CFA 19/JUL/07-2


Department of Homeland Security, Nebraska Avenue Complex
Nebraska and Massachusetts Avenue, NW
United States

U.S. General Services Administration
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Nebraska Avenue Complex
Perimeter security upgrades and new structures
Review Type


Dear Mr. McGill:

In its meeting of 19 July, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the proposed concept design for security improvements at the Department of Homeland Security complex in northwest Washington and approved the project with reluctance. The Commission members expressed disappointment with the ad-hoc nature of the security features surrounding the complex, commenting that the Department of Homeland Security's campus should serve as a national model for thoughtful security design.

While the Commission members appreciated the effort to improve the visual character of the site and the functionality of many of the perimeter security features, they expressed the desire that a better design be developed. In particular, the members raised concerns about the appearance of the extensive length of non-climbable fencing and suggested that other designs or landscaping strategies be considered. However, due to the apparent constraints placed upon the architect by the client agency, the Commission concluded that further discussion would not result in an improved design.

The Commission members acknowledged the efforts of the General Services Administration to address the design of fences and other security elements have become an unwelcome necessity in many of the projects they have reviewed in recent years. The Commission urged strongly that the General Services Administration use its authority more emphatically to continue the development and promotion of sensitive and innovative solutions to the design of security elements.

Please submit the final design and construction drawings for the project when ready. As always, the staff is available should additional questions arise.



Thomas E. Luebke, AIA

Michael McGill
Special Assistant for Regional Coordination
U.S. General Services Administration
301 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20407-0001

cc: Mary Costa, General Services Administration