms. Plater–Zyberk with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the Government Submission Consent Calendar.
Appendix II – Shipstead–Luce Act Submissions: Ms. Batcheler said that the favorable recommendations for three projects are subject to the receipt of supplemental materials based on ongoing consultation with the applicants (case numbers SL 14–144, 14–165, and 14–169); she requested authorization for the staff to finalize these recommendations upon receipt of the information. Other changes are minor adjustments to wording, as well as routine updates to note the receipt of supplemental information. Upon a motion by Ms. Plater–Zyberk with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the revised appendix. Mr. Luebke noted that two additional Shipstead–Luce Act submissions are on the agenda for presentations during the meeting (see agenda item II.G).
Appendix III – Old Georgetown Act Submissions: Mr. Martinez reported that the recommendation for one project has been changed to be favorable (case number OG 14–319) pending the receipt of supplemental materials that show the design's conformance with the Old Georgetown Board's guidance; he requested authorization for the staff to finalize this recommendation upon receipt of the information. He also noted that a dormitory project at Georgetown University (OG 14–288), previously reviewed by the Commission, will require verification that the construction documents conform to the approved design. Other changes are routine updates to note the receipt of supplemental materials. Upon a motion by Ms. Plater–Zyberk with second by Ms. Meyer, the Commission approved the revised appendix. Chairman Powell noted that an additional Georgetown submission is on the agenda for presentation during the meeting (see agenda item II.G).
At this point, the Commission departed from the order of the agenda to consider the submission for the Draper Public School campus.
F. District of Columbia Department of General Services
CFA 28/SEP/14–5, Draper Public School Campus, 908 Wahler Place, SE. New school building, site modifications (Phase I), and renovation of existing building (Phase II). Concept. (Previous: CFA 21/JUL/11–5.) Mr. Luebke said that the Commission may wish to act on this project without a presentation, noting that the project is too large for inclusion on the Government Submission Consent Calendar. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Freelon, the Commission approved the concept submission.
The Commission returned to the order of the agenda with item II.B.
B. National Park Service
1. CFA 18/SEP/14–1, Constitution Gardens, West Potomac Park. Rehabilitation of gardens and lake, and new service pavilion. Concept. (Previous: CFA 18/OCT/12–2, Information.) Mr. Luebke introduced the concept design to rehabilitate Constitution Gardens and construct a new service pavilion, submitted by the National Park Service in collaboration with the Trust for the National Mall. The design was developed from the winning entry for Constitution Gardens in a 2011 national competition for new designs for three areas on the Mall, sponsored by the Trust, and that the Commission heard an information presentation on this design in October 2012. He said that this project focuses on maintaining the intent of the original design while improving the park's ecology. The design would be implemented in two phases: the first phase focus on the park's northeast corner only, including relocation of the historic Lockkeeper's House; and the second phase would encompass reconstruction of the rest of the landscape. He asked Peter May of the National Park Service to begin the presentation.
Mr. May said that this would be the first of several major new projects that the National Park Service undertakes with the Trust for the National Mall, and the request is for approval of both the overall plan and the initial phase of the project. He introduced Adam Greenspan of PWP Landscape Architecture and architect Robert Rogers of Rogers Partners to present the design.
Mr. Greenspan said that Constitution Gardens is little known to the public, and the intent of this project is to create a sustainable garden and performance space that will provide a contrast to the rest of the formal, monumental Mall. He said that the 34–acre park was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and built between 1973 and 1976. The site is on fill dredged from the Potomac River; large temporary government buildings had occupied the site for more than fifty years, and debris from their demolition is still buried in the soil. He described the park's problems: the lake is often full of algae, and the deteriorating landscape was built on poor soil. Over two–thirds of the trees initially planted have died, and many have been replaced, often more than once.
Mr. Greenspan identified aspects of the park that would be enhanced, including the sinuous line of the lakeshore; he noted the lake's resemblance to the biomorphic modernist designs of the Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. The lake is currently supplied by the municipal water system, and the proposal would improve the lake's water quality by using alternate sources, such as stormwater, with a well to be built as a backup water supply. Waste water on the site may be treated and used for irrigation.
Mr. Greenspan said that the various ideas for the park were grouped into two alternatives: the "sustainable garden" with a diversity of plants and a heavily planted wetland edge in the lake; and the "social park" that encourages more activities, with a prevalence of turf and including a large ice–skating rink in the lake. The current proposal, the "hybrid alternative," combines the best elements of the other two.
Mr. Greenspan described the proposed construction. A pavilion would be built at the east end of the lake; it would include a large basement area for use by trucks and maintenance vehicles, with a ramp providing access from 17th Street. An eighteen–inch–high perimeter wall along Constitution Avenue would define the park's north edge and provide a seat wall for people on the sidewalk. The topography of the park would be raised, allowing the soil to be rebuilt for plants and reducing traffic noise. The topography would be shaped to provide wide views into the garden and beyond for people on Constitution Avenue or entering the park. The new wetland edge of the lake would enable biofiltration of the water and create habitat; the lake would support fishing, and a defined portion would be available for model boat sailing and for ice skating in winter. Planted areas would include lawns, meadow areas, and an herbaceous understory, resulting in a mix of surface treatments and habitats. Changes to the curvilinear circulation system would remove difficult turns and unnecessary walks, improve connections, and expand some entrances. The Lockkeeper's House—the oldest building on the Mall—would be moved slightly from its current non–historic location; a basement would be excavated for storage and mechanical systems.
Mr. Rogers presented the design of the pavilion in greater detail. It would be located near the site identified in the SOM design for a pavilion, which was never built; the currently proposed site is shifted slightly to the west to accommodate the recently constructed walk connecting Constitution Avenue with the World War II Memorial. The pavilion would be placed within the tree canopy to integrate it with the garden design; it would include an observation terrace, with a wide stair descending to the lake. The pavilion would support many different programs, including concerts, ice skating, and model boat sailing; it would have a formal restaurant upstairs and a snack bar below, along with a bookstore, restrooms, and mechanical spaces for water treatment. An event plaza would be built on its east side.
Mr. Greenspan described the Phase I project, which includes the relocation of the Lockkeepers' House as well as a temporary plaza to hold events before construction of the pavilion's permanent event plaza. A new entry plaza at the corner of 17th Street and Constitution Avenue would provide a place to gather; a specimen tree from the park may be moved to this plaza to serve as a focal point. The relocated Lockkeepers' House would signify one of the park's main entrances and would be used for exhibits. A new curb alignment is also under consideration at the southwest corner of 17th Street and Constitution Avenue, with a wider radius to enable easier turns for tour buses.
Chairman Powell commented that the design has greatly advanced since the information presentation. He noted the benefit of now having two landscape architects serving on the Commission. Ms. Meyer observed that the first phase is a relatively minor part of the design and asked why the project has been broken down into two phases. Robert Vogel, Superintendent of the National Mall, responded that the intention is to complete Phase I for the celebration of the centennial of the National Park Service in August 2016; completion of this phase may also help with the substantial fundraising required to undertake the larger rehabilitation of Constitution Gardens.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk noted that the Commission's 2012 letter on this project had asked for information on how all the projects planned for the Mall would be coordinated instead of only submitting them individually; she expressed concern that Mall projects are still being looked at as unrelated events. For example, she suggested that the basement of the pavilion could be made large enough to house some of the new functions being planned for the Washington Monument area. She also questioned the need for so many ramps leading to underground facilities on the Mall, observing that the proposed ramp at Constitution Gardens would be bigger than the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk asked why the Lockkeeper's House would be moved to a location separate from—rather than attached to—the new entry plaza; she also suggested that the space beneath the plaza could be excavated and connected to the planned basement of the house. She recommended against increasing the curb radius at the intersection of 17th Street and Constitution Avenue, commenting that it would encourage buses to go more quickly, to the detriment of pedestrians, and it could lead to similar changes at the other three corners.
Ms. Meyer expressed appreciation for the design team's response to the concerns raised by the Commission in 2012. She supported the comment on the uncoordinated repetition of facilities on the Mall, citing the apparent proliferation of bookstores and offices; she observed that almost every Mall project comes to the Commission with the same program but without an understanding of the amount of space needed for the entire system, and the Commission therefore has difficulty evaluating the programmatic needs of each project.
Ms. Meyer observed that Constitution Gardens has become a landscape version of a sick building—a landscape with good spatial structure and a strong concept that was built with the wrong technology, and it now needs major changes to become healthy. She commented that the project's strength would be the creation of more biodiversity along edges, and she strongly supported this component of the project. But she expressed concern about the scale of the vehicular access into the underground pavilion; she emphasized the need for careful design of its components, as was done recently for the adjacent flood wall where the designers worked to develop a minimal and elegant solution.
Mr. Freelon asked for additional information on the daylight and artificial lighting of the pavilion. Mr. Rogers responded that it would be an open–air pavilion with an enclosed restaurant. The roof lattice structure would contain indirect lighting; the design would also take advantage of lighting from the surrounding site. Mr. Freelon asked about the materials of the pavilion and the apparent curved form in the renderings. Mr. Rogers responded that the geometry of the structure has been revised: it is now proposed as a triangulated grid in a splayed rectangle, and the segments would be slightly curved which provides a formal relation to the curvilinear lake and the undulating topography of the landscape. He added that the structure is also slightly deeper in the current proposal; the materials being considered are either a steel stress–skin structure or post–tensioned concrete.
Mr. Krieger expressed support for the project and disappointment that construction of Phase II may not occur for several years. He agreed with Ms. Plater–Zyberk in opposing a larger curb radius at the street intersection, which would give priority to vehicles rather than pedestrians. He commented that the pavilion design is promising although its scale is hard to judge. He also said that to a tourist, the Mall is a huge space without enough bathrooms, shade, or support spaces, and a few more such amenities may not hurt its overall scale.
Ms. Lehrer commented on the importance of seeing a master plan of all facilities currently planned for the Mall. She expressed appreciation for the presentation and supported new techniques that would create a healthy, long–lived landscape. She commended the idea of creating a smaller circle within the lake to create an area for programming. She observed that the perimeter wall would break down the experience of entering the garden into a more human scale; similarly, breaking down the scale of the Mall with additional programming and smaller garden areas would be a substantial improvement.
Chairman Powell summarized the Commission's overall support for the project and encouragement of more rapid implementation of the design. He added that he finds the corner of 17th Street and Constitution Avenue to be a serious chokepoint for traffic; he also commented that the Lockkeeper's House is a local landmark and it should remain visible from Constitution Avenue. He expressed the Commission's appreciation to the design firms and the National Park Service for a great project and a professional presentation. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the concept submission with the comments provided.
C. Department of the Army
CFA 18/SEP/14–2, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, Patton Drive, Section 70. Tomb of Remembrance, new ossuary. Revised concept. (Previous: CFA 17/JUL/14–4. Mr. Lindstrom introduced the revised concept design for the Tomb of Remembrance at Arlington National Cemetery. First presented to the Commission in July 2014, the project is the setting for a shaft that will give access to an underground ossuary. He asked the cemetery's chief of staff, Col. Joe Simonelli, to begin the presentation.
Col. Simonelli described the purpose of the ossuary to inter unidentified, intermingled cremated remains in a dignified setting. He said that since the July 2014 review, the project team has continued to work on the design in consultation with the Commission staff. He introduced Andrew Cronan of Guernsey Tingle Architects to present the revised concept.
Mr. Cronan said that the Tomb of Remembrance would be a place to honor the sacrifice of unidentified soldiers. The design provides a place of respite with shade trees and a bench, adjoining a new walk leading to the cemetery's niche wall; the walk would also accommodate access for maintenance vehicles. The Tomb of Remembrance would occupy a relatively inconspicuous location, approximately 65 feet from the niche wall and somewhat farther from the columbarium.
Mr. Cronan summarized the previous design that included a marble shaft of the same height as the standard Arlington gravestone, with a low commemorative stone inscription wall behind. However, the Commission had commented that this design resembled a gravestone instead of reflecting the different nature of an ossuary. In response, the current proposal adapts the form of a cairn, a traditional burial marker, for the shaft; he cited the installation titled Roof by Andy Goldsworthy at the National Gallery of Art as an example of a cairn–like form. Granite, a material used throughout the cemetery, is proposed instead of marble. All elements would be kept low in profile, below the height of the gravestones that will eventually surround the site. The height of the commemorative wall has now been raised to form a better backdrop, and it would be inscribed with a quotation from Abraham Lincoln. The previously proposed shrub planting behind the wall has been eliminated.
Mr. Cronan presented an initial version of the cairn form surrounded with a paving of small stones organized in a fan–like pattern set within a more formally paved circular plaza. This version was developed further to incorporate the Commission's recommendation to reflect the circular shape of the underground vault in the paving with a circle of lighter–colored paving stones; this circle would enclose a field of smaller paving stones, their size suggesting the nature of partial remains. The cairn form enclosing the shaft would be composed of darker granite in pieces of varying size. The bench has been moved off the walk and made less massive by designing openings in its stone base; more trees have been added on the north side of the plaza to provide summer shade.
The Commission members expressed general support for the development of the project while raising questions about the intended scale of the design elements and the accuracy of their depiction in the drawings. Mr. Krieger observed that in one rendering, the diameter of the circle in the paving appears tiny in comparison with the human figure shown sitting on the bench, while in another image the circle looks large. Mr. Cronan responded that the circle would be six feet in diameter with a six–inch–wide border; Ms. Meyer observed the person depicted in the rendering would be far too large in comparison. Ms. Plater–Zyberk observed that the bench looks tall compared to the shaft.
Mr. Krieger said that the design has improved, but he encouraged the project team to prepare better drawings; the bench appears too monumental and out of scale, and in one view it seems to dominate the cairn. He expressed strong support for the idea of the cairn form, but said that it appears too uniform and should perhaps have a rougher texture; Ms. Meyer agreed. Mr. Powell observed that the stone used for the Goldsworthy piece at the National Gallery is Virginia slate, a rustic and readily available local stone that might be appropriate for the cairn.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk expressed support for the concept, but she observed that the bend in the walk implies a focus on the bench rather than the ossuary; she asked if consideration was given to switching the positions of the bench and the shaft. Mr. Cronan responded that placing the shaft and wall at the inner angle of the bend is intended to make them a focal point. Mr. Freelon asked about the rationale for the proposed location of the flowering ornamental tree; Mr. Cronan responded that the tree would create a visual terminus for people approaching along the walk from the cemetery road. Col. Simonelli added that this tree is in line with the trees at the columbarium; the site now has few trees, and additional trees will help to make a more seamless transition between the columbarium and niche wall.
Ms. Meyer commented that the proposed arrangement is satisfactory although scale problems remain, particularly in section. She offered recommendations concerning details that she said would have a profound effect on the quality of the experience. She observed that the bench would be too large relative to the wall, which needs to be at least as high as the bench. She recommended using an elegant, simple stone bench and eliminating the proposed perforations in the base, which only make the design complicated. She also advised careful consideration of what would be visible at eye level; for example, she said that the inscribed wall would not be legible. She emphasized that the individual elements need to add up to a whole.
Ms. Meyer expressed appreciation for the removal of the foundation planting, which she described as out of character with the scale of the cemetery landscape. She said that the shade trees could either reinforce the line of the walk, or reinforce the curve of the commemorative wall to create an enclosure around the ossuary composition; the proposed design confuses these two geometries. She advised placing the trees to reinforce the line of the walk, with their exact locations determined in relation to sun and shade. She emphasized that the important issue for trees in a landscape of this kind is providing enough shade to encourage people to sit and linger; she observed that intense sunlight comes from the northwest at the end of a summer day, and planting larger trees might therefore be better.
Ms. Lehrer asked how the size of the ossuary program had been determined, questioning whether it is too small as a long–term special element of the cemetery. Col. Simonelli responded that the Tomb of Remembrance has been considered as a transitional area between the columbarium and the niche wall, and it will not be used for large gatherings or to honor individuals. The overall height was kept low to avoid detracting from other features nearby, with the height of the wall based on the gravestone height of 27 inches; gravestones will eventually surround this composition. Ms. Meyer observed that the wall is rendered at about eight or nine inches high; Mr. Cronan clarified that the wall is intended to be approximately the height of the bench. Mr. Krieger and Ms. Meyer emphasized that if the height of the gravestones is important to the design, then a scaled section drawing should show this datum of 27 inches as a dotted line, along with the eye level of a person sitting on the bench, in order to understand the relative heights and to ensure that the composition provides an adequate setting for the cairn.
Mr. Luebke summarized the Commission's response to support the design approach and the elements while requesting refinement of their scale. He asked for comment on the concept of registering the presence of the underground vault in the surface paving; Mr. Krieger supported this direction. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the revised concept and delegated review of the final design to the staff.
D. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
CFA 18/SEP/14–3, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street, NW. Expansion project. Revised concept. (Previous: CFA 16/JAN/14–1.) Mr. Luebke introduced the revised concept design for the proposed expansion of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The project was last reviewed in January 2014 as an initial concept by Steven Holl Architects to create new rehearsal, event, and amenities space for the performing arts center along with a new landscape above; the site currently includes parking and service areas south of the iconic building by Edward Durell Stone. Mr. Luebke noted that the Commission had approved the general concept and expressed support for the architectural elements while raising concerns about the landscape design. He introduced Deborah Rutter, the new president of the Kennedy Center, who began the presentation.
Ms. Rutter said that this is an exciting time for the Kennedy Center as its staff considers how to extend its function as a performing arts center and presidential memorial. The project would create new ways in which people can interact with the arts, opening up the Kennedy Center and its landscape to people at all times of day throughout the year. She asked Chris McVoy of Steven Holl Architects and landscape architect Ed Hollander of Hollander Design to present the revised design.
Mr. McVoy provided an overview of the project and the design goals. He said that the current building is isolated from its surroundings; the proposal would transform the southern part of the site and its relation to the city. Parking for buses and cars would be placed beneath the new landscape. Above grade, three pavilions would be integrated with the landscape and the Potomac River: the entry pavilion, the "glissando" pavilion, and the river pavilion, a floating structure oriented to views along the Potomac. He said that the new spaces would be filled with natural light, introduced at breaks in the landscape, and the architectural materials would relate to those of the existing Kennedy Center. The entry and glissando pavilions would frame a view of the Lincoln Memorial to the southeast, and the north facade of the glissando pavilion would serve as a simulcast projection screen for audiences sitting on the adjacent lawn. From the south landscape, the river pavilion would be reached by a pedestrian bridge across the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway, encompassing a riverfront road and recreational walk, which is administered by the National Park Service; the bridge would also provide a connection between the riverfront walk and the Kennedy Center landscape.
Mr. McVoy provided additional details of the design and the revisions from the previously presented concept. Below the landscape would be 65,000 square feet of space arranged on two levels with room for events, rehearsals, classrooms, and offices. The size of the entry pavilion has been slightly reduced, resulting in a reduction of the entire composition; he indicated where the project edge is pulled back slightly from the parkway, which increases the width of the landscape buffer between the parkway and the Kennedy Center proposal.
Mr. McVoy and Mr. Hollander presented the landscape design in greater detail. Mr. McVoy summarized that the landscape would comprise several spaces shaped by the pavilions and mostly built on roofs, based on architect Steven Holl's original sketch; he noted that the landscape plan had been simplified from the previously presented concept. Mr. Hollander said that one change is the elimination of lavender, which was to be planted in 46 rows to represent Kennedy's age when he was assassinated; because lavender does not grow well in Washington's humid climate, this area will instead be planted with native materials chosen to be attractive at different seasons. An accessible "stream bed" of gravel, bordered by spaces of different sizes that could be used as outdoor children's classrooms, would be planted with a native grass to recall that this area was formerly a flood plain. Lawn areas would be planted with a drought–tolerant fescue grass. Plant materials would be either native to Washington or so well adapted that they would not require much maintenance.
Mr. Hollander described the proposed trees, selected in part for their architectural form in winter and their fall color. Trees would be planted in the deeper soil around the edge of the landscape rather than above the garage roof, and they would act as buffers against such elements as the Roosevelt Bridge abutment to the southeast. The tree palette includes small numbers of sweetgums, swamp white oak, and red maples. The large gingko grove next to the reflecting pool would provide intense yellow color in the fall; the specimens would be approximately thirty feet tall with an eight– to nine–inch caliper, giving them enough stature immediately to create the spatial effect of a grove. Their canopy would create a ceiling for a space that would be cool and shady in the summer and allow filtered sun in the winter; the stabilized earth base of the grove would ensure barrier–free access. On a steep upper bank to the east, native staghorn sumac would be planted for its bright red autumn leaves and fruit. Other plants such as native grasses were chosen to provide seasonal texture. He said that the landscape around the pavilions would fold onto the pavilions' exteriors, using different mixes of sedums to form seamless vertical green walls. All existing trees along the parkway embankment would be preserved, and a simple mass of Muhlenbergia and weeping love grass would be planted beneath the trees.
Mr. McVoy described the integration of mechanical features into the landscape, responding to the Commission's concern at the previous review. A low wall would be built near the boundary along the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway; exhaust vents and air intake for the building and garage would be hidden and integrated in this vertical surface. Other mechanical equipment would include five manhole covers, an electrical vault next to the bridge, and a recess for the highway sign and its electrical equipment. He also indicated the location of emergency egress doors. For the highest level of sustainability, the project would include approximately sixty geothermal wells, along with green roofs and harvested stormwater.
Mr. McVoy described the landscape's potential for programming and activities. The simulcast lawn would seat approximately 1,300 people, with an additional overflow capacity of 600. A covered walk has been added, which will act as a visual cue to draw people into the landscape; it would be covered with a thin canopy, and the open sides could be covered during inclement weather. The covered walk would lead from the existing river terrace adjoining the Kennedy Center to the south terrace and down an accessible ramp, allowing people to enter the glissando pavilion and the landscape, or to reach the river pavilion via the pedestrian bridge. Planted steps would lead down the slight incline from the south terrace to the simulcast lawn. Stabilized decomposed bluestone would be used on the south terrace because it drains well and is soft underfoot but sturdy enough to support tents. A reflecting pool at the entry area would be planted with water lilies; the adjacent mahogany wood deck would serve as an informal seating area and recall the deck of Kennedy's World War II ship, the PT–109. Another reflecting pool to the southwest would feature an infinity edge and would mask the noise and activity of the parkway; the edge by the building would be activated by various means, perhaps including a paved area just beneath the water for wading.
Mr. McVoy said that the river pavilion would have a cafe and bar upstairs and an open deck below; both areas offer the possibility of programming, such as small concerts. Quotations from Kennedy on the subject of water would be inscribed on a translucent glass wall. In addition to the pedestrian bridge leading up to the Kennedy Center, a gangplank would connect the pavilion to the parkway's riverfront walk. The pedestrian bridge would be hinged in the middle to allow its western segment to rise and fall with the floating pavilion.
Mr. McVoy said that the material proposed for the pavilions has been changed from the marble used on the existing Kennedy Center building to concrete; the marble presented aesthetic and technical difficulties, such as a tendency to crack and stain, and would have required caulk joints for the hung panels. Concrete was determined to be more appropriate for the desired effect of having the pavilions appear like sculptural, monolithic blocks carved off the existing building; the proposal is a titanium white concrete in a similar color and tone to the Kennedy Center marble. An additional material is translucent Ocalux glass, which in other projects has been found to work well with white concrete. He said that the concrete can be formed in one pour, without joints, and the titanium will give it a very dense, white, finely–textured surface.
Chairman Powell said that the project appears to have moved forward substantially; Ms. Plater–Zyberk agreed that the presentation was very thorough. Ms. Lehrer expressed appreciation for the poetic description of the plant material but said that further information about the grading is needed; she commented that the Commission's ability to understand the site planning issues will inform the plant material choices and vice versa. She noted that the presentation did not include landscape sections as detailed as the building sections, and said that such drawings would be helpful. She commented that the original concept of the pavilions is beautiful, and they relate well to the other monuments and the river; but the parkway severs the site from the water, except for the small, slight pedestrian bridge to the river pavilion. She observed that planted roofs could inform the idea of a more naturalistic bridge, and the garage entrance could also be integrated with the landscape and relate to the water; she summarized that the transition does not appear seamless or resolved as a grading issue. She commented that the proposal includes a lot of lawn area, and the edges seem to require railings whose appearance in the landscape needs to be as resolved as the buildings.
Mr. Krieger observed that the presentation has been extremely detailed about the change from marble to white concrete which will avoid the need for joints, but joints in the landscape are harder to eliminate. He anticipated further design issues at the places where the landscape changes from construction over a roof to construction over earth. The architectural issues have been addressed in greater detail than landscape issues, and he emphasized that greater sensitivity needs to be brought to resolving the design where areas meet, where topographic changes occur, and where railings will be needed.
Ms. Meyer said that the other Commission members have identified issues that still need work; she added that the exploration of the plant palette and the garden rooms make sense but not the microtopography. She said that the study model had made clear that this would be a folded surface, which will produce radically different textures in its plant material based on whether the soil depth is six or eighteen inches; she emphasized that more information is needed on that scale and sensibility.
As she had during the January presentation, Ms. Meyer emphasized that the parkway and the river are more important public spaces than the new Kennedy Center garden. She said that an extended photograph of the site would be helpful to understand the texture of the grass in relation to the heavily used, poorly maintained grass verge on either side of the parkway. She observed that the new grass would be planted on a very steep slope, requiring geotechnical engineering; more detailed information is needed for the treatment of the edge. She emphasized that the concrete work along the parkway, including the garage entrance and walls, should be excellent and beautifully detailed, executed by the same expert who will be constructing the pavilions; Mr. Krieger agreed. Ms. Meyer said that she does not perceive the project as three pieces of sculpture floating on a landscape, but as three pavilions forming part of a concrete band that will go from the terrace across to the river bridge and pavilion. She expressed concern that the portions of the project along the parkway are seen merely as necessary structures to hold up the grade and not as architecture.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk said she shares the concern with this issue. She observed that in all the presentation drawings, the parkway appears to be unchanged; even though the two properties are under separate jurisdictions, the overall landscape must be coordinated with the buildings to form one composition. She commented that bringing the grass up to the edges may be unrealistic, and walls may be necessary instead of glass railings; she suggested consideration of designing the slope along the parkway as a series of stepped retaining walls related to the rest of the design. She said that the garage entrance would require beams, signs, and other infrastructure, and retaining walls could help in resolving potentially problematic details. She added that the hinge of the pedestrian bridge is an important feature, and the solid bridge structure east of the hinge needs to be recognized. She concluded that the design has come a long way and promises to result in a great place.
Ms. Lehrer clarified that the river pavilion needs to be somehow integrated with the composition and the grading issues; for example, the bridge could cross at a different location so that people on the bridge would not be looking into the garage entrance. She suggested that the Kennedy Center landscape could slope into the river and then become the river pavilion, but the bridge proposal now seems like a thin, tenuous connection. Mr. Krieger said he thought the previous design for the bridge was more elaborate, adding that perhaps this feature has been reduced through value engineering.
Mr. McVoy responded that the original sketches had included landscape along the bridge, but the challenge was maintaining an open view shed; the proposed filigree approach is a response to the view corridors and to the necessity of hinging the bridge. He expressed confidence that the river pavilion is in the right location and would connect to the landscape in the right place.
Ms. Meyer observed that many magnolia soulangeana are planted in Washington, but when a warm spell occurs in early spring—as will happen along the river—the flowers bloom, and if this is followed by a freeze, the flowers drop from the trees. She suggested considering sweetbay magnolia or another species that either does not bloom as early or has flowers that stay on the tree longer. Mr. Hollander responded that another tree considered was redbud, a floodplain tree with a great burst of spring color. Ms. Meyer recommended reconsidering sweetbay magnolia, which blooms late in spring in this area.
Chairman Powell reiterated that the concept had come a long way, and he described the concrete pavilions as beautiful; he summarized the Commission's continued enthusiasm for the project. Mr. Krieger and Ms. Meyer emphasized that the Commission needs to see more development of the area along the parkway; Mr. Luebke noted that ventilation infrastructure is part of this concern. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the concept design with the comments provided.
E. District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities
CFA 18/SEP/14–4, Metro Memorial Park. A portion of Fort Circle Park, Reservation 497, between Fort Slocum Park and Fort Totten Park, 5720 New Hampshire Avenue, NE (corner of New Hampshire and North Dakota Avenues). New memorial to honor the victims of the 2009 Metrorail Red Line accident. Revised concept. (Previous: CFA 17/APR/2014–6.) Ms. Batcheler introduced the revised concept submission for a memorial park honoring the victims of the 2009 Metrorail Red Line accident; the Commission had approved the concept in April 2014 with several recommendations. The park, newly named Legacy Memorial Park, is designed by Hunt Laudi Studio with sculptor Barbara Liotta. The location is close to the accident site north of the Fort Totten Metro station in Northeast Washington. She asked architect Julian Hunt of Hunt Laudi Studio to present the design.
Mr. Hunt said that the park would be located on land originally acquired for Fort Park Drive; lands acquired for this unrealized parkway lie under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service and now exist as a string of underdeveloped parks. He described the current proposal as an opportunity to establish a precedent for developing these lands as local parks; the parkway land in the vicinity of this particular site disrupts the neighborhood grid, and the park could help to repair the torn fabric. He added that the park would have two audiences—the victims' families and the neighborhood.
Mr. Hunt said that the details of a recent transfer of land on the site from the National Park Service to the D.C. government had required shifting the design approximately forty feet west. This affects the design's relation to surrounding streets, and an existing large pin oak—which will be retained for the park—is now located at the middle rather than the edge of the project site. He said that the project's scope has also been expanded to include development of the streetscape for North Dakota Avenue, a discontinuous and incomplete roadway along the south side of the property. He described the site as being overgrown, scrubby, and generally in poor condition.
Mr. Hunt summarized the original concept, which was based on ideas about the origin of myth gleaned from James George Frazer's classic study, The Golden Bough, and also ideas of how cultures respond to accidents. The design is conceived as a central space sheltered by a grove of trees; sycamores are proposed for the grove because their branches can be grafted together through a technique known as inosculation. In addition to the grove, three mounds would support nine stone sculptures to represent the nine victims.
Mr. Hunt described the current proposal in more detail. The soil has been discovered to be of such poor quality that it is impermeable, and so the park will graded with a 2% slope. Permeable paving had been proposed to address stormwater runoff, but the proposal now includes a large bioretention area at the back of the park. Plantings would include the sycamore trees; creeping fig vines to soften the form of the concrete inscription wall; and a field of lavender bordered by Japanese maple trees—chosen for their red fall foliage—planted on the margins of the site. The line of hornbeam trees previously proposed for planting between the park and the community garden has been replaced by a fence, at the request of the garden managers. Because the National Capital Planning Commission considered the park too enclosed for public safety, the height of the inscription wall has also been reduced.
Ms. Liotta described changes to the design of the sculptures. Following a decision that each victim's name must appear on a sculpture, she proposed inscribing them in different locations on different faces of the nine pillars; she intends to finalize the placement of the names after the sculptures are on site. The only other change is the proposal to insert a thin steel plate between the stacked stones to create a small gap so that the blocks appear as separate floating pieces, making the stacks appear more figural than monolithic. Ms. Lehrer asked how the sculptures would be constructed. Ms. Liotta responded that each sculpture would be made of three stacked blocks of roughly finished, blackened Jet Mist granite; a vertical bar inserted through the center of the blocks would hold them together and secure them to the ground.
Mr. Freelon observed that the presentation drawings are predominantly technical, and he asked to see more eye–level perspectives that convey a sense of the park's appearance and how it would be experienced by visitors.
Ms. Meyer commented that the intention of creating a memorial grove has been challenged by the shift in placement: the grove does not appear integrated with the planting on the periphery, and the grove area is now smaller than the edge planting. She recommended enlarging the grove, which could also address the concern that one of the memorial mounds is now depicted as being almost entirely in the sun. She recommended selecting a plant other than lavender for the edge, commenting that lavender does not do well in Washington's humidity. She also discouraged the use of Japanese maple, which is usually associated with small residential landscapes; she added that if using the color red is considered important to the design, then many other red trees could be selected. She recommended planting a more stately tree—such as oak, sweetgum, sumac, or red maple—and possibly mixing these specimens into the sycamore grove. She emphasized that the grove should be a spatial idea; the design should be a memorial in a grove, not a memorial inside a buffer planting with a few trees in the middle. She summarized the concern as an issue of scale; Mr. Krieger added that this issue is clear in the bird's–eye rendering.
Mr. Hunt responded that sycamore had been chosen specifically because of its grafting characteristic; the grove could be made a little larger, but he wants to use sycamores because their branches and trunks would grow close together and create a sheltered space. Ms. Meyer questioned whether sufficient maintenance could be provided for the long–term success of the inosculated trees. She reiterated that the fundamental issue is scale, which includes creating a grove that will occupy the site rather than giving up the edge to a tree as low as a Japanese maple.
Mr. Krieger observed that the park might not feel safe if it has no second exit to the street or sidewalk, which perhaps addresses the problem cited by the National Capital Planning Commission. Mr. Hunt responded that the other street frontage is along New Hampshire Avenue, a high–speed road, and the idea has been that the park would provide a shelter from the traffic. Mr. Krieger responded that New Hampshire Avenue has sidewalks for pedestrian safety, and a small, modest gap could be introduced somewhere along this edge; Ms. Lehrer agreed that this should be considered.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk acknowledged the desire to build a wall separating the park from traffic, but the proposal would also wall off the memorial park from adjacent open spaces. She suggested adjusting the height of the wall, perhaps to follow the topography, so that the design relates to what happens outside the wall as well as within. She said that feathering the central landscape into the unkempt natural state along the margins may be more important than contrasting a formal landscape with leftover overgrown land.
Chairman Powell suggested conveying the Commission's comments for further development of the concept; he added that the sculptures are well designed. Mr. Luebke summarized the comments as concerning details of trees, wall, sculpture, and a walkway at the north. Mr. Freelon reiterated that better renderings are needed, and Ms. Meyer emphasized the need to resolve the problems of scale. The discussion concluded without a formal action.
F. District of Columbia Department of General Services
CFA 28/SEP/14–5, Draper Public School Campus, 908 Wahler Place, SE. New school building, site modifications (Phase I), and renovation of existing building (Phase II). Concept. (Previous: CFA 21/JUL/11–5.) The submission was approved earlier in the meeting without a presentation, following agenda item II.A.
G. District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
1. SL 14–163, Metropolitan Square, 655 15th Street, NW. Office building. Replacement building facades. Revised concept. (Previous: SL 14–133, 17 July 2014.) Ms. Batcheler introduced the revised concept proposal for replacement of facades on nonhistoric portions of Metropolitan Square, a twelve–story office building built in 1986 that incorporates the historic facades of the Metropolitan Bank Building and the Keith–Albee Theater. She noted that the location is directly across 15th Street from the U.S. Treasury Building. She summarized the Commission's previous review in July 2014, when the Commission approved the general concept with recommendations for further development of the facade design. Further comments were subsequently provided on the proposal by the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) through its consent calendar; the current proposal responds to comments from both agencies. She asked architect Jordan Goldstein of Gensler to present the design.
Mr. Goldstein described the site and context, as previously presented. The project goal is to replace the heavy late–modern–style facades of the 1980s construction with new facades that work better in the context and simplify the appearance of this large building. He presented views of the building and indicated the facade portions to be replaced: the 14th Street frontage, portions of the F and G Street frontages, and the set–back upper three stories along 15th Street above the historic and historicist facades, which would not be altered. The existing penthouse cladding and atrium roof would remain. He noted the Commission's previous discussion of how the historic masonry and the proposed facade would intersect, particularly along G Street; this issue has now been studied further. The project would improve the expression of the building entrances, which are located on each of the four street frontages.
Mr. Goldstein presented a series of views around the building, compared with renderings of the previous and current proposals along with some intermediate studies. The existing heavily articulated bays of precast concrete would be replaced by large glass panels extending from floor to ceiling; the details have been refined in response to comments from the Commission and HPRB. The rusticated piers were previously presented with deeper, heavier reveals which have now been reduced to give a simplified appearance and a more modest transition to the upper portions of the facades. Some of the mullions have been widened and extended. On the upper three stories along 15th Street, the previous proposal for all–glass facades has been revised to be a simplified version of the combination of masonry, metal, and glass that is proposed for the other facades; the intent is to provide a more neutral background for the lower street facades and a more harmonious transition to the new F and G Street facades. The previous two–story expression of office floors has been refined with shallower recesses to avoid the heavy appearance caused by deep shadow lines. He indicated the continuity of alignments around the building, establishing datum and cornice lines as part of the overall simplification of the design. He also indicated the setback of the glass plane from the pilasters at the upper two stories of the F, G, and 14th Street facades. Mr. Freelon observed that the spandrels appear slightly more prominent in the current proposal, which he supported; he asked how this change is achieved. Mr. Goldstein responded that the glazing has been refined, and the rendering technique has also been adjusted; he said that the intent is to suggest a weaving of the facade's horizontal and vertical elements.
Mr. Goldstein presented the revised treatment of the transition to the historic facade on G Street, an area of previous concern to the Commission. The previous proposal included an all–glass recessed bay and a masonry edge along the historic facade; the current proposal is a simpler extension of the new G Street facade, resulting in abutting the historic masonry with a solid masonry pier and spandrel instead of glass curtainwall. Mr. Krieger asked about the size of this proposed pier; Mr. Goldstein confirmed that it would be wider than others in order to encompass the profile of the historic masonry. He said that this would be preferable to placing glass against the historic facade; Mr. Krieger agreed. Mr. Goldstein summarized that the new facade at this transition area would be perceived as a minor background element, which is appropriate in this situation.
Mr. Goldstein concluded with a series of comparative elevation drawings; he indicated the more nuanced distinction of base, middle, and top in the current proposal. He also described the proposed replacement of windows, rails, and entrance doors, as well as details of the spandrels and window fritting.
Chairman Powell offered overall support for the refinement of the design. Mr. Krieger agreed that the proposal is substantially improved, particularly by eliminating the all–glass curtainwall at the transition between the new and historic facades. Mr. Freelon also supported the project and the revised design of the transition; he added that the new proposal for treating the upper three floors along 15th Street is also an improvement. Mr. Krieger suggested refining the detail of the spandrels to provide visual depth using a shadow–box configuration. Mr. Goldstein clarified that the proposed spandrels include a combination of metal and glass surfaces; Mr. Krieger questioned whether the metal spandrels would appear as elegant as glazed shadow–box spandrels, and he recommended further study of the spandrel detailing. Mr. Krieger also commented that the slight variation in the width of piers as they rise through the facade may be too subtle; he suggested further refinement in order to achieve the intended articulation of the building's base, middle, and top. He summarized that his concerns are relatively minor. Ms. Plater–Zyberk observed that the design articulates an attic level on some but not all of the facades. Mr. Goldstein responded that the stronger distinction of base, middle, and top is proposed along the lengthy facades to provide a varied appearance, but this was not considered necessary on some of the narrower or less visible facades; Mr. Krieger agreed.
Mr. Luebke noted that the proposal for the F Street entrance has also been revised. Mr. Goldstein confirmed that the current proposal would retain the existing one–story masonry base across a recessed bay at the transition between the traditional and modern architecture; this element was previously proposed for removal. He said that the purpose of retaining the existing portal is to provide continuity and reduce the busy character along the F Street facade. He also clarified that the traditionally styled facade along F Street is actually nonhistoric, constructed in the 1980s to balance the historic architecture further north. Ms. Plater–Zyberk asked whether the street–level opening in this bay could be related more deliberately to the three large street–level openings to the east, such as by treating them as two pairs of openings. Mr. Goldstein responded that this possibility was studied, but some of the existing openings are used for parking and service access which would be difficult to reconfigure.
Upon a motion by Mr. Krieger with second by Mr. Freelon, the Commission approved the revised concept with a request for further study of the spandrel materials and detailing. Chairman Powell said that the next submission for the project could be reviewed by the staff, with the resulting recommendation placed on a future Shipstead–Luce Act appendix for adoption by the Commission; Mr. Luebke said that a presentation could be scheduled if the staff considers it necessary.
2. SL 14–151, 1444 Taylor Street, NW. Single–family residence. Third–story and rear addition to convert structure to a multi–family residence. Final. Ms. Batcheler introduced the permit–stage proposal for additions to an existing single–family two–story row house at 1444 Taylor Street, NW, to convert it to a multi–family residence. She noted the house's adjacency to Piney Branch Parkway, a part of Rock Creek Park, which results in its exterior design being subject to Commission review under the Shipstead–Luce Act. She said that the existing house is one of a pair of modest modernist row houses that terminates a row of early–20th–century houses; a longer row of modernist houses is located across Arkansas Avenue from the site. She summarized the proposal to add a rear addition as well as a third floor that would extend across the entire enlarged footprint, resulting in a building more than 2.5 times the size of the current house; the submission also proposes exterior stairs and decks, including a roof deck. She said that this project relates to a city–wide concern with "pop–up" buildings in residential neighborhoods, an issue which is currently under study by the D.C. government and the local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs). She added that ANC 4–C, whose boundaries include this site, has recently adopted a resolution asking for presentation of such projects at a public ANC meeting before local zoning approval is granted; however, this project has already passed beyond the stage of zoning approval. She distributed copies of the ANC resolution as well as a letter from Rickey Williams, the ANC commissioner whose single–member district includes this site, and other letters from neighbors. She said that several neighbors are also present and may wish to address the Commission. She asked Mubashir Khan of Metro Construction to present the proposal.
Mr. Kahn described the background of the project; his firm purchased the property in 2013 with the intent of undertaking matter–of–right development of the site. The architectural plans have already gone through many stages of local government review and approval, but the need for review by the Commission was misunderstood during the process. As a matter–of–right proposal [under zoning regulations], the project was not coordinated with the neighbors nor the ANC; but in recent weeks he has been consulting with the ANC commissioner, and his intent has been to notify the neighbors before construction commences.
Mr. Kahn presented views of the existing property, indicating the dense foliage of the adjacent park area that appears not to be maintained and has no public amenities; he said that the property is not readily visible from areas of the park that are used by the public. Mr. Luebke noted that vegetation is typically not considered as blocking views for purposes of the design review, particularly because it is less dense during winter. Mr. Kahn said that the existing houses in the row, aside from his building and the similar adjacent house, are taller; he presented photographs of one that is significantly taller at perhaps 40 or 50 feet, compared to his proposal of 35 feet, and said that this project would generally match the prevailing height of the row. He said that the rear addition would occupy the site of an existing concrete porch, and the project will therefore not result in a reduction of green space. The existing brick exterior walls would remain, and the exterior walls of the addition would be cementitious board siding, which he described as an environmentally friendly material. He questioned whether the proposed enlargement would be as significant as Ms. Batcheler said, noting that the rear addition would be 28 feet wide on the 33–foot–wide lot; Mr. Luebke said that the staff's calculation includes the additional space of the proposed third story. Mr. Kahn added that the proposed lot occupancy would be 58 percent, within the zoning maximum of 60 percent, and the proposed height of 35 feet is less than the allowable 40 feet.
Mr. Kahn presented elevation drawings and noted that the proposed color has been revised since these were prepared; he said that the updated color is shown in drawings that have been distributed to the Commission members. He confirmed that the painted color of the wood siding would resemble the existing brick color. He noted that the drawings omit the foliage but reiterated that the facade toward the park would not be readily visible. He concluded by presenting material samples.
Mr. Luebke noted that such projects would normally be submitted first at the concept stage, which did not happen for this proposal; the staff also considers the submission to be incomplete, but review by the Commission is necessary due to the limited time allowed. He added that the Shipstead–Luce Act gives the Commission authority to advise on design issues such as height and material, regardless of the any matter–of–right status under D.C. regulations.
Chairman Powell recognized several neighbors who asked to address the Commission. Patricia Petty–Morse, the owner of the adjacent house at 1442 Taylor Street, noted that the larger building illustrated by Mr. Kahn is an apartment building at the far end of the block; the other buildings in the row are mostly single–family houses. She requested that the Commission not approve the proposal. She said that the enlarged building would prevent the enjoyment of her house by blocking views from the rear toward the park and by diminishing the daylight and fresh air for her house, and that the proposal would change the character of the neighborhood. She also criticized the limited communications and insufficient advance notice from Mr. Kahn; she suggested that an additional month would be helpful for the neighbors to work with the applicant on understanding and improving the design. J.J. Johnson, the resident at 1440 Taylor Street, also cited the larger illustrated building as not being representative of Taylor Street's architecture, and he said that the character of the block is partly determined by the relationship of the row houses to the sloping topography. He said that the proposed enlargement would block his house's view of the park and result in new windows facing his bedroom. He also questioned whether drainage and erosion problems would be created by the proposal, noting the steep grade leading to the park. He added that the project would require trimming some of the park's trees, which currently overhang the site. He joined in requesting that the Commission not approve the proposal. Rosemarie Erie, the 35–year resident at 1438 Taylor Street, supported the comments of the other neighbors, including the issue of drainage. She said that a carport or garage addition might be understandable, but the proposal would more drastically change the property's character. She also commented that the National Park Service does occasionally perform some clearing and maintenance of the adjacent park, which includes an enjoyable lawn area. She acknowledged the considerable change over the decades along the neighborhood's commercial streets, which she welcomed, but said that the proposed development is not appropriate at this location. She agreed that additional time for consultation would be helpful.
Mr. Luebke noted that ten form letters in support of the project are also being distributed to the Commission members; the letter from the ANC Commissioner opposes the project and requests a one–month delay for consultation and revisions. Chairman Powell noted the Commission's focus on design rather than the background information that has been discussed. Ms. Meyer commented that the lengthy presentation did not actually address design issues, and she concluded that the project has not actually been designed. She described several topics that need further study. The project's impact on the park is important, despite the applicant's characterization that it does not function as a park; she emphasized that the park is functioning in certain ways, including its role in micro–climate and hydrology. She said that the effects of construction and excavation would extend to the park's trees, and the presentation provided no indication that the project is designed to protect the park; she added that the proposal appears to disregard the park as a valuable part of the city's public space network. She expressed concern about the scale of the proposal in relation to the context as well as its effect on the existing modernist house and the other noteworthy modernist architecture nearby. She contrasted this concern with the applicant's emphasis on how much of the allowable zoning envelope would be filled; she expressed regret that more care was not given to the choice of materials or the design of windows, as seen in the presentations of other projects to the Commission. She said that the proposed rear exterior stair is also an inappropriate intrusion into the private realm of backyards on the block, and the lack of sufficient design consideration encompasses the building's relationship to the neighbors as well as to the park. She concluded that the neighbors as well as the Commission deserve a more thoughtful design and presentation.
Mr. Krieger commented that the proposal may not have been well presented, but the issues such as hydrology could potentially be resolved, and the existing zoning regulations may be sufficient in constraining the site's development. He added that greater constraints could be pursued through changes in the zoning, if necessary. He criticized the choice of cementitious siding, which he described as a cheap–looking material regardless of whether it is painted to match the existing brick. Mr. Luebke clarified that the Commission does not address zoning questions, but instead can evaluate the design on such issues as its impact on the public values of the park. Ms. Lehrer asked about the relationship of this house to the entire row; Chairman Powell confirmed that this would be an appropriate subject for the Commission's consideration. Mr. Krieger added that the presentation would be improved by illustrating the proposal in the context of the entire block; he added that traditional rows often terminate in a house that is larger and taller than its neighbors, although this aesthetic is not necessarily applicable here. He acknowledged the concerns of the neighbors but said that the configuration of their properties was not explained well; the negative impacts of the proposal may not justify imposing greater restrictions than provided by zoning. Ms. Meyer clarified that her concern is with design rather than zoning; Mr. Krieger agreed that the design issues should be addressed.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that a design is routinely evaluated in its context, which was not well illustrated in the advance materials for this project; she referred instead to a drawing that has been newly distributed. She observed that the proposed building would have an extensive area of blank facade that would be broadly visible from the rear of the neighboring houses, a design impact that extends beyond a single neighbor. She also noted that zoning provides a maximum envelope for development, but the design process involves choosing how much to building within that envelope, particularly in response to the surroundings; she expressed skepticism that this has been done adequately in the current proposal.
Mr. Freelon summarized that the Commission has not been given sufficient information to evaluate the project; he said that an existing–conditions site plan and additional photographs would be helpful to supplement the drawings of the proposal. Chairman Powell noted the consensus not to approve the project as presented. Mr. Luebke said that the Commission could adopt a negative recommendation, or the applicant could withdraw the permit application to allow time for further development of the proposal; ideally, the design could be improved sufficiently for a future favorable recommendation on the Shipstead–Luce Act appendix without the need for a further presentation to the Commission. He said that additional Commission guidance would be helpful in working with the applicant. He also noted that the D.C. government has an appellate process if the applicant insists on maintaining the current application and receiving the Commission's negative recommendation.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk reiterated the importance of illustrating the project in its context, as seen with other projects. She emphasized that every building inserted into a city affects not only its owner or users but also the shared values of the community. When issues arise such as discontinuities in size, the design can acknowledge and accommodate the condition; she encouraged such a process for this project. Chairman Powell concluded that the Commission's advice would focus on these broad issues rather than more specific guidance, such as whether the addition of a third floor is acceptable, due to the insufficient content of the submission; he said that the project does not yet seem ready for a formal review.
Ms. Meyer cited some specific omissions from the site plan, such as the incompleteness of the elevations and insufficiency of the sections; further information on proposed cut and fill would be helpful in evaluating the impact. Mr. Kahn responded that additional drawings were submitted, including a site plan; Mr. Luebke clarified that a plat plan was submitted but no site plan, and only two of the four elevations were provided. Mr. Kahn agreed to request a deferral of the submission. Mr. Luebke said that this request must be received in writing or by e–mail; otherwise the response to the D.C. government would have to be a negative recommendation from the Commission.
Mr. Krieger recommended further attention to the selection of materials and to a slight reduction of the building's volume, such as by setting back the third–floor addition from the existing street facade. The side facade could also be developed to be less overwhelming to the neighbors, and the design of the rear egress stairs could be treated more architecturally. Ms. Plater–Zyberk requested drawings that illustrate the rear wall locations of neighbors along the block. For the side elevation facing the park, Mr. Krieger supported the revised color that resembles the masonry while continuing to question the use of cementitious siding; he said that the proposed fenestration is reasonably in character with the existing context. He added that technical issues such as hydrology would have to be addressed through the regulatory process for issuing permits. Ms. Meyer asked whether the door on the park facade would be the entrance to an apartment; Mr. Kahn clarified that it leads to a mechanical room for the proposed interior sprinkler system. The discussion concluded without a formal action.
Old Georgetown Act
OG 14–113, 3601–3607 M Street, NW. Five–story multi–residence building. Concept. Mr. Martinez introduced the concept submission under the Old Georgetown Act for a new five–story multi–residence building known as the Hillside Residences, located at 3601 to 3607 M Street, NW. He said that the Old Georgetown Board has seen the project several times since March 2014, and the Board last reviewed it at its meeting earlier in September. The Board has now forwarded it to the Commission with a recommendation of no objection to the concept design as shown in supplemental drawings dated 10 September 2014. He added that the Board has asked to inspect an on–site materials mockup panel to determine the final color of the brick, and has requested an additional submission of design development drawings, details, and landscape for the Board's review before applying for issuance of the building permit. He asked Amar Sen of Handel Architects to present the concept.
Mr. Sen said that the site occupies an important location at the foot of Key Bridge, where M Street turns into Canal Road; the location is a transition between Georgetown's commercial district, the historically industrial waterfront, and the landscape character along Canal Road. The gas station currently located on the site would be demolished. A series of massive retaining walls fronts the hillside along the northern portion of the site; to the northeast a steep public stairway leads up the slope to a residential area of Georgetown on Prospect Street. He indicated the historic stone retaining wall that would be incorporated into the project; a concrete retaining wall would also remain, and a brick retaining wall would be replaced. East of the site is the historic Car Barn; to the west is a multi–unit Postmodern–style residential building designed by architect Arthur Cotton Moore.
Mr. Sen described several constraints on the site. A view corridor from the adjacent residential building on the west would be kept open, and a shared loading area would be provided between the existing and proposed buildings. Public views of the stone retaining wall would be maintained. The proposed building would be set back twenty feet from the retaining wall footings. Ms. Meyer asked if the constraints are mandated; Mr. Sen responded that they have resulted from negotiations. For example, the diagonal view corridor from the adjacent residential building was the outcome of a negotiation between those residents and the Hillside developer, while the public visibility of the stone wall was a recommendation of the Old Georgetown Board.
Mr. Sen said that the intent is to create a new building with a residential scale that still reads as one building. Seven–foot–deep recesses would divide the building into three segments tied together by a common base and a similar fenestration pattern. Two other volumes, one at each end, appear as separate segments; the one on the east is pulled back because of the presence of 36th Street and the stone wall, and the other on the west is slightly recessed to accommodate the diagonal view from the adjacent residential building. He added that the structures on the roof have been minimized to avoid obstructing views to the river from the higher townhouses on Prospect Street and to provide a simple roofline. He noted the Old Georgetown Board's comment that the new building should rely on nuance and detail; he said that this principle has governed many aspects of the design, including detailing of the brick and the width of the piers.
Mr. Sen described the study of building materials used along the M Street corridor, which are not limited to red brick: the corridor includes other colors of brick and painted brick along with limestone, black metal, and painted wood; the buildings of Georgetown University, on the hill above the site to the northwest, are gray stone. He said that the design team worked with the Old Georgetown Board to refine the brick color so that the proposed building would recede visually. The building's composition is based on patterns and alignments derived from the adjoining structures: its height generally corresponds to the height of the stone wall; the first–floor base course relates to the adjacent residential building; and the second floor and rusticated base relate to the base of the Car Barn.
Mr. Sen described the proposed site and building layout. A rear yard between the building and the hill would be approximately seventeen feet wide. The first–floor entrance and lobby would be located at the northeast near the stone wall and the public stairway, and a small landscaped area would be adjacent; the stone retaining wall would also be visible through the glass wall of the lobby. The project team has coordinated with the D.C. Department of Transportation on the use of 36th Street and the creation of this landscaped area; a constricted curb cut will be allowed to discourage drivers from making illegal U–turns to reach Key Bridge. The parking garage entrance would face 36th Street, and the ramp would extend along M Street behind a continuous facade screen that would continue across the street frontage; the building will not have direct access from M Street. The plan includes multiple vertical circulation cores to accommodate floor–through apartments; he indicated the typical unit plan that places the living room at the front along M Street and the bedrooms at the rear, away from traffic noise. Rooftop mechanical equipment and the swimming pool have been kept low in profile, ranging from heights of fourteen feet to four feet or lower.
Mr. Sen said that the primary exterior material would be a hand–made Danish brick, which can be made in any shape or size. The brickwork of the base would be rusticated, alternating a lighter–colored projecting course with a darker recessed course; an on–site material mockup will be used to determine the final choice of brick colors. A small amount of dark–colored metal would create crisp window trim and would be used to face a single volume over the lobby. The rear facade would have a calmer design, with only two sizes of window and small balconies; this facade would also be built of alternating brick courses but in a different arrangement, with six projecting courses followed by one recessed course.
Mr. Freelon asked how much the proposed building would obscure views from the Prospect Street townhouses. Mr. Sen responded that the highrises of Rossyln, Virginia, at the southern end of Key Bridge, would be visible from the first floors of these houses but the Potomac River would not; the river would be slightly visible from the second floors across the roofscape of the proposed building. Mr. Freelon asked how the owners of the residential building to the west have responded to the proposed new building and its obstruction of views; Mr. Sen said that they would prefer the site to remain empty, but the project team has consulted with them and they have accepted the current design.
Mr. Krieger asked for further information about the M Street elevation, including any openings to the garage ramp. Mr. Sen responded that openings in the screen wall along the ramp would not be glazed; further west, the facade has an egress door and then a fitness center with glazed openings, for a combination of windows and open windowless recesses. Ms. Plater–Zyberk asked if all the openings could be glazed; Mr. Sen said this would be practicable.
Landscape architect Lisa Delplace of Oehme van Sweden & Associates presented the landscape design. She noted that sidewalks in Georgetown vary greatly in width; the sidewalk immediately to the west of the site is only three feet, while in front of the proposed building a six–foot width would be available. Planters at the base of the building along M Street would continue the landscape composition at the front of the Car Barn. Lighting is provided by existing cobra streetlights in the median of M Street; the proposal is to add three Washington Globe streetlights in front of the building to create pedestrian scale, and two others would be placed in the small park at 36th Street. She said that the grading near 36th Street has been challenging due to the existing access points to the Car Barn and the stairway, but the design has been resolved to maintain all needed access. At the base of the high retaining wall, a series of low retaining walls would contain plantings. The roof garden would have an eight–inch depth of soil to support a diverse palette of sedum and perennials, chosen because of their ability to withstand heat and water loss. The south–facing front facade would receive much sun, and overcup oaks—a species typically used in Georgetown—are proposed as street trees, with understory plants including roses, jasmine, and a layer of perennials, grasses, and bulbs for seasonal interest. The small landscaped area at 36th Street has both sun and shade and would be planted with river birch, serviceberry, shrubs, and perennials; perennials would also be planted in the shadier private gardens behind the building.
Mr. Luebke reiterated that the Old Georgetown Board has recommended no objection to the current concept design and has requested a materials mockup in conjunction with the Board's further review of the project. Chairman Powell noted that the Commission generally supports the recommendation of the Old Georgetown Board, and he invited additional comments from the Commission members.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk expressed overall support for the design; she particularly cited the proposal to take advantage of 36th Street for the entrance and as an opportunity to show the historic stone wall. She said that lighter colors would be preferable to darker, and she recommended glazing the openings to the parking ramp to improve the experience of pedestrians along the M Street sidewalk. She suggested planting the street trees closer to the curb and traffic instead of near the facade, in order to improve the pedestrian experience further and to improve shading of the apartments from the intense southern sunlight. She said that the adjacent residential building appears cramped, even with the setback of the new building's westernmost segment, and she suggested consideration of pulling back the proposed building slightly more. She also expressed concern about the loss of river views from the ground floors of the Prospect Street townhouses. She asked if appurtenances on the roof of the proposed building could be placed perpendicular instead of parallel to Prospect and M Streets to provide more light, air, and views between the roof structures. Mr. Luebke said that this matter was discussed at the Old Georgetown Board meeting; the neighbors had preferred not to see the pool and rooftop equipment, and the current proposal reflects the resulting agreement. Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that exploration of a perpendicular arrangement would nonetheless be worthwhile.
Ms. Lehrer commented that the landscape was presented as comprehensively as the architecture. Ms. Meyer agreed, and she also expressed support for Ms. Plater–Zyberk's comments concerning the intensity of heat on the southern facade; she suggested consideration of placing the street trees along the curb instead of in the planters. Ms. Plater–Zyberk agreed, noting that this change would also increase the width of the sidewalk. Ms. Lehrer commented that trees would not shade the upper floors of the building in any case, and other means of shading should be considered.
Ms. Meyer emphasized her overall support for the project and said that the proposed building almost looks like a reinterpretation of the historic stone wall in a new form. She commented that the mineral quality of the bricks would be appropriate along the 36th Street walls but questioned the use of brick for the narrow walks around the drop–off driveway. She acknowledged the intention to differentiate these walks from the driveway but suggested limiting the brick paving to the sidewalks used by the general public, such as along M Street and leading to the stairway to Prospect Street; within the area of the site at 36th Street, she recommended a more consistent tonal palette. She summarized that this design approach would let the courtyard read more like a plaza and less like a car court.
Mr. Krieger expressed support for the project and said that he had no major recommendations. He observed that the proposal includes a number of unorthodox design choices that have been handled well, such as placing the parking ramp along the primary M Street facade and not placing the building entrance along this frontage. He commended the brilliance of using the short segment of 36th Street as a drop–off area. Mr. Krieger questioned why the building volume above the lobby would be clad in metal instead of brick, observing on the model that this volume could appropriately be made of the same material as the rest of the building. He also agreed with the comments that lighter brick would be better than dark, and that the solar heat gain could be addressed better; he questioned why more shading devices are not included in the facade design. He said that these are relatively minor concerns and he summarized his overall support for the project.
Upon a motion by Mr. Krieger with second by Ms. Meyer, the Commission adopted the report of the Old Georgetown Board to support the concept design with the comments provided. The Commission also referred further review of the design to the Old Georgetown Board and authorized the staff to place the resulting recommendation on a future Old Georgetown Act appendix for adoption by the Commission.
(Chairman Powell departed at this point, and Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk presided for the remainder of the meeting.)
H. Department of the Treasury / U.S. Mint
Mr. Simon introduced April Stafford of the U.S. Mint to present four sets of submissions for coins and medals. He noted that only the final set, for reverse designs on the quarter–dollar coin, would be in general circulation with the public.
Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk recalled that the Mint had condensed its presentations in recent months to a relatively limited set of design alternatives, facilitating the Commission's review. Mr. Luebke and Ms. Stafford responded that the recent presentations had emphasized the alternatives that were preferred by the Mint's Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) or by organizations involved in the design of the coin or medal; however, this month's submissions have not yet been reviewed by the CCAC, and not all of the submissions are being coordinated with outside organizations. Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk requested that the Commission be advised of these organizations' preferences when applicable, in order to expedite the Commission's discussion. Mr. Simon added that this month's CCAC scheduling has the advantage of allowing for the Commission's comments to be available for consideration by the CCAC members. Mr. Luebke noted that the staff has discouraged the Mint from bringing such a large number of submissions to the Commission in a single month.
1. CFA 18/SEP/2014–6, Congressional Gold Medal honoring the World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol. Designs for a gold medal and duplicates in silver and bronze. Final. Ms. Stafford summarized the legislative authorization for the medal; she noted the presence of John Swain, director of government relations for the Civil Air Patrol, who serves as the liaison to the Mint for the medal's design. She said that the inscriptions are not specified in the legislation, but the Mint encouraged the artists to include the phrases "Civil Air Patrol" and "1941 through 1945" on the obverse. She presented sixteen obverse alternatives and fifteen reverse alternatives, noting the liaison's preference for obverses #2, 4, and 6, and reverses #1, 4, and 6.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk commented that the level flight of the airplane in obverse alternative #4 would be preferable to the tilted position of the airplane in obverse #2, which is otherwise a similar design. Mr. Swain confirmed that either position of the airplane would be appropriate. Mr. Freelon observed that the groups of figures shown in the various obverse designs include women and, in alternative #15, an African American man. Ms. Stafford and Mr. Swain responded that the Civil Air Patrol had a notable history of including women during World War II; many of the women who flew in other wartime groups had received their initial training as pilots while in the Civil Air Patrol. Some African Americans were also part of the Civil Air Patrol during this period, but the more significant achievement was in the training of women; the artists of the design alternatives were advised of this history.
Ms. Meyer commented that obverse #15 is the most elegant design, and she suggested pairing it with reverse alternative #4. Mr. Swain said that the Civil Air Patrol would support alternative #15, although it was not included in the list of preferences. Several Commission members joined in supporting reverse #4; Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk noted this consensus and suggested further discussion of an obverse design to pair with this reverse. Mr. Krieger observed that obverse #15 depicts only one woman among four figures, which may not give sufficient emphasis to the important role of women in the Civil Air Patrol; he suggested further consideration of obverse #4, which depicts one woman and one man. Ms. Meyer reiterated her preference for obverse #15; the other Commission members supported this choice.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk noted that this selection process can result in combining two designs by different artists, and further coordination of the selected obverse and reverse may be desirable. She particularly suggested closer study of the relationship of typefaces on the selected designs, observing that three or four different styles may result from the recommended pairing, while perhaps limiting the variation to two or three typefaces would be preferable. Ms. Stafford responded that this sort of modification could be implemented after the designs are selected from among the alternatives. Ms. Plater–Zyberk recommended the typeface shown on reverse #4 as the preferable style. The discussion concluded with a consensus for obverse #15 and reverse #4.
2. CFA 18/SEP/2014–7, 2015 and 2016 Presidential One Dollar Coin Programs–First Spouses. Designs for the ninth and tenth sets of dollar gold coins and bronze medals: for 2015 Elizabeth Truman, Mamie Eisenhower, Jacqueline Kennedy, Claudia Johnson, and for 2016 Patricia Nixon and Elizabeth Ford. Final. (Previous: CFA 21/NOV/13–9, 2014 issue.) Ms. Stafford summarized the legislation authorizing the series of coins and medals, which corresponds to the series of one–dollar coins depicting each of the U.S. presidents. The obverses have a portrait of the First Spouse, and the reverses have images emblematic of the spouse's life and work; artists were given background information on the First Spouse but not a specific narrative, in order to encourage a wide range of themes for the reverse designs. She noted the similar designs for the coins and medals; the coins would bear additional inscriptions.
Ms. Stafford presented seven obverse and six reverse alternatives honoring Bess Truman. Ms. Meyer questioned which obverse portrait is the best likeness of Mrs. Truman; Mr. Luebke suggested obverse #2. Mr. Krieger said that her appearance is dignified in obverse #2; Mr. Freelon said that this portrait does not look stern. Ms. Plater–Zyberk supported the more youthful appearance in obverse #3 or #5; Mr. Krieger said that #5 may be too young. Ms. Plater–Zyberk agreed to support obverse #2, and the other Commission members joined in this consensus.
For the reverse, Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that the only acceptable theme of those presented would be the whistle–stop campaign of 1948, as depicted in alternatives #3 and #4; she said that #4 conveys the theme more successfully by depicting the Trumans and a crowd of onlookers, although the drawing is problematic. She asked about the size of the gold coin; Ms. Stafford responded that it is slightly larger than a nickel. Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that reverse #4 may be acceptable at this small scale because the problems of artistic quality may not be discernible; Mr. Freelon agreed that the details shown on the drawing would probably not be legible. Ms. Lehrer commented that depicting only the train, as in reverse #3, may not be sufficient to convey the theme successfully.
Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk noted that the Commission has sometimes decided not to recommend any of the Mint's submitted alternatives; Mr. Krieger supported this response to the reverse designs. Ms. Meyer said that the Commission could at least rule out reverse #6, which appears to feature anachronistic clothing; Ms. Lehrer agreed that the clothing is unacceptable, although the theme—voluntary food rationing, symbolized by an allegorical Liberty in farmer's overalls—has merit. Mr. Freelon offered support for reverse #1. Ms. Plater–Zyberk noted the Commission's longstanding preference for simplicity, which is exemplified by the train in reverse #3 even if it does not convey fully the story of the whistle–stop campaign. Ms. Lehrer agreed that this design could be successful, particularly with the prominence of the year 1948 in the design. Mr. Krieger said that the design of reverse #3 doesn't convey the appearance of a train and could be misunderstood easily; Ms. Meyer agreed and supported reverse #2, depicting a train wheel. Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested removing the foreground flag embellishments in reverse #3; Mr. Krieger agreed that this would improve the legibility of the train and could result in an acceptable design. Ms. Stafford said that the artist was intending to suggest the style of a travel poster from this era; Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that most people would not be aware of this reference. Ms. Meyer summarized the consensus to support reverse #3 with the removal of the flag bunting, along with obverse #2.
Ms. Stafford presented five obverse and six reverse alternatives honoring Mamie Eisenhower. Mr. Krieger and Ms. Meyer supported reverse #3, depicting a hand holding a campaign button inscribed "I Like Mamie." Ms. Plater–Zyberk questioned whether the design would be better without the hand; Mr. Krieger suggested leaving the hand in the design as presented. Ms. Lehrer offered support for reverse #5 but said that #3 would also be acceptable, depicting the Eisenhowers at a campaign event. Mr. Krieger reiterated his support for reverse #3, noting that it places the emphasis on Mrs. Eisenhower rather than her husband.
For the obverse, Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested alternative #5; Ms. Meyer and Mr. Krieger agreed. Mr. Luebke asked if a rationale could be provided; Ms. Meyer said that this portrait best resembles Mrs. Eisenhower, and Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that it is the most appealing portrait.
Ms. Stafford presented eight obverse and five reverse alternatives honoring Jacqueline Kennedy. Mr. Krieger said that obverse #8 comes closest to capturing Mrs. Kennedy's appearance. Ms. Meyer agreed while observing that most of the portraits are not good likenesses; she said that obverse #1 is the only other acceptable portrait, but it appears to show her after her White House years. Mr. Freelon and Ms. Plater–Zyberk joined in supporting obverse #8.
For the reverse, Mr. Krieger supported alternative #2 as a characteristic depiction of Mrs. Kennedy holding her son, despite the complexity of the design. Mr. Freelon noted the small size of the coin; Ms. Lehrer did not support reverse #2 and suggested developing the theme of the arts in a more successful manner than in reverse #5. Ms. Meyer commented that the funeral flag folded into a triangle in reverse #4 would not be legible. Ms. Plater–Zyberk discouraged basing the design on President Kennedy's death; she suggested developing a design that symbolizes the arts but in a less stylized manner than in reverse #5, which Mr. Freelon described as a caricature. Ms. Plater–Zyberk added that the theater masks would look especially cartoonish in comparison to the realistic portrait on the obverse. Ms. Meyer agreed that the theme of the arts should be pursued. Mr. Krieger said that this recommendation might result in reverse #5 being used, which would be problematic; he reiterated his support for reverse #2. Ms. Meyer agreed that reverse #2 has merit. Mr. Luebke said that the Commission's recommendation could be summarized as support for the theme of the arts but not reverse #5, while noting some support for reverse #2. Ms. Lehrer observed that reverse #2 would also suggest how Mrs. Kennedy and the children lost a husband and father.
Lady Bird Johnson
Ms. Stafford presented seven obverse and eight reverse alternatives honoring Lady Bird Johnson; all of the reverse designs relate to Mrs. Johnson's efforts in beautification and conservation, including her association with the Highway Beautification Act of 1965. Ms. Meyer said that obverses #2 and #5 are best at capturing Mrs. Johnson's appearance. Mr. Freelon supported obverse #2, while Ms. Plater–Zyberk discouraged using this portrait as unflattering and suggested consideration of obverse #3 or #7. Mr. Krieger did not support obverse #7 and questioned the hair depiction of #3, commenting that it gives the appearance of a bonnet; Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that it has an uncharacteristically frizzy appearance, although the face is rendered satisfactorily in this portrait with a kind appearance; Ms. Meyer agreed. Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested recommending obverse #3 but with smoother hair. Mr. Krieger said that the Commission should specifically recommend the hair in obverse #5 as part of the portrait in obverse #3; Ms. Lehrer and Mr. Freelon agreed.
For the reverse, Ms. Meyer recalled a story with Mrs. Johnson's obituary that she had accepted the public perception of her work as "beautification," while its significance actually extended to urban design and environmental quality; a reverse design emphasizing just flowers would support the simple perception, while a more complex design would better convey the depth of her achievements. Ms. Lehrer supported reverse #1, depicting the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument with flowers in the foreground; Ms. Meyer and Mr. Krieger agreed. Ms. Lehrer said that reverse #2 might also have merit, but Mr. Freelon said that the depiction of the road is unsatisfactory. Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested reducing the size of the Jefferson Memorial in reverse #1 to avoid crowding the text, which should be the emphasis of the design; the other Commission members supported this recommendation.
Ms. Stafford presented seven obverse and five reverse alternatives honoring Pat Nixon. Ms. Meyer supported obverse #1 as the best portrait; Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested #4 or #5, and Mr. Freelon said that #5 is the best likeness. Ms. Meyer agreed to support obverse #5, and the other Commission members joined in this consensus. Mr. Luebke questioned the rendering of Mrs. Nixon's name as "Patricia," which formalizes her nickname of "Pat." Ms. Stafford responded that the correct name for some First Spouses is not entirely clear, and the Mint consulted with several historical organizations which use varying degrees of formality; none use her given name of Thelma. She noted that Mrs. Nixon used the first name Patricia when registering for college, and it is used on her gravestone and for a school named in her honor near her home town. The use of Patricia is also consistent with the Mint's preference for the Smithsonian Institution's name choices throughout the First Spouse series.
For the reverse, Ms. Plater–Zyberk supported the theme of improving barrier–free access to the White House, as in alternatives #2 and #3 which include wheelchairs, rather than the theme of Mrs. Nixon's international travel. The other Commission members agreed in supporting the theme of accessibility but said that these designs are not good. Ms. Plater–Zyberk commented that reverse #2 is a very busy design for a small coin; Mr. Krieger agreed, adding that the depicted wheel is not clearly part of a wheelchair and could instead be from a bicycle. He encouraged improving the design of reverse #3; Mr. Freelon said that this design needs simplification to improve its legibility. The Commission members particularly cited the White House entrance awning in reverse #3 as a confusing design element placed between the two figures, having the appearance of a microphone. Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that the overall background could be simplified and the depiction of the figures should be improved; Mr. Freelon said that they look like statues.
Ms. Stafford presented eight obverse and seven reverse alternatives honoring Betty Ford. Ms. Plater–Zyberk supported reverse #5 and #6, featuring a candle or lighthouse; Mr. Freelon agreed, and Ms. Lehrer commented that reverse #6 would be more legible. Mr. Freelon also supported the theme of equal rights for women but said that its treatment in reverse #1 with a scale of justice is not satisfactory; Ms. Meyer agreed. Mr. Freelon joined in supporting reverse #6. Mr. Krieger said that the text of #5—"Shedding Light" with a candle—is preferable to the phrase "A Beacon for Others" with the lighthouse in reverse #6; he suggested using the "Shedding Light" phrase with the lighthouse design of #6. The other Commission members supported this recommendation.
For the obverse, Mr. Freelon described alternative #1 as the least objectionable. Mr. Krieger also offered support for obverse #2. Ms. Lehrer supported #2; Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that Mrs. Ford appears happier in #1, while Mr. Krieger said that the appearance in #1 is nonetheless problematic and Ms. Meyer observed that the forehead is too recessed. Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested the frontal poses in obverse #4 and #5; Ms. Lehrer said that they look cartoonish, and Ms. Meyer said that obverse #5 is not a good likeness. The Commission members supported a consensus for obverse #2.
3. CFA 18/SEP/2014–8, American Eagle Platinum Coin Program for 2015 and 2016. Reverse designs. Final. (Previous: CFA 21/NOV/13–8, 2014 issue.) Ms. Stafford summarized the authorizing legislation and history of the American Eagle platinum coins, which are minted as proof and bullion coins. The Statue of Liberty has been featured on the continuing obverse design since the series debut in 1997. The design featured on the reverse of the proof coins has changed annually, including bald eagles, the three branches of government, and the most recent six–year series on themes from the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. For the next issue of the proof coin in 2015, the Mint asked artists to provide designs of the highest quality, commensurate with the value of platinum, but did not provide a specific design narrative; this results from the recommendation of the Mint's Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee to encourage a broad range of design concepts. She added that the current submission is intended for selection of a 2015 reverse, but she invited the Commission to make an additional recommendation of a complementary design that could be used for the 2016 reverse; the artists were invited to submit multiple related designs that could be used as a series in upcoming years, and some artists provided titles for such a series.
Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk asked to see the continuing obverse design for comparison with the reverse alternatives. Ms. Lehrer asked why the eagle is not featured in this American Eagle series; Ms. Stafford clarified that some of the past reverses have depicted an eagle, and otherwise a small eagle emblem is included to provide continuity for the series.
Ms. Stafford presented 31 alternatives for the reverse design, reiterating that the Commission is invited to recommend two designs for a two–year continuation of the series; she clarified that the Mint's marketing and packaging could emphasize the relationship between the designs of successive years. Ms. Lehrer commented that the designs with allegorical figures and wind–blown robes seem outdated, and she encouraged a more forward–thinking design approach which generally corresponds to the simpler designs; she also noted that the obverse already features the readily identifiable allegorical figure of Liberty. She supported featuring an eagle in the design to represent nature, an important issue for public attention. She also supported alternatives #21 and #31 due to the balance of their designs; she added that #21 may be too fussy and could be simplified, while the apple is an interesting design feature. She said that alternative #17 is interesting and beautiful as a graphic composition.
Mr. Freelon agreed that the obverse depiction of the Statue of Liberty would suggest that a different type of design be used for the reverse. He recommended alternative #9 featuring an eagle, providing an appropriate forward–thinking design that would contrast with the obverse. Mr. Krieger suggested that #9 and #22, both featuring eagles, could be used as a two–year series; Ms. Stafford confirmed that the series should have a thematic or stylistic continuity. Ms. Plater–Zyberk commented that the eagle in alternative #9 appears to be in flight, but the angled position of the talons clutching the olive branch seems inappropriate for flight; she suggested that the talons be positioned directly below the eagle's body. She also observed that different serif typefaces appear to be used for reverse #9 and the obverse word "Liberty," and she suggested careful study and coordination, although not necessarily resulting in the same typeface; Ms. Meyer said that the typefaces should work together. Mr. Freelon summarized the consensus of the Commission to recommend a two–year series of reverse #9 with straightened talons and reverse #22.
4. CFA 18/SEP/2014–9, 2016 America's Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Program. Reverse designs for five coins: Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Dakota, and South Carolina. Final. (Previous: CFA 20/FEB/14–5, 2015 issue.) Ms. Stafford summarized the authorizing legislation for the series of 56 reverses for the circulating quarter–dollar coins and related silver bullion coins, corresponding to national sites in each of the U.S. states and territories. The obverse design for the entire series features a restored version of the George Washington portrait sculpted by John Flanagan in the early 1930s. Mr. Luebke asked about the duration of the series; Ms. Stafford responded that it is scheduled until 2021, and the legislation includes an option for the Mint to repeat the program for an additional multi–year series.
Shawnee National Forest (Illinois)
Ms. Stafford described the setting of the 280,000–acre Shawnee National Forest, located in the Illinois Ozarks and Shawnee Hills of southern Illinois. She said that representatives from the site have identified Garden of the Gods, a wilderness area within the forest, as an appropriate subject for the coin; they particularly recommended Camel Rock as a feature to depict. She presented six alternative reverses, noting the gap in numbering due to removal of a design based on consultation with the site representatives. She said that the representatives identified reverse #7 as their first choice, #3 as second choice, and #4 as third choice. Ms. Meyer offered support for reverse #7; Mr. Freelon agreed. Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk confirmed reverse #7 as the consensus of the Commission.
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park (Kentucky)
Ms. Stafford described the history of the park, established in 1940 at a natural break in the Appalachian Mountains where Kentucky borders Tennessee and Virginia. The Cumberland Gap was used by Native Americans and then by 300,000 settlers in the late 18th and early 19th centuries via the Wilderness Road into Kentucky; the location was also important during the Civil War. She presented five alternative reverses, noting the gap in numbering, and said that the site representatives prefer reverse #2 as first choice, #6 as second choice, and #3 as third choice.
Ms. Lehrer offered a preference for reverse #3 depicting Indian Rock along the Wilderness Road, while Mr. Krieger supported #6 featuring a deer. Mr. Freelon discouraged reverse #2—the first choice of the site representatives—observing that it features a man apparently of European ancestry while the Cumberland Gap was used by a wide range of people. Mr. Krieger added that the prominence of the rifle carried by the man is also a questionable feature. He commented that reverse #3 is an overly busy design; Mr. Freelon agreed and said that the footprints along the road may be excessive. Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested eliminating the footprints; Ms. Meyer offered support for reverse #3 with this revision. Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that Indian Rock could be featured more prominently in the composition if it is a recognizable symbol of the park.
Ms. Meyer commented that the problem with reverse #6 is the excessive prominence of the deer; Ms. Lehrer added that its nose is oddly drawn, resembling a mouse's. Mr. Krieger suggested animals as an appropriate subject for this coin series that depicts outdoor settings. Ms. Meyer and Mr. Freelon said that the subject should be the mountain gap; Mr. Krieger said that animals are present within the setting of the gap.
Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk noted the lack of consensus and suggested further discussion. Ms. Lehrer said that the historic significance and prominence of Indian Rock make it a suitable subject, as depicted in reverse #3. Mr. Krieger said that only reverse #6 depicts terrain that suggests a mountain gap; Ms. Stafford noted that the site representatives had cited this reason for supporting #6. Mr. Krieger suggested modifying reverse #6 by making the deer smaller in order to increase the prominence of the mountain gap; Mr. Freelon supported this modified design. The other Commission members joined in supporting this direction.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (West Virginia)
Ms. Stafford described the 4,000–acre site, which encompasses the historic town of Harpers Ferry at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. She presented eight alternative reverses depicting the town, the Jefferson Rock formation, and images associated with John Brown's raid on the town's federal arsenal in 1859; she said that the preference of the site representatives is reverse #6, with an elevated view of the town and its setting of rivers, bridges, cliffs, and trees.
Ms. Meyer acknowledged the town's spectacular landscape setting, but she said that its interest to the public and its status as a national park is due to the history of the John Brown raid. She therefore suggested reverses #1 and #2, depicting a hand holding a rifle, or the reverses depicting a building used by Brown although she discouraged emphasis on the architecture rather than the event of the raid. Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that the elevated view of reverse #6, although not easily seen by visitors, would best convey the image of Harpers Ferry; at the scale of the quarter–dollar coin, the design would suggest a dense area amid hills and water. Ms. Meyer said that this scene would not be legible at the coin's scale. Mr. Freelon and Ms. Lehrer supported reverse #6. Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk summarized #6 as the consensus of the Commission, while acknowledging the concern of Ms. Meyer and Mr. Krieger that the scene may not be easily understood at a small scale.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)
Ms. Stafford described the park, initially established as a wildlife refuge, located in the Badlands area of North Dakota; the park memorializes the importance of the area in Theodore Roosevelt's life, fostering his support for conservation. She presented six alternative reverses, noting reverse #1 as the preference of the site representatives. Mr. Krieger supported reverse #1, noting its correspondence to images seen in a current television documentary on the Roosevelt family; Ms. Meyer agreed. Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk confirmed the consensus of the Commission to recommend reverse #1.
Fort Moultrie, Fort Sumner National Monument (South Carolina)
Ms. Stafford described the selected subject of Fort Moultrie, which was used from the 18th to 20th centuries to protect Charleston's harbor; Fort Moultrie is managed as part of the Fort Sumter National Monument. She said that Fort Moultrie was involved in the early Civil War events involving Fort Sumter, but the most important history of Fort Moultrie is its role in the American Revolution. She presented seven alternative reverses, noting the preference of the site representatives for reverse #5 as first choice and #6 as second choice. Ms. Plater–Zyberk expressed surprise that the image of the palmetto was not a preference of the site representatives. Ms. Lehrer offered support for reverse #5 as a simple design, depicting a scene from the American Revolution with a soldier holding the regimental flag while cannonballs from British ships are seen in the background; she also questioned the rendering of the soldier's face. Vice Chairman Plater–Zyberk confirmed the consensus of the Commission to recommend reverse #5.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.
Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA