CFA 18/JAN/07-2


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial
Independence Avenue, SW at the northwestern rim of the Tidal Basin
United States

National Park Service
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial
Transition areas between the inscription walls and the stones of the Mountain of Despair
Review Type
Revised concept
Previous Review


Dear Ms. Mendelson-Ielmini:

In the meeting of 18 January, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the revised concept for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial showing the inclusion of water features at the transition areas between the inscription walls and the stones of the "Mountain of Despair." The Commission affirmed the use of water as an important symbolic element in the overall design of the memorial and approved the general concept of including water at the transition areas or elsewhere in the memorial. In their discussion, the Commission members expressed concern about the detailing of this feature and emphasized that the design should be developed in a way that emphasizes the water's symbolism and does not detract from the central visual and thematic power of the Mountain of Despair. They asked that the Memorial Foundation engage the designers to explore alternatives for an appropriate solution.

The Commission looks forward to resolution of the water feature and refinement of the transition areas as part of a future submission that includes material samples, development of the landscape design, and information about the sculpture and inscriptions. As always, the staff is available to assist you.


/s/Thomas Luebke, AIA

Lisa A. Mendelson-Ielmini
Acting Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242

cc: John Parsons, National Park Service
Ed Jackson, Jr., Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Foundation, Inc.