Dear Mr. Maj:
In its meeting of 15 March, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the design of the proposed new boundary niche wall for Arlington National Cemetery's Land Development 90 Project. Prior to the meeting, the Commission visited the Cemetery and inspected the site of the new wall along Route 110.
The Commission reaffirmed its previous support from its review of the Cemetery master plan for the construction of the new wall and the inclusion of inurnment niches on its inner face. The Commission members remarked on the great scale of the project and the need for strength and simplicity in the design of the wall. They recommended that the design be revised to emphasize the wall as a landscape element in contrast to the more architectural character of the nearby columbarium. The articulated piers should be eliminated so that the continuous fabric of the wall will be perceived consistent with the character of the existing fieldstone boundary walls. The wall should be made taller to enhance the solemnity of the setting in contrast to the adjacent roadway; this additional height would allow the niches to be elevated to accommodate a generous fieldstone base instead of the small granite base that was proposed. The Commission members objected to the use of precast concrete for the wall coping and recommended that stone be used.
The Commission members expressed their wish to avoid delaying the development of this project and asked that the design team consult with the staff as they refine the design of the new wall for the next submission. The Commission looks forward to continuing the review of this important project.
Thomas E. Luebke, AIA
Ronald J. Maj, P.E.
Chief, Military Design Management Branch
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District
P.O. Box 1715
Baltimore, MD 21203-1715
cc: John Metzler, Arlington National Cemetery
Katherine Basye Welton, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers