Dear Secretary Djou:
In its public meeting of 16 February conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept design submission for a new interpretive center at the Honolulu Memorial, located within the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Commission approved the concept submission and provided the following comments for the development of the design.
The Commission members expressed support for the siting and massing of the two additions on either side of the memorial’s map galleries, characterizing them as efficient and respectful insertions within this commemorative architectural context. However, they commented that the exterior expression of the additions would benefit from further refinement, particularly in the simplification of the material palette of the architecture. Specifically, they recommended the introduction of travertine at the entrances of the additions in order to be more compatible with the honorific character of the memorial and to help identify them as public amenities. They also suggested using fewer materials in a simpler composition, such as wood or bronze doors with inset glazing, set within the travertine-clad entrance volumes; this would allow these secondary entrances to recede visually while still having an appropriately expressive quality as public amenities. Regarding the facades of the additions at the perimeter roadway, they commented that the organically-patterned precast concrete appears to compete with the proposed landscape of canopy trees and low shrubs; instead, they suggested using a simpler finish of concrete to provide a quiet background for a lush palette of native Hawaiian plantings that would better situate the new additions within the site.
The Commission members look forward to further review of this important project. Please coordinate the next submission with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Charles K. Djou, Secretary
American Battle Monuments Commission
2300 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 500
Arlington, VA 22201
cc: Mary Kay Lanzillotta, Hartman-Cox Architects
Louis Fung, FAI Architects