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 10:03 a.m.
Hon. Earl A. Powell, Chairman
Hon. Philip Freelon, Vice Chairman
Hon. Edward Dunson
Hon. Liza Gilbert
Hon. Alex Krieger
Hon. Mia Lehrer
Hon. Elizabeth Meyer
Thomas E. Luebke, Secretary
Frederick J. Lindstrom, Assistant Secretary
A. Approval of the minutes of the 17 September meeting. Mr. Luebke reported that the minutes of the September meeting were circulated to the Commission members in advance. Upon a motion by Mr. Freelon, the Commission approved the minutes.
B. Dates of next meetings. Mr. Luebke presented the regularly scheduled dates for upcoming Commission meetings, as previously published: 19 November 2015, 21 January 2016, and 18 February 2016. He noted that no meeting is scheduled during December.
C. Report on the approval of one object proposed for acquisition by the Freer Gallery of Art. Mr. Luebke reported Chairman Powell's approval in late September of an artwork that the Smithsonian Institution was considering for acquisition as part of the permanent collection of the Freer Gallery of Art: a tray from India with mother-of-pearl and black resin, dating from the late 16th to early 17th century. He said that the Freer was subsequently unsuccessful in auction bidding for the tray; Chairman Powell emphasized the difficulty of acquiring artworks at auction.
D. Report on the pre-meeting site inspections. Mr. Luebke reported that the Commission visited several sites in central Washington earlier in the day: the grounds of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, where planning is continuing for perimeter security; the Ellipse and President's Park South, with planned renovation that was listed on the draft agenda for presentation at today's meeting but was deferred by the U.S. Secret Service; and the office building at 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, which is currently proposed for replacement (agenda item II.D.1).
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. He noted that the appendix includes two Congressional gold medals in the series honoring Native American code talkers from World War I and World War II; the staff recommendations for these medals are consistent with the preferences of representatives from the two Native American tribes. Chairman Powell said that the Commission typically supports the preferences of the tribes; Mr. Lindstrom emphasized that the staff considers the recommended designs to be the highest quality among the alternatives submitted. Upon a motion by Ms. Meyer with second by Mr. Freelon, the Commission approved the Government Submissions Consent Calendar.
Appendix II – Shipstead-Luce Act Submissions: Ms. Batcheler reported that one project listed on the draft appendix has been removed for consideration in a future month (case number SL 16-008); the revised appendix also includes minor wording changes and updates to note the receipt of supplemental materials. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Freelon, the Commission approved the revised appendix. (See agenda items II.D.1 and II.D.2 for additional Shipstead-Luce Act submissions.)
Appendix III – Old Georgetown Act Submissions: Ms. Barsoum reported that one project listed on the draft appendix has been removed (case number OG 15-295). She requested authorization to finalize the recommendations for three projects upon receipt of the anticipated supplemental drawings. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Freelon, the Commission approved the revised appendix.
B. National Park Service
CFA 15/OCT/15-1, World War II Memorial, West Potomac Park, 17th Street and Independence Avenue, SW. Install plaque with President Franklin D. Roosevelt's D-Day prayer. Site Selection. Secretary Luebke introduced the site selection study evaluating four locations at the World War II Memorial for a plaque containing the text of Franklin D. Roosevelt's D-Day prayer. He noted that the study was prepared by the National Park Service in cooperation with the Friends of the World War II Memorial, a charitable organization that supports study and commemoration of World War II. He said that the authorizing legislation calls for placement of a plaque within the area of the memorial, inscribed with the words of the prayer from President Roosevelt's national radio address on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He asked Peter May of the National Park Service to begin the presentation.
Mr. May said that mockups have been developed of the 583-word text laid out on both horizontal and vertical panels to consider the plaque's optimal format and size. He said that the font should be sufficiently large for legibility from a slight distance, while small enough to allow the overall dimensions of the plaque to be manageable. He presented a sample mockup and said that the depicted size is the appropriate balance, although the layout and font are only illustrative. He introduced landscape architect Sheila Brady of Oehme, van Sweden & Associates to present the site selection study.
Ms. Brady, a landscape designer for the World War II Memorial, described the nine criteria that have been developed for evaluating potential sites. The criteria include: enough existing vegetative screening to support a contemplative character; filtered views from within the Monumental Core—particularly the World War II Memorial—to minimize the plaque's presence; easy accessibility and compatibility with existing circulation; sufficient room to display the entire text of the prayer; and consideration of proximity to the memorial's Atlantic Arch and to General Dwight D. Eisenhower's D-Day inscription, which are on the north side of the memorial.
Ms. Brady described the four site alternatives: Alternative A, which includes several locations within or adjacent to the existing Circle of Remembrance, a small seating area in the northwest part of the memorial; Alternative B, a site along the primary walk to the Atlantic Arch; Alternative C, a location at the east entrance to the memorial on the Mall axis at 17th Street; and Alternative D, near the visitors information building at the southwest corner of the memorial. She said that Alternative A, at the Circle of Remembrance, was the option preferred by the National Park Service because it meets all of the criteria; she emphasized this area's sense of enclosure, inherent in its circular form, and the existing accessible walk. She said that the installation of the plaque in this area would not disturb the nearby trees, which provide filtered views and contribute to the sense of enclosure. She identified several possible locations at the Circle of Remembrance: a plaque could be placed at the entrance to the Circle or within the center planter, or some of the existing benches could be replaced with an inscribed wall.
Ms. Brady said that Alternative B, along the walk to the Atlantic Arch, meets most of the criteria but is probably noisier than desired and may require the addition of more trees for a greater sense of seclusion; an additional concern is that people standing on the walk to read the plaque could block pedestrian movement. For these reasons, this site was not considered further. Alternative C, on the Mall's central axis and in a high-traffic area at the main entrance to the memorial, was the most problematic site; if a plaque were set flush with the ground, its surface would be subject to heavy wear, but a tilted plaque would not be appropriate in this location. This alternative was therefore quickly dismissed. She said that while Alternative D meets nearly all the criteria, its location near the memorial's bus drop-off is very noisy.
Mr. Freelon asked about further review by the Commission if the general location of Alternative A is approved; Ms. Brady confirmed that a concept design would be developed and submitted. Ms. Gilbert asked if the Circle of Remembrance includes any existing plaque or marker; Ms. Brady said it does not.
Mr. Krieger raised the concern that a person sitting in contemplation at the Circle of Remembrance may find it disturbing to have someone standing nearby looking at the text of the prayer and perhaps reading it aloud; he said that the activities of quiet remembrance and of reading a radio address might be incompatible; Mr. Powell observed that the same incompatibility may apply to any of the sites. Mr. Krieger said that, while noting this issue, he would not oppose Alternative A; he added that a plaque located at site B or D would have its own integrity as a memorial element without overlapping another. Mr. May said that the study of several locations at the Circle of Remembrance included specific consideration of accommodating visitors who might want to sit there without having the plaque directly in front of them. He said that the Circle of Remembrance is not visited as much as other areas of the memorial, and locating the plaque here may draw more people.
Mr. Krieger commented that the size of the plaque would be an issue; Ms. Gilbert observed that a location in the center of the Circle might require an even larger plaque than anticipated. Mr. May said that the plaque could not feasibly be smaller than the mockup, and the hope is that it will not need to be significantly larger; he noted the limited room available at each of the proposed locations for people to stand back and read.
Ms. Meyer expressed support for the site selection study, particularly the criterion for a contemplative space; she commented that none of the other criteria would matter if this is not met. She observed that other than the Circle of Remembrance, the other three sites are all compromised. She supported Mr. Krieger's comments, adding that site selection is not just about character but also whether a site can accommodate the program. She supported Alternative A but said that the process of designing the plaque may demonstrate that its insertion would ruin the contemplative character of the Circle of Remembrance, and another location may therefore emerge as a better choice. Mr. May responded that this issue has arisen with other proposed memorials: the site is usually chosen before a memorial is designed, and then questions of reconsidering the site can arise during the design process. He said that the National Park Service is moving toward a procedure of developing a design concept earlier in the process to promote compatibility with the site, particularly for a smaller memorial, rather than selecting a site and then commencing the design process.
Chairman Powell summarized the consensus of the Commission to support the presented preference for Alternative A, subject to consideration of the comments provided and with the expectation of further review as a design is developed; the Commission adopted this action. Chairman Powell expressed appreciation for the thoughtful site selection study as well as the comments of the Commission members.
C. D.C. Department of General Services
CFA 15/OCT/15-2, Murch Elementary School, 4810 36th Street, NW. Additions and building modernization. Concept. (Previous: CFA 16/JUL/15-4.) Mr. Lindstrom introduced the revised concept submission for renovation and modernization of Murch Elementary School. He said that in the first review of this project in July 2015, the Commission provided many recommendations, particularly for modifications of the landscape design, but did not take an action. He asked architect Ronnie McGhee of R. McGhee & Associates to present the current design.
Mr. McGhee said that the proposed addition is intended to be visually subordinate to the existing 45,000-square-foot school; the new structure would more than double the available floor space and would primarily be located behind the existing building, to the west and south. The National Park Service (NPS) has ceded management responsibility for its land on part of this block to the D.C. government, and some building elements cross over onto the NPS property; use of the land will be coordinated with the NPS. A two-story classroom wing along Davenport Street on the south, designed to be in scale with the two-story houses on the other side of the street, would include a new main entrance in a connecting hyphen. A central spine screening the mechanical equipment would rise above the rooflines. A new gymnasium at the rear would be adjacent to a new playground; a below-grade parking area would be constructed partly beneath the existing gym. The new cafeteria at the corner of 36th and Davenport Streets has been pushed below grade so that its rooftop would align with the stone plinth of the existing school; the path through the rain gardens parallel to Davenport Street would allow a complete view of the glazed cafeteria.
Mr. McGhee said that the footprint of the proposed addition has not been changed significantly from the previously presented design. On the south facade of the addition, more brick has been added to balance the storefront. The building's height has been lowered a couple of feet and its length reduced to allow more open space in back, addressing a neighborhood concern. The courtyard play area on the south for the pre-kindergarten classes has been widened from 20 to 28 feet, a change suggested by the Commission in the previous review. On the east, the width of the loading dock off 36th Street has been reduced from 24 to 14 feet.
Mr. McGhee introduced Joan Honeyman of Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture to present the landscape design. Ms. Honeyman described the concept of a school within a park, illustrating the block containing Murch Elementary School in relation to Fort Reno Park two blocks to the west, and to Rock Creek Park to the northeast. She indicated how the school site would become one of a linear series of neighborhood parks that create a continuous tree canopy and define the neighborhood streetscape. The landscape design would enhance the school's park-like setting, with a system of pathways running through the campus from 36th and Ellicott Streets.
Ms. Honeyman discussed the tree canopy in detail. Each bordering roadway has a different street tree, and the site also includes many other existing trees. The proposal is to add street trees to form a continuous green ring around the site; the area between the street and the building would be treated as a continuous circle of green, in part through the addition of trees. The cafeteria roof terrace would be planted with trees to screen a playground and a vegetable garden. On the southwest corner of the perimeter landscape, rain gardens would be shaped as fluid forms in contrast to the orthogonal organization of the rest of the space, with a simple path leading through the rain gardens to allow for nature study. She indicated the proposed access points to the building. Mr. McGhee concluded with several perspective renderings of the proposal.
Mr. Krieger and Ms. Gilbert observed that the landscape drawings illustrate a retaining wall running along Davenport Street up to the intersection with Reno Road and then around this corner, addressing an apparent grade change of six or seven feet at this intersection, but other drawings do not illustrate this wall. Mr. McGhee said that the grading of this area is still being studied; the goal is to keep it as close as possible to the existing grade, with perhaps some slope within the rain gardens. He acknowledged that a retaining wall will probably be necessary, and the rain gardens would not be directly accessible from the sidewalk.
Mr. Krieger indicated further discrepancies between the presented renderings and those in the project booklet, such as in the view from the corner of 36th and Davenport Streets: on page 32 of the booklet, a retaining wall between the cafeteria and the older school building is shown as sloping down to the sidewalk, while in the projected presentation this wall maintains the same considerable height along its length. He asked which illustration more accurately depicts the design; Mr. McGhee responded that the sloping wall is the more accurate depiction of the current intent. He added that the wall had originally been shown as higher, with the intention of placing the school's logo on its corner, but it was lowered in response to the Commission's recommendation.
Mr. Freelon requested that presentations of revised designs would be more helpful if the previous and current versions are illustrated side by side. He requested clarification of whether the brick on the addition would contrast with or match the brick color of the existing building. Mr. McGhee responded that the walls of the addition would have a slightly darker brick than the older building, with an even darker brick forming a plinth below the walls.
Mr. Krieger asked for clarification of the previous action on this project. Mr. Luebke said that the Commission had not taken an action on the concept at the July meeting, while providing four major comments: reduce the range of colors and types of materials; widen the courtyard on the south; lower the cafeteria corner on the southeast; and develop a more consistent treatment of the perimeter landscape. He added that in the opinion of the staff the concept design has been improved but could be further refined.
Mr. Freelon said that he is encouraged by the responsiveness to the Commission's comments in the current design. Mr. Krieger agreed that lowering the corner of the cafeteria has made a significant difference, and this corner now does not appear so overwhelming. Although the scale has been slightly improved, he said that he is concerned that the courtyard containing the play area for the pre-kindergarten students is still too narrow. He also questioned the site treatment along Reno Road, which includes rain gardens, a retaining wall, trees, and sidewalk; he asked why the rain garden area would be so narrow, observing that sufficient room seems available to shift the rain garden and expand the building slightly, which would allow for widening of the pre-kindergarten play space. Mr. McGhee responded that the site design is constrained by the boundary line between the school property and the public street right-of-way. Mr. Krieger said that "corralling" the rain gardens behind the retaining wall seems odd, but he emphasized that his greatest concern is the narrow proportions of the pre-kindergarten play space. He added that the landscape plan should indicate the extent of the overhanging glassed-in gathering space—which projects from the west elevation, facing Reno Road—to clarify the limit of the rain garden area.
Ms. Meyer expressed appreciation for the inclusion of a location plan showing the school's block in the broader context of local parks, which helps in understanding the concept of a school in a park. She commented that the current concept design shows rain gardens tucked into small areas of the perimeter landscape, but water falls everywhere; she recommended setting aside the limiting typology of a "rain garden" and instead conceiving of the space around the entire site—including sidewalk, right-of-way, and rain gardens—as an integrated system that soaks up water. She emphasized that this treatment would make the idea of a school in a park more meaningful. She said that this is also an issue of scale, and the design would be strengthened by reducing the amount of pathway within the garden and providing other ways to access it. She expressed confidence that the landscape architect could design this successfully; she added that this treatment may require more coordination among the regulatory entities.
Ms. Lehrer commented that the plan should rely on careful grading that will allow water to soak in and move, instead of simply deploying didactic rain gardens. She emphasized that presentations to the Commission should always include a conceptual grading plan so that the Commission members can understand the landscape design; illustrations showing the other sides of streets should also be included to assist in comprehending the larger context.
Ms. Gilbert observed that the renderings of the historic building's east facade did not depict the existing overlarge evergreen trees that obscure it. She commended the effort to save and add to the trees on the site, but she said that some of the evergreens would have to be removed to reveal the attractive facade. Noting the proposed mix of small cherry trees and large canopy trees along Ellicott Street shown on the landscape plan, she commented that small trees are being planted beneath utility wires throughout Washington, resulting in the loss of the lines of majestic canopy trees along the city's streets; she recommended removing some of these cherry trees from the design to recapture the visual experience of the larger canopy along this roadway. She also noted that Reno Road is a busy street, and she asked if a traffic study had been conducted to evaluate the proposal to locate the parking entrance on Reno Road. Mr. McGhee responded that rush-hour traffic has been analyzed, and the D.C. Department of Transportation supports the conclusion to place the access along Reno Road.
Mr. Dunson commented that the current design better realizes the concept of a school in a park. He suggested a bird's-eye view of the context to further clarify the relationship of this site to the nearby parks, and he requested a topographic plan at the next presentation to help the Commission members evaluate any inconsistencies between the design intent and the renderings. He agreed with Ms. Lehrer about the importance of illustrating the other sides of streets. He commented that the changes to the building are responsive to the Commission's suggestions, and the massing and the palette of materials have improved. He acknowledged the challenge of making the new addition compatible with the historic building while maintaining the autonomy of both structures.
Chairman Powell agreed that the current design submission is a step forward and contains good ideas. He conveyed the Commission's appreciation for the presentation and recommended approval of the concept design. Upon a second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission adopted this action. Mr. Dunson recognized the presence in the audience of several students of Mr. McGhee, who is an adjunct professor at Howard University.
D. D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs — Shipstead-Luce Act
1. SL 15-172, 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. Office building. Alterations and additions. Final. (Previous: SL 11-160, 20 October 2011.) Ms. Batcheler introduced the proposal for redevelopment of an office building at 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, facing Freedom Plaza. The proposal is to replace the existing office building while retaining its foundations and below-grade parking garage. She noted that this final design submission is similar to the concept that the Commission approved in October 2011. She said that architect Helmut Jahn was delayed in traveling to the meeting; she asked architect Philip Castillo of Jahn's firm and Robert Knopf of Quadrangle Development to present the proposal.
Mr. Knopf said that his firm acquired the site in 1978 and completed the existing building in 1981, during the early years of development oversight in this area by the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation (PADC). In 1985, PADC arranged the additional benefit of allowing greater height and density on this site; his firm subsequently considered constructing an addition but decided that a new building would be the best solution for this prominent site. The financing and leases were then coordinated to expire in 2015 to facilitate the current redevelopment proposal. His firm held a design competition in 2010 with the goal of designing the best office building in Washington, emphasizing a futuristic design that would not become dated during the expected five-year wait for commencement of construction. Several prominent architects participated in the competition, and Jahn's design was the strong preference. He said that the current submission is essentially the same as Jahn's 2010 competition entry, with only minor changes. He said that the two-year construction period is planned to commence in September 2015, and a major law firm will occupy three-quarters of the building.
Mr. Castillo presented the design proposal, beginning with Mr. Jahn's initial sketch for the project from 2010. The goal was always to avoid creating a typical glass office building; he noted that many were being constructed in Washington in this period, including his own firm's design for 1999 K Street, NW, that had recently been completed. The design is intended to be functionally efficient, technologically advanced, sustainable, and elegant, with an urbanistic response to this prominent site. The design also incorporates lessons from his firm's European projects in the 1980s and 1990s. The building would have the unusual feature of operable windows, providing fresh air for the occupants and allowing for efficient air change at night.
Mr. Castillo described the site, adjacent to the National Place development and the National Theater; further west on the block is the J.W. Marriott Hotel, and the 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue site is linked to some of these neighboring developments as a single zoning lot. The proposed height, measured from a consolidated measuring point for the overall zoning lot, would be 135 feet for the southern fifty feet of the building, rising two stories on the north to 158 feet plus an 18.5-foot-high mechanical penthouse; he said that this conforms to the allowable height and required setback of zoning regulations. He emphasized that the building would reinforce the street wall of the block, and the south frontage would include retail space and a two-story lobby; an additional retail space for a restaurant would be located along the east facade on 13th Street, which rises a full story toward the north. The garage entrance would remain at its current location on 13th Street, leading to the existing three-level garage that would be slightly reconfigured to accommodate the proposed relocation of the elevator core. He emphasized the improved efficiency of office floor layouts by shifting the elevator core from the edge to the center of the plan, which allows for windows on all four facades. He indicated the landscaped terrace at the setback above the 11th floor, for use by the primary tenant, and another terrace above the 13th floor for use by other tenants. A significant portion of the roof would be planted, supporting the building's stormwater management performance as required by D.C. regulations. He indicated the setback from the north property line to separate this building from the adjacent National Place development and allow for windows and views on the north facade; groundcover and vines are proposed within the area between the buildings.
Mr. Castillo described the proposed facade treatment, using a grid of slotted stainless panels. A portion of the prominent south facade, overlooking Freedom Plaza, would be set back behind a cable-supported glass screen; in addition to providing visual emphasis, this screen would partially enclose a cavity for convection along the facade, improving the building's energy performance. The first two floors would have a distinct facade treatment to establish the retail base of the building, although part of the second floor would be office space. He presented detail drawings of the various facade conditions along with perspective views of the overall building, emphasizing the appearance from Freedom Plaza and the design's clear typology as an office building. The typical ten-foot module of the facade features a two-foot-wide vertical operable window and a single eight-foot-wide unit of laminated insulated glass for each bay; this eight-foot dimension was the largest size of glass available when the building was initially designed in 2010. He presented the proposed materials of stainless steel and glass, emphasizing that the transparency of the vision glass is greater than in most recent office buildings. An even more transparent glass would be used for the screen wall; this glass would also be used to enclose the mechanical penthouse, with a metal screen behind to provide visual texture. Stainless steel grilles would shield the operable windows, and solid panels would be used for spandrels. He described the palette of materials as elegant with a neutral color scheme.
Chairman Powell noted the viewing of the site by the Commission members prior to the meeting, adding that he is the only current member who had reviewed the previous submission. Mr. Freelon asked if the stainless steel grilles would move; Mr. Castillo clarified that these would be fixed, while the glass windows behind the grilles would be operable. He added that the windows would be motorized; a weather monitoring system on the building would trigger the automatic closure of the windows when weather conditions exceed a specified threshold. Mr. Freelon observed that when designed in 2010 and 2011, the building was intended as state-of-the-art; he asked if any subsequent advances in technology and materials have affected the design. Mr. Castillo responded that some features of the earlier design have been eliminated, such as photovoltaic cells as well as moveable components of the screen walls; more detailed study has shown that these features did not provide significant benefits. He said that the design refinement has followed Mr. Jahn's guidance to "eliminate the inessential."
Mr. Dunson supported the proposal as an elegant, simple, and distilled design. He described it as an updated version of a gridded building, commenting that it reflects the time of its design as well as the present and future. He said that the window proportions and the quality of materials contribute to the project's improvement of the corner site and context. He supported the operable windows as an important, progressive feature that connects the inside and outside, resulting in a living building instead of a sealed interior environment. He asked if the windows would be controlled to open to the same angle, observing that varied window positions and furniture placement would affect the building's appearance. Mr. Castillo responded that office occupants would control the opening of each window within a limited range, unless weather conditions cause all windows to be closed automatically; however, the outer glass screen and stainless steel grilles would provide sufficient concealment of the windows to prevent a chaotic exterior appearance. Mr. Dunson acknowledged that the result would be a consistent appearance; Mr. Castillo said that these design details were important in combining visual consistency with the operable windows. He added that the windows could be automatically opened at night to cool the building naturally, as part of the design's energy conservation.
Mr. Krieger asked for clarification of the glass screen design on part of the south facade. Mr. Castillo described the presentation photos of the model, indicating the five-foot setback of the facade in this area; the glass screen would be in the same plane as the remainder of the south facade. The system of fixed and operable windows behind the glass screen would be the same as on the other facades, except that the stainless steel grilles would not be used in this area. The range of operability for the windows would be very limited; some visibility of windows at different angles may be perceived, serving to add a lively visual interest to the facade. Mr. Krieger asked about the construction of the screen; Mr. Castillo said that it would be laminated glass, 10 feet by 11.5 feet, with stainless steel spars and vertical cables; he described it as an elegant, minimal structure to hold the glass screen in place. He noted that this screen wall is open at the top, and it therefore does not entirely protect the recessed facade from exposure to rain. Mr. Krieger asked if the illustrated pattern in the windows is fritting on the glass; Mr. Castillo responded that the horizontal lines are the window blinds, which would be uniform for all tenants.
Ms. Meyer supported the effort to integrate lessons from European design into this American building, noting that she has recently learned of comparable efforts by other American architecture firms. She encouraged the aspiration to develop the design beyond the required level of energy performance, adding that relating to this global context of environmental responsiveness may be more appropriate than relating to other nearby buildings that were designed more for visual appearance. She commented that the solar heat reflected by the south facade of steel and glass would change the microclimate of the adjacent sidewalk, which may be a factor to consider in the selection of street trees; she suggested choosing a tough tree species that can withstand this environment. Mr. Castillo responded that this project is not allowed to change the street trees to the south; Mr. Luebke clarified that the National Park Service controls the sidewalk space on the south, as part of the overall Pennsylvania Avenue streetscape. Ms. Meyer emphasized that the building design may create a heat effect that will harm a standard type of street tree, and another species may be more appropriate. Mr. Powell encouraged consideration of this issue, noting the unwelcome prevalence of dead street trees along Pennsylvania Avenue; he also joined in supporting the design of the building. Ms. Lehrer added that the heat effect described by Ms. Meyer may be problematic for pedestrians on the sidewalks. Mr. Castillo responded that reflected heat would likely not be a significant issue along 13th Street, and generally the pedestrian experience would be comparable to other Washington streets lined by office buildings.
Chairman Powell summarized the consensus that the Commission members are impressed with the quality of the architecture and look forward to seeing the completed building. He recommended approval of the concept submission, with the comment concerning street trees as discussed; upon a second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission adopted this action.
2. SL 15-174, Museum of the American Educator, 1503 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (former Riggs Bank Building). Rooftop addition and alterations. Revised concept. (Previous: SL 15-109, 21 May 2015.) Ms. Batcheler introduced the revised concept submission for a rooftop addition to and renovation of the historic Riggs Bank Building at 1503 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, located north of the U.S. Treasury. The expanded building would house the private Museum of the American Educator, along with office and conference space for the Milken Family Foundation. She noted that the Commission had approved the concept submission for the project in May, providing recommendations for development of the design; the concept has subsequently been reviewed by the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). She asked architect Shalom Baranes of Shalom Baranes Associates to present the design.
Mr. Baranes summarized the building's history: the initial Beaux-Arts structure was completed in 1902, and an addition to the west was added in the early 1920s. The interior is dominated by a large banking hall with a large glass skylight which is surrounded by several floors of offices. The existing mechanical equipment on the roof has a maximum height of about 30 feet; although it is not screened by a wall, he said that it is only visible from a significant distance.
Mr. Baranes said that the previous proposal included a large rectangular volume on the roof that was designed in relation to the original building: a central glass bay projected forward four feet, corresponding to the 1902 building's entrance composition, and the volume would be recessed above the roof of the 1920s addition. He noted that the Commission had recommended simplifying the new volume. In a subsequent review, the HPRB determined that the proposed rooftop volume would be too visually prominent, recommending that the addition be subordinate to the historic building facade and less visible from Pennsylvania Avenue. The current proposal therefore removes the projecting bay; the northern facade of the rooftop volume has been pushed forward slightly to a single plane above the 1902 building, maintaining the setback above the 1920s addition, and the height of the proposed volume has been lowered slightly with a further height reduction of four feet at the northern edge. He said that this revised design is a simpler, more unified and less visible treatment and would still have approximately the same overall floor area as the previous proposal. He said that the plan of the added volume relates to the banking hall and skylight of the 1902 building, and the volume could not be pushed back farther without interfering with the skylight. He emphasized that the simplified design of the proposed rooftop volume relates better to the less articulated roof forms of adjacent buildings; the facades would use a wall system of glass fins with copper inlays, as previously proposed. He also indicated the existing first-floor window facing Pennsylvania Avenue in the 1920s addition, which would be converted to a second entrance door for barrier-free access; in response to the Commission's previous recommendation, the current design retains the two bracketed scrolls on the window surround.
Mr. Powell expressed support for the revised concept submission; Mr. Freelon agreed. Ms. Meyer observed that the presentation of the rooftop addition addressed only the architectural volume, and she questioned the visual impact of railings that may be required if the roof is designed as an occupiable terrace. Mr. Baranes responded that the client would like to have a usable roof terrace to take advantage of the spectacular views. Coordination of the roof terrace with the U.S. Secret Service would be required at this location; to simplify the approvals process, the design team has decided to wait until a concept design is approved before contacting the Secret Service. The current submission has no railings or glass barrier walls for a terrace; any subsequent design revisions would be submitted for the Commission's review based on the future coordination with the Secret Service.
Mr. Luebke observed that the current submission with only a partial parapet is not realistic; he said that any railing for an occupiable terrace, or even a minimal safety railing to protect workers, would have to be reviewed by the Commission. He asked that this issue be formally referred to the Secret Service for its assessment, and he requested suggested that the Commission make approval of the revised concept conditional on the understanding that any design for a railing could have a significant impact on the design. Mr. Krieger observed that the addition of a railing may have more design impact than the changes requested by the HPRB. Secretary Luebke agreed that the result could be significant: a framed glass barrier, for example, might necessitate lowering the roof terrace and reworking the building section, resulting in a different concept design.
Mr. Baranes acknowledged that an occupiable terrace might not be possible, and he agreed to return with a revised design if any barrier is required. Secretary Luebke clarified that even without an occupiable terrace, the Secret Service may still require a barrier due to the possible presence of maintenance workers on the roof. Mr. Baranes acknowledged that a railing would be required by safety regulations, but he said that this could be designed to be not visible from the ground level; if a more sizeable glass wall is required, the design would be resubmitted.
Mr. Powell offered a motion to approve the revised concept design with the conditions that it not include a railing or barrier for the roof area overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue, and that the design be referred to the U.S. Secret Service for its determination of whether a protective barrier would be required, with the understanding that any revised design proposing a barrier must be resubmitted to the Commission for further review. Upon a second by Mr. Freelon, the Commission adopted this action.
E. Department of the Treasury / U.S. Mint
Mr. Simon introduced the presentation of reverse designs for two ongoing series of circulating coins: the "America the Beautiful" quarter-dollars and the Native American one-dollar coins. He noted that the quarter-dollars are also produced as silver coins in a larger format, and he provided samples from earlier in the series. He added that these submissions from the U.S. Mint are in addition to the two Congressional Gold Medals that were included on the Government Submissions Consent Calendar (agenda item II.A). He asked April Stafford of the Mint to present the design alternatives.
1. CFA 15/OCT/15-3, 2017 America the Beautiful Quarter Dollar Program. Designs for reverse of quarter-dollar coins for: Iowa, District of Columbia, Missouri, New Jersey, and Indiana. Final. (Previous: CFA 18/SEP/14-9, 2016 issue.) Ms. Stafford noted that the continuing obverse design features the familiar portrait of George Washington from 1932. Each of the reverses contains the name of the state and of the federal site chosen from that state, along with "E Pluribus Unum" and the minting year of 2017. The design alternatives have already been reviewed by the Mint's Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and a liaison to the Mint from the federal site.
Effigy Mounds National Monument (Iowa)
Ms. Stafford described the site of more than 200 prehistoric mounds built by Native Americans; some of the mounds are in the shape of animals. She presented thirteen alternative reverse designs, noting the preference of the site liaison for reverse #4-B depicting an aerial view of three mounds that are part of the fifteen-mound Marching Bear Group. She said that the CCAC declined to recommend any of the alternatives, instead providing suggestions for different ways of depicting the mounds; the Mint may therefore generate additional design alternatives. She clarified that the Mint staff nonetheless considers this set of alternatives to be worthwhile for presentation to the Commission.
Mr. Krieger questioned whether the three mounds would be legible at the small scale of the quarter; he suggested consideration of reverse #1 with a larger depiction of a single mound, which may be more easily understood. Don Everhart, the Mint's lead sculptor-engraver, responded that the three mounds could be sculpted clearly by using a stippling technique of varying depth to create texture and shadow; the mounds would contrast sharply with the background. Ms. Meyer commented that the presented depictions of mounded earth do not satisfactorily convey the sculptural quality of the land form, and she said that a stippling or hatching technique may suggest merely a pattern instead of a three-dimensional form. She added that the CCAC's reluctance to support any alternative may be the appropriate response. Mr. Everhart said that further accentuation within the design could be achieved in the sculpting process. Ms. Meyer asked if the mounds have flattened tops or are rounded; Mr. Everhart responded that they are generally rounded. Ms. Meyer said that all of the alternatives are therefore problematic because they suggest flat plateaus with sloped edges. Mr. Everhart offered to address this concern in the sculpting process.
Ms. Gilbert asked if the mounds are spaced closely enough to be seen together. Mr. Everhart responded that some are grouped together, such as the Marching Bear Group; the artist selected several mounds from this group in developing the compositions for alternatives #4, 4-A, and 4-B. He said that a correctly scaled depiction of the entire grouping would result in just small specks across the coin. Ms. Gilbert suggested a slightly modified framing of the composition to suggest that the grouping of mounds continues beyond the three depicted, such as by having one of the mounds be cut off by the coin edge; she said that this approach may better convey the sense of a landscape instead of cookie-cutter shapes.
Ms. Meyer suggested a conclusion that none of the presented alternatives is satisfactory. Chairman Powell agreed and requested that the Mint return with the additional designs that will be developed in response to the CCAC review. Ms. Stafford acknowledged the helpful comments from the Commission. The discussion concluded without a formal action.
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site (District of Columbia)
Ms. Stafford described the site that features Cedar Hill, the home of reformer and orator Frederick Douglass in the late 19th century. She presented six alternative reverse designs; the preference of the CCAC is alternative #1 depicting Douglass giving a speech at a podium, and the preference of the site liaison is alternative #4 depicting Douglass seated at a writing desk with the house in the background.
Mr. Luebke noted that the purpose of this series of quarter-dollar coins is to feature sites; Ms. Stafford responded that design alternatives for various coins in this series have depicted historical events or related artifacts such as armaments, and the CCAC has discussed such issues extensively. For this coin, she said that the CCAC supported a depiction of Douglass that conveys his important historic role—the reason that his home has been preserved—while the site liaison supported a more direct depiction of the site in conjunction with the portrait. Mr. Krieger expressed strong support for alternative #4 due to its inclusion of the house. Mr. Dunson agreed, adding that the size of the portrait in alternative #4 is just as large as in alternative #1 while providing the important added feature of the house, which conveys that the site is the subject of the coin.
Chairman Powell noted the consensus of the Commission. Upon a motion by Mr. Krieger with second by Ms. Meyer, the Commission supported alternative #4.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways (Missouri)
Ms. Stafford described the national park created to protect two rivers in the Ozark Mountains in southern Missouri; the park includes springs, caves, trails, and historic sites such as Alley Mill. She presented nine alternative reverse designs; the CCAC's preference is for alternative #2 featuring a turtle and a kayaker, and the site liaison's preference is for alternatives #4 and 8-A, both depicting Alley Mill.
Mr. Dunson commented that alternative #4 successfully brings together numerous themes with an overall emphasis on the site, which is less apparent with other design subjects such as the kayaker. Mr. Krieger offered support for alternative #7, due to its emphasis on deer and trees as well as the mill; he said that this composition conveys the three important components of flora, fauna, and human settlement of the area. Mr. Powell supported these comments and discouraged the emphasis on the turtle, which he said could be from any river.
Ms. Lehrer suggested consideration of alternative #3, which does not include a building. Ms. Meyer commented that this composition is overly complex due to its combination of two distinct scales. She asked if Alley Mill has a distinctive appearance that is unique to the Ozarks or is typical of mills in other parts of the country; Mr. Krieger and Mr. Dunson responded that it appears to be a generic type. Ms. Stafford added that the site representatives have confirmed the historical accuracy of the mill's depiction.
Mr. Krieger offered a motion, seconded by Mr. Powell, to recommend alternative #7 due to its combined emphasis on natural features and the human presence; the motion failed to achieve support of a majority. Ms. Meyer instead recommended alternative #4; the Commission adopted this action.
Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty National Monument (New Jersey)
Ms. Stafford presented eight alternative reverse designs for Ellis Island, which is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. She said that the CCAC declined to make a recommendation, while the site liaison supported alternative #3 depicting an immigrant family and alternatives #5 and #6 depicting the Ferry Building.
Ms. Lehrer supported alternative #3, which she said conveys the importance of the site as a threshold instead of simply featuring the architecture. However, she said that the depiction of the young girl seated on her father's shoulders should be refined to appear less like an adult. She also suggested that the inclusion of water would better convey the sense of an island within New York harbor; Ms. Gilbert suggested widening the view to include the water. Mr. Dunson observed that alternative #1 provides such a composition, telling the story of an arriving family hoping to cross a final barrier of water to reach a new country; he said that this composition conveys the story of Ellis Island in a compact view, emphasizing the last segment of the transatlantic voyage. He observed that the people in alternative #1 have an apprehensive expression, compared to the happy setting of alternative #3. Ms. Meyer agreed, supporting the powerful composition of alternative #1; however, she observed that the people, building, and water appear to be drawn by three different hands, and she therefore suggested further refinement of the graphics as typically required for adaptation from drawing to sculpture. Upon a motion by Ms. Meyer, the Commission recommended alternative #1.
George Rogers Clark National Historical Park (Indiana)
Ms. Stafford described the park as the location where Col. George Rogers Clark secured the surrender of a fort from the British in February 1779, solidifying U.S. control of the Northwest Territory during the Revolutionary War. She presented thirteen reverse design alternatives; several are recommended by the site liaison, with a first preference for alternative #10—also supported by the CCAC—depicting Clark leading his soldiers through the cold floodwaters.
Mr. Dunson offered support for alternative #5, which he said best conveys the accomplishment of capturing the fort along with a sense of boldness and strength. Ms. Meyer agreed, commenting that Clark's appearance seems too expressionless in alternative #8 and too intense in alternative #10; she said that a sense of vigilance is conveyed in #5. Mr. Powell agreed in supporting #5, which he said conveys a sense of the cold weather conditions, and Mr. Freelon said that the overall composition is also superior. Ms. Lehrer recommended careful study of the lettering, commenting that the letter spacing in the word "Bold" could be improved. Chairman Powell noted the consensus of the Commission to recommend alternative #5.
2. CFA 15/OCT/15-4, 2017 and 2018 Native American One-Dollar Coins. Designs for reverse. Final. (Previous: CFA 20/MAR/14-9, 2015 and 2016 issues.) Ms. Stafford summarized the program of annual reverse designs for the one-dollar coin to honor Native American contributions to the history of the United States; the obverse design would continue to depict Sacagawea. The previously selected historical themes were in chronological sequence through the 2016 issue; further coins in the series are no longer limited to the historical chronology. She noted that the themes and design alternatives for these coins, like others in the series, have been developed in consultation with the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, and have been reviewed by the Mint's Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the Congressional Native American Caucus of the House of Representatives, and the National Congress of American Indians; the presentation includes their multiple preferences and comments. Additional liaisons include representatives of the Cherokee Nation for the Sequoyah coin, and the sons of Jim Thorpe for the Jim Thorpe coin.
Ms. Stafford described the history of Sequoyah (1776–1843), who invented the Cherokee syllabary as a system of symbols for writing the Cherokee language; after his twelve-year effort with assistance from his daughter, the Cherokee Nation adopted the syllabary in 1821, and soon thousands of Cherokees became literate. The syllabary resulted in the first American Indian newspaper, The Cherokee Phoenix, which featured news and editorials related to the concerns of the Cherokee Nation. More generally, the syllabary contributed to the preservation of Cherokee culture and to a dialogue between the Cherokee Nation and the U.S. government. She presented thirteen reverse design alternatives, noting the preferences of the various consulted groups for alternatives #1, 2, 5, 9, 10, and 12.
Ms. Gilbert offered support for alternative #1; she cited the simplicity of the portrait and the clarity of the composition, with the phrase "United States of America" placed beside its translation using the syllabary. Chairman Powell noted the consensus of the Commission members to support alternative #1; upon a second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission adopted this recommendation.
Jim Thorpe (2018)
Ms. Stafford described the athletic achievements of Jim Thorpe (1888–1953), whose Indian name was Wa-Tho-Huk meaning "Path Lit by Lightning" or "Bright Path." His athletic prowess became well known during his college years, helping the Carlisle Indian Industrial School to defeat the football teams of nationally prominent colleges; he also excelled in track events, and he represented the U.S. in the 1912 Olympic Games with many first-place finishes. He later played professionally in several sports and was the first president of a precursor to the National Football League. She presented fifteen reverse design alternatives, noting the preferences of the various consulted groups for alternatives #4, 10, 12, and 15, with the suggestion for several of these designs to add Thorpe's Olympic medals to better convey the range of his achievements.
Mr. Freelon supported the preference of Thorpe's sons for alternative #4, using multiple portraits to illustrate the important theme of Thorpe's remarkably diverse athletic skills; he commented that this compositional technique is superior to the use of silhouettes to convey this theme in other alternatives. Mr. Krieger and Mr. Powell joined in supporting alternative #4. Ms. Stafford noted the suggestion of Thorpe's sons to change the inscription "Bright Path" to "Wa-Tho-Huk." Mr. Krieger supported this change.
Ms. Lehrer said that the text change would clarify his Indian ancestry, but she offered support for alternative #10 as a stronger illustration of his descent from Chief Black Hawk. She acknowledged that the emphasis on Thorpe's portrait in alternative #10 could create confusion with the Sacagawea portrait on the continuing obverse; Mr. Luebke clarified that this design would create a two-headed coin. Ms. Meyer commented that the text change for alternative #4 could affect the spacing of the composition, perhaps requiring removal of the house near the right edge of the design, which she said would be acceptable. Don Everhart, the Mint's lead sculptor-engraver, responded that a more condensed font could be used while keeping the lettering height that is depicted; he anticipated that the house could remain in the composition, while perhaps one of the trees behind the house would be removed. Ms. Lehrer said that the depicted trees should remain if the house is shown; she added that the meadow in front of the house could be depicted more carefully.
Upon a motion by Mr. Freelon with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission recommended alternative #4 with the comments provided.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:41 p.m.
Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA