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. Philip Freelon, Vice Chairman
Hon. Edward Dunson
Hon. Liza Gilbert
Hon. Alex Krieger
Hon. Elizabeth Meyer
Thomas E. Luebke, Secretary
Frederick J. Lindstrom, Assistant Secretary
A. Approval of the minutes of the 21 May meeting. Mr. Luebke reported that the minutes of the May meeting were circulated to the Commission members in advance. Upon a motion by Chairman Powell noted the consensus of the Commission to approve the minutes; Mr. Luebke said that they would be posted on the Commission's website.
B. Dates of next meetings. Mr. Luebke presented the regularly scheduled dates for upcoming Commission meetings, as previously published: 16 July, 17 September, and 15 October 2015. He noted that no meeting is scheduled during August.
C. Report on the inspection of three objects proposed for acquisition by the Freer Gallery of Art. Mr. Luebke reported the Commission's visit the previous day to the Freer Gallery of Art to inspect three objects being considered as additions to the museum's permanent collection: a 19th-century stoneware tea bowl from Japan; a 12th-century stoneware bowl from Korea; and a 15th-century porcelain dish from China with a distinctive red glaze whose formula has been lost. He noted that Vice Chairman Freelon approved the acquisitions on behalf of the chairman, in accordance with the will of Charles Lang Freer.
D. Report on the site inspection of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Mr. Luebke reported the Commission's tour the previous day of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, currently under construction. He noted that the tour was arranged by Mr. Freelon, whose firm is part of the project's design team. Mr. Krieger commented that the building is spectacular; Mr. Luebke added that most of the exterior panels on the building's corona are now installed, allowing for a good understanding of the design.
Mr. Luebke reported that grants have now been processed for the 2015 National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs grant program, which is administered by the Commission to support Washington-based arts organizations. He said that a total of two million dollars has been disbursed to the local groups.
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 Submissions Consent Calendar: Mr. Lindstrom said that no changes have been made to the draft appendix. Mr. Luebke noted that the appendix includes a submission from the U.S. Mint, in addition to four other Mint submissions that are listed on the agenda for presentations. He said that this consent calendar item is essentially a reissue of three classic coins from 1916; two of them were designed by Adolph Weinman, a Commission member from 1929 to 1933. Mr. Lindstrom added that the new versions of the coin will be gold, and additional inscriptions are proposed to identify the gold content in accordance with the standard treatment of bullion coins; the additional inscriptions and updated minting years are the only changes to the 1916 designs. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Freelon, the Commission approved the Government Submissions Consent Calendar.
Appendix II – Shipstead-Luce Act Submissions: Ms. Batcheler reported that only minor changes were made to the draft appendix to note the date of supplemental materials that have been received. She said that further documentation is still anticipated for several projects, and she requested authorization to finalize these recommendations upon receipt of satisfactory supplemental materials. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell, the Commission approved the revised appendix. (See agenda items II.I.1 and II.I.2 for additional Shipstead-Luce Act submissions.)
Appendix III – Old Georgetown Act Submissions: Mr. Martinez reported that the only changes to the draft appendix are the notation of dates of supplemental drawings that have been received, and a resulting change for one project from insufficient information to a favorable recommendation (case number OG 15-195). Further supplemental drawings remain outstanding for several projects, and he requested authorization to finalize these recommendations when satisfactory drawings are received. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Dunson, the Commission approved the revised appendix.
At this point, the Commission departed from the order of the agenda to consider items II.G and II.H.1.
G. Department of the Navy
CFA 18/JUN/15-9, Defense Intelligence Agency Parking Garage, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, 200 MacDill Boulevard, SW. New multi-level parking garage. Final. (Previous: CFA 21/NOV/13- 4.)
H. D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
1. CFA 18/JUN/15-10, Delano Hall—Building 11, Main Drive, NW (on the campus of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center). Building renovation and additions for two public charter schools. Concept.
Mr. Luebke said that the Commission may wish to act on these two submissions without presentations, noting that they are too large to be eligible for the Consent Calendar. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Ms. Gilbert, the Commission approved both submissions and delegated further review of the Delano Hall project to the staff.
The Commission then returned to the order of the agenda.
B. Department of the Treasury / U.S. Mint
Mr. Luebke introduced the four submissions from the U.S. Mint, in addition to the Mint submission that was approved as part of the Government Submissions Consent Calendar. He noted the presence in the audience of several members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), an expert panel that advises the Mint on coins and medals including issues of historical themes, collectability, and technical production. He said that a CCAC meeting was held the previous day, providing the opportunity for some CCAC members to remain in Washington to observe the review of the Mint submissions by the Commission of Fine Arts; he introduced newly appointed CCAC chairman Mary Lannin and other members of the committee. He asked April Stafford of the Mint to present the four submissions, adding that the presentation would focus on the newly determined recommendations from the CCAC meeting and the choices of the designated liaison for each coin and medal program.
1. CFA 18/JUN/15-1, Congressional Gold Medal honoring the Foot Soldiers of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March. Designs for a gold medal with bronze duplicates. Final. Ms. Stafford noted that recent news of racially motivated violence at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for civil rights that includes the historical event commemorated by this medal. She summarized the authorizing legislation for a medal honoring the "foot soldiers" who participated in a voting rights march fifty years ago, initially met with violence and ultimately successful in marching 54 miles from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery, Alabama, and serving as a catalyst for the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Ms. Stafford described the design features of obverse alternative #6-A and reverse alternative #5; both are the preferences of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the outside liaison for the medal. She noted the request from the liaison to extend the inscription on obverse #6-A from "Selma to Montgomery" to read "Selma to Montgomery Marches 1965." Both the liaison and the CCAC also recommended increasing the prominence of the bridge across the center of the medal; the specific CCAC recommendation is to eliminate the circular border and to extend the line of marchers toward the left and right edges of the medal. She said that the central inscription on reverse #5—"Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote"—is a quotation from President Lyndon B. Johnson's address to Congress; the CCAC recommendation is to move the quotation to a circular format along the medal's edge, consistent with the obverse text. She then briefly presented the remainder of the thirteen obverse and seven reverse alternatives for the design of the medal.
Mr. Freelon questioned the significance of the pattern of short lines that appears to overlay the American flag across the background of reverse #5. Ms. Stafford confirmed that the artist simply intended this pattern to convey a sense of texture for the flag. Don Everhart, the Mint's lead sculptor-engraver, added that the texture on the medal would be achieved through a combination of hand and digital techniques to suggest the darker color of the flag's red and blue areas. Ms. Gilbert asked why the texture lines are depicted as extending across the right portion of the voting box; Ms. Stafford responded that these lines are probably intended to convey the modeling of the box, and the visual treatment of the box and the flag could be clarified.
Mr. Krieger questioned the lack of an attribution to President Johnson for the quotation on reverse #5, commenting that few people in the future would remember the source of the words. He acknowledged that the statement is meaningful on its own, but he suggested consideration of adding an attribution; Ms. Gilbert supported this modification. Mr. Krieger added that he does not support the CCAC recommendation to move this quote to the circular border of the medal, commenting that the text is clear in the composition as presented.
Mr. Powell discouraged adding more text to the medal, instead expressing support for the designs as presented. He noted the difficulty of evaluating design modifications recommended by the liaison and the CCAC without drawings to convey the modified proposals. Ms. Stafford responded that the direction and spirit of the recommendations are especially important; the Mint staff then has to work on specific design modifications to determine the feasibility of each change. She said that an example is the conceptual recommendation to increase the prominence of the bridge on the obverse, compared to the CCAC's specific recommendation to achieve this by removing the circular border. Mr. Everhart said that removal of the border might result in increasing the size of the bridge, and possibly adding more foot soldiers in the background. Mr. Dunson supported the obverse composition as presented; he said that increasing the size of the bridge and adding more people may diminish the clarity and effectiveness of the design. Ms. Stafford clarified that the solution may not involve increasing the size of the bridge, but simply eliminating the border to increase the amount of negative space around the bridge, which would serve to give it greater emphasis; the number of marchers could also be increased. Mr. Dunson questioned how the grouping of people would be extended. Ms. Stafford said that the people could be extended to the edge of the medal, which Mr. Dunson said could be problematic in resolving the edge of the composition. Mr. Everhart suggested decreasing the width of the border rather than eliminating it; Mr. Dunson and Mr. Powell supported this design response.
Chairman Powell summarized the consensus of the Commission to recommend obverse alternative #6-A and reverse alternative #5, with modifications as discussed for adjusting the border near the bridge on the obverse and adding an attribution to President Johnson for the quotation on the reverse. Upon a motion by Mr. Dunson, the Commission adopted this action.
2. CFA 18/JUN/15-2, Congressional Gold Medal honoring the 65th Infantry Regiment—Borinqueneers. Designs for a gold medal with bronze duplicates. Final. Ms. Stafford summarized the authorizing legislation for a Congressional Gold Medal honoring the 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the Borinqueneers, constituted primarily of Hispanics from Puerto Rico, and which was the last segregated unit of the U.S. military. She said that the Borinqueneers fought in both world wars and in Korea. She described the design features of obverse alternative #6 and reverse alternative #5; both are the preferences of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the outside liaison for the medal. She also briefly presented the remainder of the eleven obverse and fifteen reverse alternatives.
Mr. Krieger commented that obverse #6-A appears to have slightly smaller lettering than in the similarly composed obverse #6; he said that the smaller lettering is preferable to avoid the crowding of design features in obverse #6, such as the overlap of the foreground soldier's helmet with both lines of circumferential text. Mr. Everhart said that the foreground soldier's head is placed lower on obverse #6-A, and this modification could be incorporated into obverse #6; alternatively, the second line of circumferential text—"Borinqueneers"—could be reduced in size. Mr. Krieger said that either solution would be worth exploring. Mr. Everhart said that reducing the lettering size would be preferable, because the higher position of the soldier's head gives it more stature and presence; Mr. Krieger agreed.
Ms. Meyer observed that reverse alternative #5 features a cropped view of a turret that may not be recognizable; she suggested consideration of reverse #6, which clearly shows a fortification wall as the context for the turret. Mr. Krieger countered that this turret is a well-known icon of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and showing the wider context of the fortification wall may not be necessary; Ms. Meyer accepted this conclusion.
Upon a motion by Mr. Krieger with second by Mr. Freelon, the Commission recommended obverse alternative #6 and reverse #5 with adjustments to the obverse as discussed.
3. CFA 18/JUN/15-3, 2016 Presidential One-dollar Coin Program–First Spouses. Designs for the Nancy Reagan First Spouse ten-dollar gold coin and bronze medal. Final. (Previous: CFA 18/SEP/14-7.) Ms. Stafford summarized the legislation authorizing the First Spouse series of coins and medals, which corresponds to the series of one-dollar coins depicting each of the U.S. presidents. The current proposal is for an addition to the 2016 program to honor Nancy Reagan; she noted that similar designs would be used for the coin and the medal, but the coin would have additional inscriptions. She noted that the design alternatives have been reviewed by Mrs. Reagan, by representatives of the Reagan Foundation, and by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC). All have supported obverse alternative #1, with a request by Mrs. Reagan to reduce the volume of hair and smooth the features around the eyes. For the reverse, she said that Mrs. Reagan and the Reagan Foundation have supported the theme of the "Just Say No" campaign to fight drug abuse; the guidance included the request to depict Mrs. Reagan with a young person wearing a T-shirt with the phrase Just Say No, as in reverse alternative #9. The Mint staff and the CCAC have recognized that the design alternatives with this theme may need further artistic development, and revised alternatives may be submitted later. Chairman Powell described the reverse design alternatives as a work in progress; Ms. Stafford agreed.
Mr. Krieger commented that the child's head in reverse #9 is poorly depicted; Ms. Stafford said that this comment has been received from others. Mr. Luebke suggested that the Commission could respond to the concept for the reverse without approving the presented artwork, which is not of a sufficiently high standard. Ms. Meyer recommended consideration of reverse #8, which crops the depiction of the adult to be anonymous—perhaps a parent or other advisor of the child—while the purpose of honoring Mrs. Reagan will be obvious from the obverse portrait. She added that the artwork for reverse #8, as with reverse #9, needs further work. Ms. Stafford responded that the CCAC identified reverse #8 as meriting further artistic development; the CCAC also discussed the possibility of a reverse design featuring only the children. She said that the CCAC encouraged further consideration of other reverse alternatives in the submission—not considered by Mrs. Reagan and the Reagan Foundation—such as the combination of hands gesturing with the thumb up and the thumb down, as seen in alternatives #4 and #5. The design refinement could be to show a woman's hand—implicitly Mrs. Reagan's—with the thumb up and a child's hand with the thumb down. Ms. Meyer commented that a thumb-up gesture would be inappropriate for Mrs. Reagan, and she discouraged this design solution.
Chairman Powell summarized the consensus of the Commission to support Mrs. Reagan's preference for obverse #1 with slight modifications; he said that no action is needed on the reverse alternatives that are still under development.
4. CFA 18/JUN/15-4, 2016 National Park Service 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program. Designs for five-dollar gold, one-dollar silver, and half-dollar clad coins. Final. Ms. Stafford summarized the authorizing legislation for a set of three commemorative coins honoring the centennial of the establishment of the National Park Service (NPS) in 1916; a surcharge on sales of the coins will be paid to the National Park Foundation. She noted the standard inscriptions required for coins.
Five-dollar gold coin
Ms. Stafford presented the seventeen obverse and twelve reverse alternatives for the five-dollar gold coin. She noted the preferences of the Mint's liaison from the National Park Service: obverse #3 and reverse #3, with a request to update the border of the NPS logo on the reverse. She also noted the preferences of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) for obverse #10 and reverse #3.
Noting the numerous obverse design alternatives featuring a double portrait of Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir, Mr. Powell commented that Roosevelt's appearance is familiar, but Muir's is less well known. He said that the composition of obverse #3 has the additional confusion of the mountain appearing as if it is a third figure, and the trees blur with Muir's beard. Mr. Krieger agreed that obverse #3 is a confusing design, possibly appearing as three people or as Roosevelt alongside two mountains. He asked about the historical relationship between Roosevelt and Muir, questioning which of them would likely be instructing the other. Ms. Stafford responded that both were inspirations for the establishment of the National Park Service. Donald Leadbetter, the NPS liaison for the coins, said that the more accurate depiction of their historic association would have Muir pointing things out to Roosevelt. He described Muir as the "spiritual forefather" in combination with Roosevelt's political action, eventually resulting in the 1916 legislation that was signed by President Wilson. Mr. Krieger therefore questioned the appropriateness of giving more prominence to Roosevelt in most of the double-portrait alternatives, while acknowledging that Roosevelt should be included. Mr. Luebke noted that obverse #9 gives more prominence to Muir. Mr. Krieger supported the composition of obverse #1 and #9, with Roosevelt appearing to be listening to Muir; he observed that the placement of Muir in the foreground also improves the clarity by separating his portrait from the background mountain. However, he said that the portraits in these alternatives may not be the best likenesses. Ms. Stafford responded that the Commission's recommendation for the composition would be valuable, and the portraits could then be refined; she noted that this was the process for a recent commemorative coin program honoring Mark Twain.
Chairman Powell noted the consensus of the Commission to support reverse #3, the preference of both the NPS liaison and the CCAC. Upon a motion by Mr. Krieger, the Commission recommended that the gold coin use the composition of obverse alternative #1 due to the relationship of Muir and Roosevelt, with improved portraits, along with reverse alternative #3.
One-dollar silver coin
Ms. Stafford presented the nine obverse and nine reverse alternatives for the silver coin. She noted the preferences of the NPS liaison: obverse #3, with the suggestion to replace the bison with the NPS arrowhead logo in the foreground of the Old Faithful geyser; and reverse #4 featuring three performers, with the request to replace the trumpet player with either a Tuskegee Airman or a Buffalo Soldier. She added that the CCAC did not support these suggested modifications, providing comments that the bison adds a scale reference to obverse #3 and that the requested alterations to reverse #4 would result in a confused message for the design. She said that the CCAC preference for the obverse is to use one of the reverse designs—reverse alternative #2 featuring a folklórico dancer and the NPS logo—along with reverse alternative #5 for the reverse.
Ms. Meyer commented that the differing preferences of the liaison and the CCAC go beyond design issues, appearing to result from different concepts of whether to emphasize places or people. Ms. Stafford clarified that the silver coin is intended to convey culture and the arts, in accordance with the three-coin program's overall artistic direction that was developed by the Mint in coordination with the NPS liaison. She also noted that the liaison's preferences were chosen prior to the recent CCAC meeting, and typically the liaisons for the Mint's programs are open to considering the suggestions that emerge from subsequent reviews by the CCAC and the Commission of Fine Arts. She said that comments on the most effective pairing of obverse and reverse designs are often a helpful result of the review process, providing insights that the liaisons have not considered; the CCAC review also includes consideration of appeal to collectors. She noted that the NPS liaison could provide a revised set of preferences to the Mint after consideration of the comments that emerge through the review process. Mr. Leadbetter noted the breadth of images and topics for these coins, with scores of design alternatives to consider. He said that the intent for the silver coin is to depict a natural feature on the obverse and to convey the theme of cultural heritage on the reverse. He added that the silver coin will be the largest of the three coins, and the landscape scene on the obverse will likely be attractive to collectors; he said that a scene from Yellowstone Park would be preferable because Yellowstone is widely associated with the National Park Service. For the reverse, he acknowledged that the single dancer of reverse alternative #2—the CCAC preference for the obverse—could be a good choice for pairing with an obverse landscape scene. Ms. Stafford noted that the recommendations of the liaison, the CCAC, and the Commission will all be forwarded to the Secretary of the Treasury, who makes the final choice for the designs.
Mr. Krieger supported the overall concept for the silver coin of depicting a place on one side and people on the other. Ms. Gilbert commented that the depiction of the geyser in obverse #3 does not appear realistic; Mr. Krieger said it has the appearance of marshmallows. Ms. Stafford said that the CCAC had provided a similar comment that the depicted landscape does not appear natural, with the additional concern that the current program of circulating quarters depicts many landscapes and animals; the CCAC therefore chose to emphasize the lesser-known theme of cultural heritage on both sides of the coin. Ms. Meyer noted that the alternatives for the clad coin include many images of people, and she supported the intent to include a landscape image on the obverse of the silver coin. She recommended obverse #3 with an improved depiction of the geyser; Mr. Powell agreed.
Ms. Gilbert commented that the design of reverse #2 is overly busy and stylized, and she recommended simplification. She said that the NPS logo appears to be merely pasted onto the dancer, and it could be moved or omitted. Ms. Meyer supported reverses #2 and #5 as preferred by the liaison and the CCAC; she did not support the preference for reverse #4, which she said is overly complicated and confusing. Mr. Freelon supported reverse #2 as the better composition. Ms. Meyer noted that the NPS is identified on obverse #3, and therefore the NPS logo can be eliminated from reverse #2 to improve the design. Mr. Krieger supported the subject of a dancer in reverse #2, rather than the musical instruments in reverse #5; but he commented that reverse #2 has additional problems, with the dancer appearing to have an odd and distorted anatomy, and recommended further refinement to improve the depiction. Ms. Gilbert agreed, adding that the arm has a strange appearance because the banner separates it from the rest of the body; she suggested removing the banner to make the shoulder visible. Mr. Dunson supported reverse #3, depicting a dancer wearing wings; Mr. Powell said that this composition might be too simple. Mr. Dunson added that the buffalo on obverse #3 is not aggressive enough; he said that buffaloes were known for creating "thunder on the land," and he suggested revising the depiction. Mr. Luebke summarized the consensus to recommend refinements to obverse #3 and reverse #2 for the silver coin.
Half-dollar clad coin
Ms. Stafford presented the ten obverse and sixteen reverse alternatives for the clad coin. She noted the preferences of the NPS liaison for obverse #10 and reverse # 11-A, with the request to add the iconic St. Louis arch to the urban scene in reverse #11-A. She said that the CCAC preference for the obverse is to use obverse #2 from the alternatives for the silver coin, with some discussion of simplifying and clarifying the background elements of the composition; the preference for the reverse is alternative #3, with a request to remove the petroglyphs shown below the dinosaur skeleton. Mr. Krieger agreed that the petroglyphs are an unnecessary part of this design.
Ms. Gilbert asked for clarification of the various thematic terms that are included in the alternatives; Mr. Leadbetter responded that they are derived from the legislation establishing NPS and from its mission. Ms. Gilbert supported reverses #9 and #9-A, depicting a seedling held by people; she said that the relatively simple image allows people to make their own associations, and this reverse would pair well with the simple NPS logo in obverse #10. She said that many other alternatives are packed with too many design images. Mr. Krieger agreed, and he discouraged the subject of bicycle recreation on reverse #11-A due to its limited association with a subset of the urban population.
Upon a motion by Ms. Gilbert, the Commission recommended obverse #10 and reverses #9 and #9-A for the clad coin.
C. National Park Service
CFA 18/JUN/15-5, Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial. Intersection of Maryland and Independence Avenues, between 4th and 6th Streets, SW. Final. (Previous: CFA 21/MAY/15-1.) Mr. Luebke introduced the proposal for the final design of the Eisenhower Memorial, submitted by the National Park Service on behalf of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission (EMC). He noted that this submission follows the series of presentations over the past seven months on the development of specific design elements intended to advance the details and content of the memorial toward this final design. He said that today's presentation will provide a comprehensive overview of the development of the memorial's themes, details, and revisions, including a mockup of the revised layout for the inscriptions; he added that the final approval process would still require review of mockups for the tapestry and lighting, an on-site review of the proposed materials, and the submission of technical documents.
Mr. Luebke noted that this final review is pursuant to the Commemorative Works Act and is subject to the Commission's rules adopted for the administration of the National Environmental Policy Act. Pursuant to the delegation of authority by these rules, he said that he has signed a letter on behalf of the Commission with a finding of no significant impact for this proposal, based on the regulatory consultative process led by the National Park Service for this project over the past decade. He asked Peter May, associate regional director of the National Capital Region of the National Park Service, to introduce the submission; Mr. May asked Brig. Gen. (ret.) Carl Reddel, the executive director of the EMC, to begin the presentation.
Mr. Reddel thanked the people and government agencies that have supported the refinement of the design, including the Commission of Fine Arts for its professional collaboration and guidance. Observing the importance of this request for final approval, he noted that the Eisenhower Memorial would recognize a president who came from farther west in the United States than any president memorialized before; the memorial will therefore symbolically represent the central United States in the nation's capital. He added that Eisenhower was the last general to have served as president and the only president to have served in both World War I and World War II; as president during the Cold War, Eisenhower also played a major role in setting the strategy that eventually brought victory in that struggle. He introduced architect Craig Webb of Gehry Partners to present the design.
Mr. Webb observed that this is the fourteenth presentation of the Eisenhower Memorial to the Commission; he thanked the members for their guidance, which he said has helped to improve the design. He described the overall intent to create a memorial that will celebrate Eisenhower's contributions to the country as general and as president while also creating an urban park. He said that the design has a complex composition and narrative, with each piece contributing to the whole. The tapestry—the main element discussed in the consultation and review process—would depict the Kansas landscape and provide the thematic and physical backdrop to the site. The columns supporting the tapestry and the two freestanding columns in the foreground would create a rectangular space framing the memorial core, which itself would be key to the narrative.
Mr. Webb described how the memorial would serve as a focal point within the L'Enfant Plan, which he said is composed of key buildings and memorials along with the boulevards that connect them. He noted that Maryland Avenue mirrors the diagonal axis of Pennsylvania Avenue and provides an important view of the U.S. Capitol dome. Elements of the Eisenhower Memorial—the tree lines along the Maryland Avenue axis and the freestanding columns—would frame this view. The memorial's lighting design would also reinforce the L'Enfant Plan as part of an overall urban lighting concept, where structures serve as nodes connected along major avenues that are treated as corridors of light; he said that the lighting progresses from less light to more toward the focal point of the Capitol.
Mr. Webb said that the tapestry, depicting the Eisenhower farm in Abilene, Kansas, and the open Midwestern landscape, would provide a reference to Eisenhower's roots and the source of his values; the site's physical landscape would be related to the tapestry, and the association of the two would bring the Kansas landscape into the capital. The tapestry, woven of stainless steel wire, would depict an artistic interpretation of the Kansas landscape and not a specific photographic image. The fulcrum of the design would be Sergey Eylanbekov's sculpture of Eisenhower as a young adult gazing into the distance, symbolically looking toward his future; this statue would link Eisenhower's roots in the Midwest to his future as general and president, and would embody the idea that in America a person from a humble background can achieve greatness on the national stage.
Mr. Webb described how the concepts of threshold and layering have been used in the memorial's design. The buildings surrounding the site form an "urban room," and they also symbolize Eisenhower's contributions as president because of the agencies they house. The lines of street trees, reinforced by the addition of new trees, would act as a membrane connecting the memorial to the city streets, a layer that visitors must pass through to enter the site. The columns would define the inner urban space, termed the "memorial core," that occupies the central portion of the site; these columns, representing the two aspects of Eisenhower's contribution, would invite people into the site. The column on the west, the side of the memorial core devoted to Eisenhower as general, would bear a bronze depiction of the five-star cluster, representing his position as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during World War II. On the west side of the memorial core, a sculptural tableau of Eisenhower addressing the troops prior to the D-Day invasion would be placed in front of a limestone bas-relief of the invasion; on the reverse of the bas-relief panel would be an inscription of the Guildhall address, delivered by Eisenhower in London at the conclusion of World War II. On the east or presidential side of the memorial, the column would carry a bronze emblem of Eisenhower's inaugural medallion. The sculptural tableau on this side would depict Eisenhower with a group of advisors, indicating the collaborative nature of his presidency; the group would be balanced between military advisors on the right and civilian advisors on the left, indicating the balancing of military and civilian aspects of government. In response to the Commission's advice, he said that one of the advisors would now be depicted as African American. He added that the tableau has been refined to include a map of the world in bas-relief, framing the figures and creating a tighter composition; the bas-relief would be carved from the same limestone as the rest of the block, with continents given the same texture as the block itself and the oceans carved in shallow relief.
Mr. Webb said that the layout of the inscriptions has been revised, and he presented a full-size drawing of the central portion of a text panel, mounted on the wall to approximate its proposed actual height. In response to the Commission's previous concern about legibility; he said that the height of the letters has been reduced by an eighth of an inch to allow more space between lines. For comparison with the fourteen-foot width of the proposed text lines, he presented an image of the Second Inaugural Address inscription in the Lincoln Memorial. He said that the Lincoln quotation is composed of three text panels, with the center panel slightly wider at nearly thirteen feet; the text lines are more tightly spaced than in the proposed layout for the Eisenhower Memorial. He said that the inscriptions on the Eisenhower Memorial panels would begin approximately twelve feet above ground level and would continue down to approximately a foot above the ground.
Mr. Webb described a change made to the landscape design based on previous Commission comments: while the design of the main tree canopy remains the same, thirteen trees have been added to the understory to increase the sense of enclosure along the two approach walks. Another change in response to Commission comments is the location of the tactile sign for visually impaired people, sited near the information building on the southeast corner of the site. Previously shown as attached to the edge of a planter, the sign is now proposed to be freestanding and would have space beneath to allow for closer access by wheelchair users. In conclusion, Mr. Webb confirmed that the design team will return to the Commission with mockups for the tapestry, lighting, and sculpture.
Ms. Gilbert observed that the text on the inscription panels now appears more readable, and she asked if more space has been added on either side of the graphic device separating the discontinuous quotation passages; Mr. Webb responded that the spacing is comparable to what had been last presented, but the Commission was not previously provided with a drawing at full scale. Ms. Meyer asked how the treatment between passages was determined; Mr. Webb responded that a graphic symbol in the form of four diamonds would be used as an ellipsis representing a break in the text. Mr. Luebke clarified that the Commission considered this issue at its April 2015 meeting, with the conclusion that an ellipsis of three dots would be used to indicate an elision within a line, while a longer elision would be indicated by the four-diamond symbol with space to either side. Mr. Powell observed that periods seem to be placed closer than commas to the adjacent letters; Mr. Krieger added that the periods also appear to be smaller than the commas. Mr. Webb responded that stonecarver Nicholas Benson was unable to attend this meeting, but the design team would follow up with a response to these comments.
Mr. Luebke summarized the previous Commission comments and noted that many adjustments have been made to the landscape design in response. He said that the Commission members had raised questions about the signage, particularly the tactile sign which has been revised. They had also questioned the choice to depict window drapes in the presidential bas-relief, and these have been replaced with the relief map of the world. The Commission's concerns with the text for the inscription panels have been addressed through the full-size mockup illustrating a revised layout. Mr. Luebke said at the last month's review the Commission had considered and approved the proposed treatment of emblems on the freestanding columns and the revised design of the large lettering proposed for the title inscription on the rear overlook.
Chairman Powell asked for public testimony. Justin Shubow presented a statement on behalf of the National Civic Art Society. Mr. Shubow said that the Commission would undoubtedly give final approval to this design by Frank Gehry, but the Commission members are among the only experts who have responded favorably to this design. He quoted several leading critics who have written unfavorably about the proposal, including former Commission member Witold Rybczynski. Mr. Shubow condemned the central figure of Eisenhower for its "lack of gravitas" and said that the other proposed sculpture is amateurish. He emphasized that the proposal rejects the context of Washington's monumental core and would harm the L'Enfant and McMillan Plans. Criticizing other recent national memorials in Washington, from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, he said that if important civic art reflects who Americans are as people, then the country appears to be in decline. He quoted a statement by the Chinese president disparaging that country's recent memorials and said this indicates that China has a better understanding than the United States of the role architecture plays in the political realm.
Mr. Krieger opened the Commission's discussion with the recommendation that the emblems of Eisenhower as president and as general be displayed on the east and west sides of the two freestanding columns instead of only on the south sides. He said that visitors would then see the emblems both as they approach the memorial and from within the memorial core. Mr. Webb responded that the emblems are proposed for the south sides so that they will face the diagonal walks that would be used by visitors entering the site. Ms. Meyer commented that at the previous review she had been persuaded by Mr. Webb's argument that placing the emblems on the south side makes sense because ample space is available on the south for people to stand. Mr. Krieger suggested that people would approach the memorial core from the east and the west, not the south, and he reiterated that emblems on these sides of the columns would make the greatest impression.
Mr. Krieger provided an overall comment that the memorial concept has been steadily improved through refinement, and he supported approval subject to review of the final mockups. Ms. Meyer agreed the memorial design had been improved. She expressed appreciation for the intent to create a great urban park, and she noted a shift through the design process from focusing on the sculpture and the tapestry to thinking about the larger urban square. She commented that flourishing societies create art of their own time; she praised the experimentation of the design and the evident desire of the project team to transcend historic formulas for this national, urban memorial. She emphasized her support for the park and for the memorial's artistry.
Mr. Krieger commented that the formerly controversial tapestry creates a successful background to the memorial and is one of its most remarkable elements. He agreed with Ms. Meyer that the design of the park is as important as the representation of Eisenhower in his dual roles, and that the project will be a great contribution to the city.
Mr. Dunson commented that he had only recently been appointed to the Commission but is nonetheless impressed with the responsiveness of the project team to the Commission's comments; he said that the design reflects a deep understanding of Eisenhower. Ms. Gilbert said that it will be beautiful to experience the memorial as a series of planted and architectural layers. Mr. Freelon endorsed the comments of his colleagues, adding that the project team has skillfully integrated the design's utilitarian and security elements.
Mr. Krieger noted that he has a son only a little older than the age of Eisenhower as represented in the memorial's central statue. He commented that he would be pleased to have his son stand in front of the statue to imagine how he too might contribute to the world—a fundamental American idea that Mr. Krieger called one of his favorite aspects of the memorial.
Upon a motion by Ms. Meyer with second by Mr. Freelon, the Commission approved the final design for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial, contingent on seeing mockups for details of the tapestry, lighting, and other elements, and with some further consideration of where the emblems might be placed on the two freestanding columns.
D. National Park Service / District of Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation
CFA 18/JUN/15-6, East Potomac Park Aquatic Center, 972 Ohio Drive, SW. Replacement pool house and swimming pool. Concept. Mr. Lindstrom introduced the proposal to reconstruct an existing swimming pool and pool house in East Potomac Park. He noted that the site is under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, while the swimming facility is owned and managed by the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation. He said that the existing pool dates from the 1930s and has been leaking, which has been addressed with an unusual-looking aluminum liner in the pool; the facility is in poor condition overall. He added that the project was initially conceived as part of Washington's bid to host the Olympic Games. He asked Peter May of the National Park Service to begin the presentation. Mr. May noted that the agreement for the D.C. government's operation of the facility dates from 1949. He introduced architect Eliel Alfon of Hughes Group Architects to present the proposal.
Mr. Alfon noted the ongoing coordination of the project with the Commission staff, the National Park Service, the D.C. Historic Preservation Office, and the dual clients of the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation and the D.C. Department of General Services. He indicated the context of the East Potomac Park golf course. He presented the 1930s master plan for the complex and indicated the portions that were built, the pool and two symmetrically sited support buildings. These two buildings, not affected by the current project, contain the pro shop associated with the golf course and a facility for the National Park Service police. He indicated the current pool house, which was constructed in the later 20th century on part of the site of the master plan's unexecuted central pavilion; this pool house, along with the pool and pool deck, would be demolished and replaced in the current proposal. He said that the strong symmetry of the 1930s master plan forms the basis of the current proposal. The proposed pool house would include two wings with locker rooms, flanking a central breezeway that leads to the fifty-meter-long pool. The facility is designed to host competitions, and the proposal includes seating for 300 spectators. He indicated the diving platforms at various heights as well as a seating area for teams.
Mr. Alfon described the layout of the pool house and its use by the public. A control booth would be located along the central axis of the breezeway, and people would be directed to the men's and women's locker rooms at each side. An additional booth along the central axis would serve as a safety center with a view of the pool. Before reaching the locker room entrances, spectators would be directed to colonnades along the pool house wings to reach ramps at the outer ends of the facility, providing access to the spectator seating. He indicated a decorative railing that screens the central axis from the pool, intended to discourage children from running directly toward this deep portion of the pool as they arrive through the breezeway. He said that the artistic treatment of this railing would be part of the required one-percent budget expenditure for artwork in the project.
Mr. Alfon indicated other features of the project, including a transparent vaulted roof over the breezeway. The proposed entrance plaza, flanked by the two 1930s buildings, would include lawn panels and a double allée of trees along the central walkway that leads from the existing parking area to the proposed pool house. He provided perspective views of the approach from the parking lot and of the colonnades that would lead to the spectator seating, echoing the colonnade of the existing pool house. He said that the fenced service areas would be screened by graphic panels or banners. He concluded by describing the proposed exterior material of ground-face concrete block, intended to emulate the color and texture of the adjacent 1930s buildings that would remain.
Mr. Freelon expressed support for the symmetrical configuration of the proposal, and he encouraged continued focus on this simple organizing concept as the design is developed further. He also supported the placement of a fabric roof over the spectator seating to provide shade, but he said that its extent would be insufficient to provide adequate summer shade for this southwest exposure. Mr. Alfon acknowledged this concern but said that the roof could not be extended further. Mr. Freelon emphasized that the problem of shade must be addressed and the current proposal is inadequate; he recommended further study of the sun angle data.
Ms. Gilbert observed that cars would be parked immediately adjacent to the sidewalk along the entrance plaza, and she suggested providing a vegetated edge so that the plaza areas beneath the trees would be more enjoyable for people to use. She said that these shaded areas are an important opportunity, perhaps providing a place for people to eat that is away from the pool area. Mr. Alfon noted that the project includes a sales area for refreshments, which he confirmed would not be permitted in the pool area but could be consumed at the spectator seating or elsewhere on the site. Ms. Gilbert commented that the proposed benches along the entrance walk could be sited to take better advantage of the shade provided by the trees.
Ms. Meyer said that the symmetrical organization of the design is distinct from the issue of designing a comfortable approach to the pool house; while these issues can be compatible, the design of the plaza could be adjusted slightly to improve the comfort of this area. She suggested repositioning the tree locations to provide more shade for the entrance walk, without necessarily having to change the total number of proposed trees. She noted that this guidance parallels Mr. Freelon's request to study the sun angle data more carefully in order to position the roof to provide adequate shade for the spectator seating area, without necessarily having to increase the size of the roof.
Ms. Gilbert commented that the artistic railing on the central axis could be treated as just a simple fence; Mr. Alfon responded that it is currently shown as a translucent material but could be developed as an all-metal structure. Mr. Krieger observed that the project includes numerous site screens and railings, and he recommended allowing a sufficient budget for refined detailing of these features, regardless of whether the railing on the central axis is treated as artwork or as a simple fence. He emphasized that the site should not end up with a profusion of chain-link fencing, and he said that the quality of the visitor's experience will depend on the detailing; he requested that this be part of the next review.
Mr. Dunson asked for further information about proposed materials and the extent of the sitework. Mr. Alfon indicated the translucent vaulted roof and the fabric roof above the spectator seating; the remaining roof areas would be flat with numerous vents above the locker rooms. He indicated the limited extent of the proposed sitework, which does not include the existing parking lot. Mr. Dunson recommended further refinement of the vaulted roof; he suggested that it be raised above the adjacent buildings to give it a sense of loftiness and prominence, observing its importance in defining the perspective view along the entrance axis. He described the proposed configuration of this roof as seeming to be pressed down too tightly on the flanking buildings; he suggested that the vault have a sense of freedom and playfulness comparable to the fabric roof that is proposed above the seating. Mr. Alfon responded that a more sculptural form was considered for the vaulted roof, but the proposed shape is more realistic; Mr. Dunson supported the shape but emphasized that the concern is how it rests on the buildings.
Mr. Dunson commented that the two booths beneath the vaulted roof appear to be too rectilinear; he suggested a softer design with curves in order to ease the rigor of the symmetry. He acknowledged that these booths may have tight programmatic requirements and are constrained by the necessary width of the adjacent visitor circulation areas, but he recommended further consideration of their design.
Chairman Powell noted the range of comments and suggested approval of the concept proposal subject to further review of the design response. Upon a motion by Mr. Krieger with second by Mr. Dunson, the Commission adopted this action.
E. Smithsonian Institution
CFA 18/JUN/15-7, National Air and Space Museum. Independence Avenue at 6th Street, SW. Replacement of building exterior and terraces, including new entrance vestibules with canopies. Concept. (Previous: CFA 17/JUL/14-5, Information presentation on NASM facilities master plan.) Ms. Batcheler introduced the concept proposal for modifications to National Air and Space Museum (NASM) building and site; the proposal results from a comprehensive master planning study that was presented to the Commission in July 2014. She summarized the scope of replacing the building's exterior envelope and terraces, adding entrance structures on two sides, and installing photovoltaic panels on the roof and south facade. She asked Ann Trowbridge, Associate Director for Planning at the Smithsonian Institution, to begin the presentation. (Mr. Freelon was recused from participation in the review of this project.)
Ms. Trowbridge said that a key issue in the project is the replacement of the stone facades. During the master planning process, the new material had not yet been determined; the proposal now is to use the same type of Tennessee Pink marble at twice the thickness of the inadequate existing panels—2.5 inches instead of 1.25 inches. She said that the quarry for the stone is a small operation that requires a long lead time for providing this large amount of material, and she requested the Commission's guidance on whether the proposal to use this stone is acceptable. She added that the same stone would also be used on the vertical faces of the terraces. She said that the D.C. Historic Preservation Office has expressed concern about the proposal for photovoltaic panels on the south facade, and she requested the Commission's guidance on how best to balance the energy needs with preservation of this potentially historic building. She added that the project scope also includes revitalization of the building's mechanical systems. She introduced Larry Barr of Quinn Evans Architects and landscape architect Roger Courtenay of AECOM to present the design.
Mr. Courtenay provided an overview of the context, noting the museum's clear relationship in massing and siting to the National Gallery of Art West Building to the north across the Mall. He presented the planting plan from the 1972 construction documents for the museum, describing it as relatively floral and informal—a design approach that would likely not be used today. He indicated the separation of the site areas to the east and west of the museum from the building's entrance plazas at the center of the north and south facades; circulation around the site requires using the sidewalks along the surrounding streets. He described the extent of the underground parking level, extending beneath much of the terrace area, which affects the layout of planters in the site design. He said that the waterproofing below the terraces is failing and needs to be replaced; this anticipated construction work across the site provides the opportunity to improve the site design to provide better functional connections, human comfort, and aesthetic quality. He indicated the grade change across the site; the Mall entrance—used by approximately three-quarters of visitors—is six feet above the sidewalk, and the Independence Avenue entrance is four feet above the sidewalk.
Mr. Courtenay presented photographs of the landscape design as originally installed. He indicated the poor sightlines to the building and its entrances due to the placement of trees and the design of planters, and he said that wayfinding and orientation remain problematic on the site. At the north entrance plaza, he said that the landscape overwhelms the human experience and provides little visual connectivity to the Mall. He added that the planting in some areas is failing, in addition to the aesthetic issues. He presented a section illustrating the relationship of existing planters to the below-grade parking level and to sightlines toward the museum. He said that parts of the terrace slab could be lowered, reducing the height of corresponding portions of the parking level that are outside of the drive lanes; this change would provide the opportunity for accommodating larger root volumes near the building, with a resulting opportunity to open up sightlines nearer to the sidewalks where taller plantings are currently located.
Mr. Courtenay presented the resulting proposal for the site landscape, with an increased emphasis on trees to unify the site and to provide more shade for human comfort. The four corners of the site would have paved areas along with a distinctive landscape treatment, and a different planting design would be used around the museum entrances. He said that a more detailed planting plan is still being coordinated with the Smithsonian's gardening staff. The planters would be redesigned to express a stronger base for the museum building; the terrace balustrades would provide a datum extending around the site, and the planters would provide a varying secondary datum that steps down in some locations. The site design would also improve barrier-free access to all terrace areas and to the museum entrances, providing sloped walks that are consistent with the massing of the planters. He presented a series of views comparing the existing and proposed conditions around the site, indicating the improved circulation pattern and sightlines between the corners of the site and the building entrances. He said that the terraces would be more animated with use as a result of the new design. He noted that the Independence Avenue frontage is more tightly constrained, and the planters would be half the width of those on the Mall frontage. He said that the proposed site details relate to the building architecture, such as the proportions of the museum's upper balconies, to provide a more consistent vocabulary that would improve visitor orientation and wayfinding. He said that the more geometric design approach for the proposed landscape would be appropriate with the strong geometry of the building.
Mr. Courtenay presented the proposed perimeter security for the museum, providing a comparison with the existing barrier line. The planter walls would continue to provide much of the barrier protection, with some changes to accommodate the more open treatment at the corners of the site. He said that several options for perimeter security at the Mall entrance are still being considered, and he noted that the project does not include alterations to the sidewalks or streetscapes around the site. He noted that the treatment along Independence Avenue is constrained by the location of utilities, and the avenue width may be narrowed in the future in accordance with studies by other D.C. and federal agencies.
Mr. Barr presented the architectural proposals, beginning with the vestibules for security screening at the north and south entrances. He noted that the screening function was not part of the original program for the museum; this modern requirement, in conjunction with the museum being much more popular than originally anticipated, has resulted in an inhospitable entry experience with visitors waiting in long lines while exposed to the weather. He said that the current configuration of visitor screening on the north side results in visitors being 25 feet inside the central exhibit gallery before being able to appreciate the space, resulting in an unsatisfactory museum experience. The master plan calls for adding 2,000 feet or more of enclosed space for queuing and screening at the north entrance, in addition to covered outdoor space that would be protected from direct sunlight. The program for the south entrance, with fewer visitors, includes adding nearly 2,000 square feet; the existing interior configuration at the south entrance allows for a better transition zone.
Mr. Barr said that the proposed north vestibule encompasses approximately 3,000 square feet—larger than the program area in order to provide an adequate transition into the museum gallery space. He said that the design of the proposed vestibules is derived from the museum's subject of flight, with a light and airy architectural concept that would not overwhelm the existing building. He described the transparency of the vestibules and the thinness of the leading edge of the roofline; the curvilinear forms are intended to mediate between the organic character of the landscape and the orthogonal form of the building. The rectangular areas for the security screening equipment would be part of this transition of geometries. He indicated the structural frame system supporting the vestibule roofs, related to the spaceframes of the museum's large exhibit galleries; the structure would moderate the scale of the vestibules. He described the overall entry experience of moving from the soaring space beneath the vestibule canopy to the constricted space of the screening area, then to the museum gallery spaces.
Mr. Barr noted the concern of various review agencies that the scale of the north entrance vestibule may be too large. He presented a series of studies showing variations of the design, and he said that the currently proposed solution is moderately smaller than was being shown in previous months. He indicated the resulting change in the architectural form and described it as appropriate to the context; he said that studies of further size reductions were aesthetically unsatisfactory because the vestibule appeared too diminutive in relation to the building. He presented a section through both of the museum entrances, indicating the different architectural and site conditions on the north and south sides and the resulting difference in the proposed vestibule designs.
Mr. Barr presented the proposed cladding system for the facades. He emphasized that the existing system of stone panels has failed and cannot be reused; the problems include the thinness of the stone and the application of insulation backing that exacerbates the damage to the panels. The proposed doubling of the stone's thickness to 2.5 inches would result in a slight expansion of the building volume, resulting in numerous design challenges at many locations around the building. The glazing would be replaced, allowing for an updated treatment of humidity within the museum. He said that the previous glazing replacement in 2000—including the skylights as well as the curtainwall—while improving the protection of the museum exhibits from the harmful effects of light, resulted in a much darker interior than in the original design. The proposed glazing, making use of newer technology, would be approximately ten percent more transparent than the 2000 installation, although not as transparent as in the original design; the proposed glazing would also provide better protection for the exhibits.
Mr. Barr said that the proposed rooftop photovoltaic system would take advantage of the museum's large roof area, accommodating 1,300 panels placed on a structural frame to avoid adding weight directly onto the roof. The system would generate 630,000 kilowatt-hours per year, which he described as a significant amount that would offset approximately seven to ten percent of the museum's electrical load after completion of the renovation. Based on staff-level consultations, the design approach is to set the panels back from the roof edge so that they will not be seen from ground-level areas near the building.
Mr. Barr said that the museum's configuration with seven large stone-clad volumes along the south facade provides an additional opportunity for photovoltaic panels. These would provide a more visible link to the museum's mission: he noted that photovoltaic cells were invented for use on satellites. He presented the design proposal for panels on the three intermediate volumes, while omitting the panels from the four major volumes. He also presented an earlier study to clad the volumes entirely in the photovoltaic panels instead of replacing the stone, but he said that this was seen as excessively changing the building's architectural character. The proposal would use light-colored panels for better compatibility with the architecture, resulting in an efficiency of approximately sixty percent which he said is satisfactory.
Chairman Powell noted the importance of the decision to use Tennessee Pink marble for the recladding; Mr. Barr said that this preference is almost certain. Mr. Luebke said that the issues previously discussed had included availability of the stone—which was addressed in the presentation—as well as the added weight of thicker stone; Mr. Barr confirmed that this concern has now been resolved. Mr. Luebke also noted the Commission's previous guidance to consider other materials for the facades; these alternatives are illustrated in the project booklet but were not presented. Mr. Krieger observed that the project would be complex and costly, and he asked about sequencing; Ms. Trowbridge responded that one scenario is for the construction process to move around the building, with at least half of the museum being open to the public at each stage. Mr. Barr added that the terrace may not be able to support the weight of construction equipment, and its replacement may be done last to avoid damaging the new work. He said that the construction process has many challenges but they can be resolved. Mr. Powell asked if a cheaper alternative could be to demolish the building and construct a new museum. Ms. Trowbridge acknowledged the costliness of the project—approximately half the cost of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture—but emphasized that the project also includes air handling and stormwater management systems. She added that renovation of the exhibits is also anticipated and would be funded through private donations. She said that a completely new museum building is not considered a viable option due to the desire to maintain public access; a lengthy closure of the museum would inconvenience the public and would raise problems of relocating the exhibits and staff. Mr. Barr said that the option was studied of temporarily closing the museum and moving out all of the exhibits in order to undertake the entire renovation project at once, but the lengthy timeframe was unacceptable. Ms. Trowbridge added that the existing museum design functions well: consultation with museum staff during the master planning phase resulted in surprisingly little concern with the museum's internal configuration, other than perhaps relocating the retail area. She noted that the master plan includes a long-term project for a planetarium addition at the east end of the museum.
Ms. Meyer questioned the role of preservation in the design strategy for the project, criticizing the apparent fixation on the surface material. She observed that the terraces would be extensively redesigned to address perceived problems of access and visibility; the building's appearance would be changed by the addition of vestibules and solar panels; the relationship of architectural volumes would change due to the thicker facade stone; and yet the major concern is apparently with maintaining the surface material of Tennessee Pink marble. She said that the integrity of the design is not being preserved even though the original material would be used, and she described the overall philosophy of the design as odd. She expressed regret that alternative facade materials were not explored more seriously, as previously requested by the Commission. She nonetheless accepted that the intent is to use marble, and she recommended that the elements to be added to it—solar panels and entrance canopies—be better integrated with the stone facades. She said that the current proposal appears to be the work of two architects, one designing the stone facades and the other designing the added elements. She said that the landscape strategy is far more successful, providing a seamless response to a range of site design issues, but this success is not yet apparent in the building proposal.
Mr. Krieger asked if this guidance calls for less or more focus on preservation. Ms. Meyer said that the issue is an overly narrow preservation strategy that focuses on the marble cladding while being unconcerned that the character of the building would change dramatically. She added that the proposal raises the interesting question of what is being preserved, since the project would alter the building's volumes which are key to the architectural integrity. Mr. Krieger said that the slight dimensional changes would probably not be noticed, and he questioned what needs to be preserved in this building. Preserving the legacy of the original architect might be a goal, but he observed that the existing design expresses nothing about flight. He said that the need for extensive reconstruction provides an opportunity to relate the design to the museum's mission, such as through display of photovoltaic panels that were invented for the space program. He said that new elements such as the rooftop photovoltaic panels don't need to be hidden, and he encouraged giving visibility to the updated relationship of the building to its purpose. He said that the design could express what the building should have always been, rather than what was actually designed in the early 1970s: he recommended a design that evokes flight and space exploration instead of reconstructing a large stone box. He also supported Ms. Meyer's recommendation to better integrate the vestibules and solar panels with the stone facades, expressing confidence that such issues would be resolved in the design process. He said that the project is moving in the right direction, and he encouraged more boldness rather than subtlety in the design.
Mr. Krieger summarized his guidance for a less preservation-oriented approach that would improve the relationship of the building to the museum within. Ms. Meyer said that this goal was the reason for the Commission's past encouragement of exploring other exterior materials, such as ceramic or titanium. Mr. Krieger confirmed his agreement with Ms. Meyers and asked why the project moved toward using the same stone. Ms. Trowbridge responded that the D.C. Historic Preservation Office advised that changing the exterior material would constitute an adverse effect for purposes of the preservation review process. She said that the building contributes to the historic district of the National Mall, and the building is also approaching the fifty-year age when it could normally be considered for listing on the National Register of Historic Places; she said that this listing is likely due to the importance of the building's architecture and function, and the Smithsonian therefore treats it as a protected building. Ms. Meyer commented that opinions can vary within the historic preservation field on the appropriate treatment of this project; Mr. Krieger and Mr. Powell agreed. Ms. Trowbridge summarized the Smithsonian's selected approach of replacing the marble facades with the original type of stone, while designing the additions such as vestibules to have a contrasting design character.
Ms. Gilbert asked if the terrace walls could be designed with a different material than marble; Ms. Trowbridge responded that this could raise similar concerns with the D.C. Historic Preservation Office. She added that the proposal is intended to preserve the role of the terrace walls in providing a strong horizontal base for the building, while reconfiguring the site design to improve accessibility and other benefits that were presented.
Mr. Powell supported the recommendation to continue exploring alternative facade materials. Mr. Krieger asked how a Commission action could encourage consideration of other materials; Mr. Luebke said that this guidance could be factored into the multiple regulatory review processes that are currently underway for the project.
Ms. Meyer emphasized the evident care and competence of the design team, as well as the building's inherent interest. She said that her comments were more about the philosophical issues of the project than a critique of the design skill, and she reiterated her advice that any choice of facade materials should be better integrated with the other design elements. Mr. Powell agreed that the project raises interesting philosophical issues. Ms. Meyer expressed enthusiasm for the potential to design features, such as photovoltaic panels, that are both physical elements and a part of the building's performance.
Ms. Gilbert observed that the redesigned terraces would create new opportunities for people to move around the building; she asked if the circulation route could be developed as a more interesting and educational experience. Mr. Krieger said that the preservation focus on the marble exterior may have the benefit of giving more freedom in the design of other parts of the project. He said that these issues are a question of strategy for the Smithsonian; Ms. Trowbridge responded that these questions are being explored through the ongoing public processes for environmental and historic preservation review.
Mr. Krieger asked if the height and design of site walls is determined by their role as a perimeter security barrier, or if some of the walls could instead be designed as railings. He noted that the Commission continues to see too many walls as part of site design projects. Mr. Courtenay said that numerous issues are involved, including structural integrity of the system, perimeter security, and the desire to step the wall heights. Mr. Krieger encouraged further study of the planters and site walls. Mr. Courtenay emphasized the overall modernist design aesthetic of the building resting on a strongly expressed horizontal plinth, and he said that the integrity of this concept is an important goal. Mr. Krieger said that the issue of a horizontal plinth may be separate from the treatment of the vertical site walls.
Mr. Krieger offered a motion to approve the concept including support for the proposed terraces and architectural additions, and to support the proposal for Tennessee Pink marble while encouraging continued exploration of alternative facade materials. Upon a second by Mr. Powell, the Commission adopted this action. Mr. Freelon noted his recusal for this project.
F. United States Institute of Peace
CFA 18/JUN/15-8, Potomac Annex Building 6 and Building 7, 23rd and C Streets, NW (north of the USIP Headquarters). Building renovations and additions. Concept. Mr. Lindstrom introduced the proposal from the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) for the rehabilitation of and additions to Buildings 6 and 7 at the Potomac Annex on 23rd Street, immediately north of the USIP headquarters building. He asked Donna Ramsey-Marshall, director of administration for the USIP, and Joanna Schmickel of Cox Graae + Spack Architects to present the proposal.
Ms. Ramsey-Marshall said that these two buildings were transferred to the USIP in October 2012. The rehabilitation project would bring them into conformance with building code requirements and would add a connecting structure to the headquarters building while respecting the historic character of the Potomac Annex structures.
Ms. Schmickel described the site, historically the southern part of the Navy's Medicine and Surgery Bureau. Between Building 6 on the west and Building 7 on the east is a parking lot that wraps around the south side of Building 6. A retaining wall marks the south end of the site, and south of the wall is a driveway leading into the parking garage and service yard of the USIP headquarters.
Ms. Schmickel said that Buildings 6 and 7 are both are constructed of pale yellow brick and have hipped roofs which were recently covered with synthetic slate. She described Building 6 as a three-story H-plan structure with two parallel wings and a central hyphen, once an open breezeway which is now enclosed. Because of the sloping grade, the main entrance level of Building 6 is on the north side at the second story. Building 7 is a four-story structure that also has its main entrance on the second floor because the grade slopes down to the east and south, exposing a lower level.
Ms. Schmickel said that the third floor of the USIP headquarters building aligns with the first floor levels of the historic buildings, and a glass-enclosed walkway and arcade would be built to connect the first floors of Buildings 6 and 7 to each other and to the headquarters building. She said that the design of this connection would be simple and understated, allowing the historic building details to remain visible. For example, the enclosure walls would not interrupt the windows or corner quoins of the historic buildings; instead, the enclosure would be pulled away from the building edges, creating slots or indentations between the glass and the masonry walls. The design would relate to the existing rhythm established by concrete piers and site walls. The open space between Buildings 6 and 7 would be filled to the level of the second floors; a plaza is proposed in this space, with seating along retaining walls and a terraced lower lawn in the shape of an oval. Both buildings would have barrier-free entrances from the oval.
Ms. Schmickel described the proposed rehabilitation of the historic buildings. Brick would be repaired and cleaned, and cornices and other wooden elements would be repaired where necessary. Most windows would be replaced with new windows that are consistent with historic treatments; some doors would be replaced with windows to match existing historic openings. She said that both buildings have wooden balustrades with many missing or damaged pieces; these balustrades would be replaced with synthetic materials replicating the historic forms. Other deteriorated features, such as walks, would be rebuilt.
Ms. Schmickel indicated a projecting one-story block on the south side of Building 6; a small addition to the side of this block would be removed, and an egress stair would be added inside. The north side of Building 6 has a two-story portico; a storefront system has been inserted within the columns as the entrance, and this will be replaced with a new storefront system. The existing metal egress stair extending between two of the columns to a second story porch will be removed. The wooden egress stair on the north side of Building 7 would be removed and replaced with a new stair in a simple glass enclosure. The existing retaining wall and existing walled patio would be replaced in the same locations, and a lightwell would be created parallel to the retaining wall.
Holt Jordan of Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture presented the site design, which is intended to respect both the contemporary design of the headquarters building and the context of the two historic buildings. He said that the space between the two buildings would be treated as a garden plaza, with ramped walls around a central oval lawn creating an amphitheater to accommodate meetings and receptions. The largely traditional plant palette would form an all-season garden with areas of varying character. Many plantings would be the same as or similar to those used in the rain gardens around the USIP headquarters building and would similarly contribute to stormwater management. Trees would include river birches planted at the points where walks enter the space; other proposed tree species include yellowwood, black gum, and willow oaks, along with numerous native and non-native flowering trees. Some trees, such as deodar cedar, will be planted as dramatic accents. Shrubs with long blooming periods and both native and introduced perennials would also be planted; alliums or chives and sedums would be planted on the arcade's green roof.
Mr. Freelon asked if the detailing of the new glass enclosures would be identical at each building. Ms. Schmickel responded that the roof edges would be treated identically, but the detailing of how the enclosures meet the existing building walls would differ depending on particular conditions such as the corner quoining. Mr. Freelon noted the numerous modern glass facade elements in the project and recommended detailing them as similarly as possible to unify the new interventions.
Mr. Krieger supported this recommendation and asked if any details of the proposed glass elements would be similar to those of the headquarters building. Ms. Schmickel replied that they are not, noting that the headquarters building is structurally glazed rather than conventional curtainwall with a mullion cap; the headquarters building also has a more extensive structural system behind its multistory curtainwall glazing. She said that the new elements—designed as tight, clean, glassy enclosures between masonry volumes—would resemble the headquarters building but would use a more straightforward system instead of a custom design.
Mr. Krieger asked about the glass color selected for the new enclosures, noting that the project will use glass as a "suturing" device between a very modern building and two historic structures. He suggested using glass of similar color or reflectivity to relate to the headquarters structure. Ms. Schmickel responded that the intent is to marry these buildings together, and different types of glass are being considered including high-performance glass for solar protection and glass with ceramic frit or another type of sunscreen. Mr. Freelon recommended matching the details of the headquarters building in the new structures, such as railing systems and paving materials. Ms. Schmickel responded that this approach is being used for the site walls, which will use an architectural concrete of similarly high quality as the site walls of the headquarters building. She added that the landscape is influenced by the landscape around the headquarters building, while probably using hardier native plants.
Mr. Krieger asked about use of the roof above the new connecting structure; Ms. Schmickel responded that people would be able to walk on it, adding that the membrane roof would be clad with metal panels to improve its appearance. Mr. Krieger asked if people would also be able to circulate between buildings at this upper level of the connecting structure, so that the entire connecting system would function on two levels. Ms. Schmickel responded that the buildings do not align well enough in section to permit this; the upper connection would need to be higher at the headquarters building. Mr. Krieger commented that a more detailed section would have explained this condition.
Ms. Gilbert observed that the landscape design results from the circulation layout and how people would enter the landscape. However, she said that the space does not seem integrated, and many of the proposed trees are relegated to the edges. She provided several recommendations for improving this area: treating the landscape as a grove rather than a plaza by giving trees a dominant role; emphasizing verticality and a sense of enclosure; and using fewer species instead of a few specimens of many species. She commented that walking across this space, glimpsing views between the trees, would be a beautiful experience.
Ms. Meyer observed that the proposal for this area is a hybrid of a garden and a plaza; the central oval figure is poorly defined and does not have an easy relationship with the two buildings. She recommended conceiving of the oval as a figure defined by a grove within it, instead of as a void shaped by a dense foundation planting of shrubs and trees. She advised against planting trees around the perimeter to form a clearing but instead recommended pulling the plantings slightly away from the two buildings, allowing them enough space to be seen. She commented that the two walks have an awkward relation with the central oval—they are too wide and thick, impairing the oval's potentially elegant geometry. To improve the connections, she recommended shifting the oval to reposition its long axis and making the central oval a plaza instead of a lawn surrounded by a walk. She commented that the grading plan has been done well but results in an odd plan condition.
Ms. Ramsey-Marshall responded that the USIP intends to set up tents on the garden plaza for occasional outdoor functions, which affects the proposal for plantings. Ms. Meyer said that plazas are uncomfortable in Washington summers, and the issue is to weigh the relative importance of being able to put up an occasional tent in comparison to planting a grove that is always available as a cooler area. Ms. Schmickel suggested that the plaza could include a grove of trees; Ms. Meyer and Mr. Krieger supported this approach. Ms. Meyer concluded that care had been taken in the details of the proposed architectural work for these historic buildings, and she said that the same care is needed for the landscape design.
Mr. Krieger observed that the oval is neither a richly landscaped garden nor a minimally laid-out plaza that can accommodate a wide range of activities; he recommended giving more thought to its nature and function. He asked whether any additional planting or screening is proposed for the rest of the site; Ms. Schmickel responded that most existing trees on the site would remain, and not much additional planting is proposed.
Mr. Luebke asked whether security barriers would be added around the site. Ms. Schmickel responded that the existing fence along 23rd Street would remain; other fences do not need to be secure barriers because they adjoin USIP property or a secured area that will be occupied by the State Department.
Chairman Powell said that the proposal is a good concept and it has elicited valuable comments from the Commission members; he recommended approval. Upon a second by Mr. Freelon, the Commission adopted this action.
G. Department of the Navy
CFA 18/JUN/15-9, Defense Intelligence Agency Parking Garage, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, 200 MacDill Boulevard, SW. New multi-level parking garage. Final. (Previous: CFA 21/NOV/13- 4.) The Commission acted on the submission earlier in the meeting without a presentation, following agenda item II.A.
H. D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
1. CFA 18/JUN/15-10, Delano Hall–Building 11, Main Drive, NW (on the campus of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center). Building renovation and additions for two public charter schools. Concept. The Commission acted on the submission earlier in the meeting without a presentation, following agenda item II.A.
2. CFA 18/JUN/15-11, Wharf–Fish Market, 1100 Maine Avenue, SW. New retail buildings, distillery, plaza, and restoration of the Fish Cleaning Building. Concept. Ms. Batcheler introduced the concept proposal for redevelopment of the historic Maine Avenue Fish Market at the northwestern end of The Wharf, an extensive redevelopment project along the Southwest Waterfront. She said that the fish market is adjacent to the site of the next agenda item, a proposed office building on Parcel 1 of The Wharf, and neither of these projects has previously been presented to the Commission beyond the overall master plan for the area. She said that this fish market is the oldest continuously operating open-air retail seafood market in the United States; much of the original market was demolished for construction of Case Bridge immediately to the north. This project involves redevelopment of the land portion of the market, excluding the piers where fish vendors are berthed on floating barges. She asked Matt Steenhoek of Hoffman-Madison Waterfront, the developer of The Wharf, to begin the presentation.
Mr. Steenhoek summarized the overall extent of The Wharf, comprising 27 acres on land and 49 acres on the water, with the first phase currently under construction. He indicated the context including Maine Avenue to the northeast, the Washington Channel to the southwest, and Case Bridge on the north edge of the fish market. He introduced architectural historian Emily Eig of EHT Traceries, Jonathan Fitch of Landscape Architecture Bureau, and David Bagnoli of McGraw Bagnoli Architects to present the background and proposal for the fish market.
Ms. Eig said that the fish market, dating from the late 18th century, was reconstructed following a 1916 Congressional mandate. Most of the early-20th-century improvements were demolished during the Southwest urban renewal, and only two buildings remain from that era: a lunchroom and an adjacent oyster shed, both located in the center of the site. She said that the oyster shed was originally an open structure with four corner posts supporting a roof; it was later enclosed. More broadly, she said that the fish market was the only site in the area that was not sold for private development as part of the 1950s urban renewal; it remained under federal control until recently and is now owned by the District of Columbia. She noted that the project team has been working with the DC Historic Preservation Office, which supports restoration of the older structures as a central part of the program for the future treatment of the fish market.
Mr. Fitch described the site's existing conditions as "scruffy" but emphasized that the market is well loved by the public; he attributed this in part to its authentic appearance, which the vendors themselves want to maintain. He indicated the site's relationship to Banneker Overlook to the northeast across Maine Avenue, connecting to the 10th Street Promenade that leads to the National Mall. A new temporary stair and walk will descend from the Overlook and connect with crosswalks leading into "Market Square." Case Bridge, carrying I-395 across the Washington Channel, connects with the 14th Street bridge complex that crosses the Potomac River; he noted the separate proposal to provide nighttime accent lighting on Case Bridge, a concept recently approved by the Commission. He presented several precedents of successful public spaces that were studied for this project; he emphasized that the goal is to retain the appearance of a working market, rather than a festival waterfront marketplace such as Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
Mr. Fitch presented the components of the project. The area of "Market Plaza" would include slightly less than 5,000 square feet, with the two rehabilitated historic buildings occupying the center of the plaza. The "Fish Market Promenade," a continuation of the Wharf Promenade along the waterfront, would extend through Market Plaza and along the vendors' barges. Directly southeast of Market Plaza would be Market Square and "Market Pier," part of the overall set of waterfront connections for The Wharf; within Market Square would be the market hall structure with retail stalls, and southeast of Market Square is Parcel 1 of The Wharf. Maine Avenue adjoins all these areas and includes a 25-foot-wide shared use path. The distillery and market hall buildings would be between Market Plaza and Market Square, and an additional "Market Pavilions" structure and an operations building would be located along Maine Avenue. He said that Market Plaza would be exclusively pedestrian; in the other areas, space would be shared by bicycles, private vehicles, trucks, and pedestrians.
Mr. Fitch indicated the substantial grade change across the site of the fish market, descending from approximately thirteen feet above the sea level datum at Maine Avenue to four feet at the fish piers. Ramps and stairs would connect the various areas. Market Plaza would have defined spaces, entrances, exits, and thresholds. He presented a site plan showing retail spaces throughout the fish market project, continuing to the retail space on the first floor of the Parcel 1 building. He added that the Maine Lobsterman Memorial will be moved to a new location in Market Square from its current site nearby that is being developed as Waterfront Park, a part of The Wharf.
Mr. Freelon asked about the intended use for the area historic oyster shed; Mr. Fitch responded that it will primarily be used for eating seafood. Its walls can be opened in good weather, and the adjacent outdoor area and the steps along the Fish Market Promenade could be used for additional seating.
Mr. Bagnoli described the effort to create a successful retail marketplace, presenting a series of diagrams summarizing the architectural concept. Market Plaza is expected to become a neighborhood center for people living in the residential buildings of The Wharf, and the architecture is treated as a backdrop to the activity within the open areas. The plaza would be a predominantly outdoor setting, with shelter for inclement weather, and the proposed structures would provide space for retail. A later addition to the lunchroom and oyster shed would be removed, and the two historic structures would be rehabilitated to become the focal point of the new plaza. He said that the backs of the proposed buildings would reflect the nature of the working fish market, while the front elevations would be more formal. The materials palette includes tan brick, metal panels, a metal framework, and a very clear glass to achieve an environmental rating of LEED Silver. Elevations facing the waterfront would have less brick and more metal, in character with the barges. The smaller structures would resemble the historic lunchroom shed and also the smaller buildings approved for The Wharf, with roll-up doors or metal panels covering sales counters. He indicated the elevator that would connect the fish market to the large underground parking garage beneath The Wharf.
Mr. Fitch said that local Carderock stone would be used for building bases, consistent with other buildings of the Wharf. He provided samples of proposed pavement stone. The pavement of Market Plaza and Market Square would be similar to the pavement designed for use throughout The Wharf, including porphyry and two types of granite to demarcate different zones. Market Plaza would be paved with asphalt block, set without joints for easy cleaning of fish detritus. Large cast-iron planters, of a type designed by Lawrence Halprin for the pedestrian mall in Charlottesville, Virginia, would be placed around Market Square to protect pedestrians from vehicles.
Mr. Bagnoli described the proposed rum distillery between Market Plaza and Market Square; it would be designed with a more monumental architecture, appropriate for its location near the larger buildings of The Wharf. The distillery would include a bar but no food service; a small roof deck would provide views over the waterfront, and a working smokestack would serve as a visual landmark signaling the transition from the fish market to the central area of The Wharf. Two small pavilions would be located between the distillery and the barges; breaks between pavilions would create a permeable edge and allow views of the barges. The operations building, located partly beneath Case Bridge, would have an area for cleaning fish. Electrical supply and other utilities would be placed underground.
Mr. Bagnoli said that the Market Hall building, at the rear of Market Plaza near Maine Avenue, would be a three-story structure enclosing approximately 17,000 square feet; it could be configured for one or several vendors. The building would include a kitchen on the first floor toward the rear and a small eating area; retail spaces on the second floor; and outdoor dining on the third. Folding doors on the short ends could open to become awnings over an open seating area, and balconies would overlook the water.
Mr. Freelon commented that the two historic buildings in the center of the site are "a jewel," and he asked why the space around them would be so tight. He also commented that the design uses many little pieces, creating a fussy appearance that would detract from the focus desired for this space; he suggested pulling buildings back to allow more space around the historic structures. Mr. Bagnoli responded that the aim is to create smaller spaces instead of a huge plaza, adding that a 100-foot setback from Parcel 1 is also required. Mr. Freelon observed that "small" and "big" are relative terms. Mr. Krieger noted that Mr. Fitch had used "scruffy" in a positive sense to describe the fish market; he asked how they intended to maintain a scruffy appearance. Mr. Fitch responded that the existing fish market barges and piers would be retained. Mr. Krieger asked why, if the fish market is such a loved institution, any of this work needs to be done; Mr. Fitch answered that it would improve the market, such as by providing a refrigerated facility for fish garbage and eliminating bad odors; removing the dilapidated trailers; and replacing the poor electrical connections. He added that the historic structures are in poor condition. Mr. Bagnoli said that the fish market provides a messy entrance to the waterfront area for tourists approaching from the Mall, and rebuilding is necessary to improve its image. He said the barge tenants have made clear that they want to make the market a viable operation.
Mr. Krieger acknowledged the importance of marketing The Wharf, but he objected to what he called a "faux scruffiness," likening it to a Potemkin village and similar to the inauthentic festival marketplace image that Mr. Fitch had said he wants to avoid. He said that this proposal would in fact create a fake marketplace to replace something genuine; people may find it appealing, but he characterized it as artificial and fussy. He commented on the difficulty of maintaining an authentic, historic appearance with new construction. He suggested that hiring four young architects to each design one of the four new buildings could simulate the random appearance of change occurring over time, but a single design team trying to create such an appearance will result in an artificial architecture lacking the vitality of the original. Mr. Bagnoli responded that what Mr. Krieger described had been the initial approach to the project, and he offered to consider it again.
Ms. Meyer commented that the design diagram on page 35 of the presentation booklet is the strongest and most compelling part of the project. She agreed with Mr. Krieger that the proposed design expression of this diagram is too specific and fussy, particularly because the retail tenants are not yet known. She questioned how the new buildings would work together because their scales are so different; she said that each piece in the diagram remains distinct instead of forming part of a whole. She suggested toning down the architectural expression so that structures can be a more neutral background for the retail activity. She added that the scale problems result from the failure to illustrate first-floor building plans and the site plan together in the same drawing; the site drawings instead show roof plans. She said that the spaces are scaled to the narrow, forty-foot-wide distance between buildings, and not to the larger scale of the harbor or the highway; she recommended designing with a larger scale so that the project components do not become cloyingly small.
Ms. Meyer commented that the grading works well. She recommended adding a depiction of the ground plane to the diagram and suggested that this ground plane could be handled differently: instead of trying to differentiate Market Plaza from roadways and other open spaces of The Wharf, she advised treating the ground plane with similar paving to create continuity, and demarcating different areas through other means. She said that this design approach might help in finding an appropriate larger scale for the fish market, reiterating her concern that the project elements would seem too small.
Mr. Dunson observed that historically the roads and other pavements in the fish market had not been differentiated; he suggested adding vertical elements instead of different paving to separate roadways from other areas for standing or seating. He acknowledged that the fish market needs to be cleaned up but said that it should not appear too sterile; he commented that it reads in plan as one big space. He said that the diagram gives a false sense of what is on the site now, and he suggested a diagram clearly indicating what is new, what is existing, and what will be rehabilitated.
Chairman Powell commented that the proposal includes many good ideas, and he supported Ms. Meyer's suggestion to tone down the expressiveness of the architecture. He summarized that the Commission members have provided extensive comments for this complex project, and he suggested that the project team consider the comments and return with a new presentation. The discussion concluded without a formal action.
I. D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs—Shipstead-Luce Act
1. SL 15-129, Southwest Waterfront Development, Parcel 1, 1000 Maine Avenue, SW. New twelve-story office building. Concept. (Previous: SL 12-102, 21 June 2012.) Ms. Batcheler introduced the concept proposal for an office building on Parcel 1 toward the northwestern end of The Wharf, an extensive development project along the Southwest Waterfront. She noted that this project is adjacent to the Maine Avenue Fish Market, the previous project on the agenda. She asked Matt Steenhoek of Hoffman-Madison Waterfront, the developer of The Wharf, to begin the presentation.
Mr. Steenhoek said that the extensive multi-parcel underground parking garage is already being constructed beneath Parcel 1, and the schedule for the proposed office building will depend on when a tenant is identified. The proposal includes approximately 235,000 square feet of office space, and he noted the prominence of the site with views across the fish market and Case Bridge; this building would be at the northwestern end of the taller commercial development projects of The Wharf. He indicated the location of the other office, residential, and hotel buildings in the first phase of development at The Wharf; most of these buildings have been approved by the Commission and have received building permits from the D.C. government. He indicated the relationship of the proposed Parcel 1 retail space to the overall retail plan for The Wharf; he emphasized that the retail space would contribute to the setting of the adjacent fish market and the connection through Market Square between Maine Avenue and the waterfront. He described the intended flexibility and seasonal variation in the retail uses, which could spill out into the open space areas; the variety and unique character of the retail uses would be reflected in the tenant signage. He introduced architect Douglas Hocking of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates to present the design for Parcel 1.
Mr. Hocking said that many of the project's design issues relate to the comments of the Commission members on the fish market proposal earlier in the meeting. The scale of the proposed building needs to relate to the scale of development at The Wharf to the southeast while also providing a transition to the fish market area to the northwest and, just beyond, the scale of elevated highway I-395. The presence of Banneker Overlook to the northeast is an additional consideration. He presented early massing diagrams that explored various ways to address these scale issues on the oddly shaped site. The initial diagram of a simple single volume was gradually refined to respond to the context. The resulting proposal is to split the building volume into two bars framing a lobby atrium, providing the opportunity to address the various scales and to have multiple narrower facades along the waterfront as a transition between the typical building configurations to the northwest and southeast. He indicated the view through the glass-walled atrium from Maine Avenue to the waterfront; he said that the scale of the atrium is comparable to some of the narrower spaces at the fish market. He said that the facades have been developed to add a tertiary level of scale to the building, and the two-story retail base would project five feet forward of the primary northwest facade, further improving the relationship to the fish market. He described how the proposal fits within the stepping scale of the context, indicating the relationship of positive and negative elements, such as the recessed third-floor terrace above the retail base. The top office floor would be set back to provide access to roof terraces, and the uppermost roof would be planted. The southern corner of the site would be open space, allowing for views from the adjacent Parcel 2 development; he indicated how the project would respect the 45-foot circulation zone along the waterfront throughout The Wharf.
Mr. Hocking described how the design details would support the building's relationship to the context. The shadow lines in the curtainwall system would contribute to breaking down the scale of the building. The materials and textures would relate to the fish market and the industrial aesthetic of the context. The balance of horizontal and vertical elements would relate to the building's role as a transition between areas with different scales. He indicated the two tones of the layered curtainwall system, with glazed and natural terra cotta surfaces. He presented several alternatives for the facade details and materials; he summarized the intent to have a warm palette of materials, including travertine at the lobby and retail areas as well as wood.
Mr. Hocking noted that the building is designed with ten stories, rather than the typical design of eleven stories within the allowable height; the result is generous floor-to-floor heights which give the office spaces a loft character. He presented sections of the proposal, indicating the two- to four-story-high atrium and the retail volume. Mr. Krieger asked about public access to the atrium; Mr. Hocking responded that this lobby would be a private space. He noted the uneven topography of the context and indicated the low site walls and steps that would address the grade changes; he added that these features could provide seating. He presented views of the entrance area and the ground level, which he said is still being developed in relation to the stone piers and the tenant retail signage. Mechanical equipment areas would be located at the second floor as well as at the top of the building, and louvers would be visible in the second-floor facade. Mr. Krieger asked about the use of the second floor; Mr. Hocking clarified that it would house office space as well as a mechanical equipment area, although this level is expressed architecturally as part of the retail base. He said that the expression of a one-story base was studied, but its scale did not relate well to the fish market area; he added that the retail signage would serve to screen ground-level views into the second-floor office space. He said that the third-floor terrace would be an active, animated space; additional terrace space may be added as the design is further refined.
Mr. Krieger noted the Commission's criticisms in recent reviews of other buildings at The Wharf, and he said that this proposal is the most sophisticated of the designs that have been submitted. He supported the proposal and expressed hope that the curtainwall system would be affordable for the project. He added that the quality of the renderings for The Wharf project overall could be less "cheesy," observing the exaggerated glowing sunlight in some views; Mr. Hocking agreed he preferred his own firm's more abstract rendering style.
Mr. Freelon questioned the apparent height variation among the office floors and asked if the dimensions are depicted accurately; he observed that the prevailing aesthetic seems to be logical and modular. Mr. Hocking responded that the upper floor is slightly taller, which is feasible within the 130-foot height limit; other proportions and dimensions on the facade are the result of balancing between various aesthetic concerns, and he offered to continue to study these details as the design is developed further.
Chairman Powell summarized the consensus to support the proposal; he recommended approval of the concept with the comments provided. Upon a second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission adopted this action.
2. SL 15-126, The Portals V, 1331 Maryland Avenue, SW. New thirteen-story residential building. Revised concept. (Previous: SL 15-088, 19 March 2015.) Ms. Batcheler introduced the revised concept design for a new residential building in the Portals, s development complex by Republic Properties at the western end of Maryland Avenue between 12th and 14th Streets, SW. The Commission last reviewed the project in March 2015, approving the concept with recommendations for development and refinement of the facades and penthouse. She said that the design team has returned with revisions responding to these comments; she added that the submission includes a request to increase the building's height by 23 inches from the height approved in March to achieve the desired ceiling heights on the upper residential floors where the building form steps back. She asked Paul Whalen of Robert A.M. Stern Architects to present the design.
Mr. Whalen summarized the Commission's recommendations from the March meeting: establish a hierarchy of vertical and horizontal elements; further emphasize the base; articulate stepped volumes and the building's relation to the adjacent Mandarin Oriental hotel; study the projecting balconies and the pavilions on top of the building; and consider a lighter articulation for the penthouse. He presented the changes made to the proposal in response to these recommendations through a comparison of renderings and models depicting the previously approved and current revised designs.
Mr. Whalen said that the goal has been to articulate the precast concrete exterior to look as convincing as a stone building, while still having windows large enough for the residential market and for the interior spaces. He said that the revised design includes adjustments to the relationship between parts and improvements to the transitions between elements. The intent has been to break down the building's scale while at the same time making it more modelled, such as by chamfering corners, tapering parapets, and adding more balconies. Masonry framing around large elements or groups of windows has been widened and made more sculptural. The sides of some elements have been stepped to form better transitions, and the long balcony on the north has been broken down into three smaller balconies to relate better to other balconies on the building, adding that some of these changes would also improve the relationship to adjoining buildings.
Mr. Krieger asked about the overall amount of glazing on the building. Mr. Whalen responded that it has been reduced slightly; he said that previously each building elevation had resembled a grid instead of a punched wall with large glass areas. Window sizes have been adjusted to emphasize the figure-ground relationship between wall surface and punched windows. The size and articulation of windows have been adjusted to reflect the size and importance of the rooms they light. Windows have been grouped to avoid a consistent grid; long elevations have been articulated with double-height windows and other taller elements; and windows themselves have been articulated by various means—for example, by recessing frames on the sides. He added that the height and arrangement of windows at the top of the building have been varied.
Mr. Whalen said that the color of the precast facades would match the color of limestone buildings in the vicinity, with a lighter cream color at the top of the building to help break down the scale of openings. Window glass would be either slightly lighter or darker than the wall masonry. A slightly darker putty or khaki color would be used for the window mullions to make the windows appear to recede, while remaining light enough to break down their scale; he said that this is a traditional treatment for windows in masonry buildings. He added that final colors for window glass and mullions would be selected after preparation of a mockup.
Mr. Whalen said that the definition of the building's base has been improved by the addition of a stringcourse and rustication of the precast masonry. The windows on the base have been given black mullions, recalling a common treatment for urban buildings with darker bases. He said that granite may be used for a water table.
Mr. Whalen discussed the request for additional height, which he said is necessary because of the numerous setbacks on the upper floors: with each setback, the floor slab requires a beam which necessitates increasing the floor height in order to maintain the ceiling height for the luxury units. He indicated the slight addition and subtraction to heights throughout the building, resulting in the proposed net increase of 23 inches. He said that a final change is the addition of bathroom vents, which must extend to the building's exterior facades. The proposal is to locate them away from the building's corners and to integrate the 25-square-inch vents as architectural expressions within the design of the masonry cladding.
Mr. Krieger commented that the proposed treatment of the vents would probably improve the façade design. He and Mr. Powell expressed appreciation for the responsiveness to the Commission's guidance, agreeing that the concept design is much improved, and they endorsed the proposed refinements. Mr. Luebke said that no action is required, and the discussion concluded with the stated support for the revisions to the concept design.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:08 p.m.
Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA