Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and Grounds, West Potomac Park
Dear Ms. O'Dell:
In its meeting of 18 March, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the proposed final design for perimeter security, accessible circulation, and landscape improvements east of the Lincoln Memorial, including rehabilitation of the Reflecting Pool. The Commission expressed appreciation for the design team's thorough exploration of the many complex issues and approved the final design with several recommendations.
The Commission supported the preferred configuration as revised in this submission for the treatment of the plaza east of the Memorial Circle and the associated perimeter security elements and access walkways. However, the Commission members requested that the design team restudy the grade of the earth in relation to the curving walls north and south of the Elm Walks. They also recommended that the spacing of furniture, lights, and trash receptacles along the Elm Walks be reconsidered in order to maximize uninterrupted segments of the edges of the walks; they asked that the level of illumination be as low as possible to reduce the impact of lighting on the historic landscape.
While accepting the use of hard paving materials as proposed for the Elm Walks and the new paths along the Reflecting Pool, the Commission members emphasized that the approval of hard pavement in these particular locations should not be considered as setting a precedent for the National Mall as a whole. In its approval of the final design, the Commission stipulated that the final selection of paving materials is subject to inspection and approval of an on-site mockup.
Regarding the proposal to introduce a new system to improve water quality in the Reflecting Pool, the Commission members approved the design to treat water pumped from the Tidal Basin in a utilitarian structure associated with the stables located in the Ash Woods complex. However, the Commission requested that the National Park Service undertake a study of the Ash Woods area, including consideration of: maintenance facility needs; alternative uses of the site; the design character of the site in the context of nearby memorials; and the experience of visitors, possibly including interpretation of facilities such as the stables.
The Commission looks forward to the realization of this comprehensive design, which will complete the program of perimeter security and accessibility for the Lincoln Memorial and will improve environmental quality for the Reflecting Pool. The Commission staff is available to assist you in resolving the outstanding design issues.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, AIA
Margaret O'Dell, Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242
cc: Peter May, National Park Service
Alan Ward, Sasaki Associates