Proposed Design Guidelines
July 27, 2006
The following design guidelines for Site A proposed by the National Park Service have been developed cooperatively by CFA and NCPC staffs for consideration by both the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission. In accordance with Public Law 108-126, the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission may develop design guidelines for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center as mutually agreed upon by the two commissions. Additionally, NCPC is required under the National Environmental Policy Act to issue a finding on the National Park Service's Environmental Assessment for this project, and the following design guidelines are required to mitigate otherwise significant impacts of the site selection in order for NCPC's executive director to issue a Finding Of No Significant Impact.
1. The Visitor Center will be constructed underground as required by the authorizing legislation for the project with no portion of the building or related building elements visible from any portion of the Lincoln Memorial steps and podium, from Constitution Avenue, and from within the axial viewsheds of 23rd Street, N.W. and Henry Bacon Drive, N.W.
2. The Visitor Center's entrance will be only minimally visible from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to satisfy the project's purpose and need, but in accordance with the authorizing legislation will not interfere with or encroach upon the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
3. To maintain the character of the historic landscape, the Visitor Center's design concept will be based on maintaining the existing grade, and any new slopes will be gradual. The project will raise the existing site grade only to allow for an accessible entry ramp.
4. The Visitor Center will be designed such that light emanating from the Center's interior will not be visible from any portion of the Lincoln Memorial, from Constitution Avenue, and from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial so as not to interfere with or encroach upon the Lincoln Memorial or the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
5. The Visitor Center will not intrude into the landscape. No protrusions, such as skylights, monitors, light wells, or sunken areaways, will be visible from the sidewalk surrounding the site.
6. The Visitor Center's site lighting for public safety will not interfere with or encroach upon views to and from the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
7. The Visitor Center's design will provide only the paved area necessary for visitors to enter and exit the building and which will also provide service access. The design will not include additional paved area for gathering space or queuing.
8. The project will not include new vehicle parking areas.
9. The Visitor Center will have a single entrance for both visitors and service.
10. The Visitor Center's associated pedestrian street crossing points will be designed to address traffic impacts effectively and to protect pedestrian safety.
11. The Visitor Center will be constructed only on the portion of the site that lies outside of the critical root zone of existing elm trees. The applicant will develop a tree protection plan to protect and preserve the trees both during and after construction in accordance with standard design and construction procedures.
12. The project will place new landscaping on the site in accordance with the National Park Service's Cultural Landscape Report for the Lincoln Memorial referenced in the Environmental Assessment and will maintain the open grass panel on the site surrounded at the site's perimeter by elm trees.
13. The Visitor Center design will not impede the use of the site for multi-purpose recreation on the site.
14. The Visitor Center will be designed without guardrails or perimeter security elements.
Approved, July 27, 2006