CFA 20/OCT/22-1


West Potomac Park at the southwest corner of 23rd Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC
United States

National Park Service
National Desert Shield and Desert Storm Memorial
Design for new memorial
Review Type
Revised concept
Previous Review


Dear Ms. Hall:

In its public meeting of 20 October conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a revised concept submission for the National Desert Shield and Desert Storm Memorial, to be located near the southwest corner of 23rd Street and Constitution Avenue, NW. The Commission approved the revised concept proposal and delegated review of the final design to the staff, with the following comments.

The Commission members expressed strong support for the proposal, congratulating the project team on a design that ties together sculpture and landscape architecture in a coherent whole that will clearly communicate the commemorative meaning while also creating a gracious public space. Commending the careful attention to detail evident throughout the design, they endorsed the selection of “Giallo Antico” granite, which they found would be successful in evoking the Kuwaiti desert conditions in the forms of the barchan dunes and in the bas-relief sculpture. They supported the design refinement of the paving and the central fountain, citing the subtly swirling paving pattern that reinforces the imagery of the memorial. For the plantings, they commended the choice of unmown Carex praegracilis grass on the berms behind the curved stone walls for its dynamic, natural appearance; however, they observed that the overall planting plan appears busy, particularly at the internal berms, and they recommended simplifying and clarifying the palette to strengthen the experience of moving past the dune walls to the central space reminiscent of an oasis.

The Commission looks forward to the completion of this outstanding new memorial on the National Mall. For the delegated review of the final design, including the refinement of the sculptural elements, please coordinate with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Kym A. Hall, Area Director
Region 1 – National Capital Area
National Park Service
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242

cc: Skip Graffam, The Olin Studio
Emily Bedard, sculptor
Robert Eccleston, sculptor
Scott Stump, National Desert Storm War Memorial Association
Marcel Acosta, National Capital Planning Commission