CFA 21/JUN/18-4


3001 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC
United States

Smithsonian Institution
National Zoological Park
Visitor control and security checkpoints, Phase I -- supplemental perimeter fencing
Review Type


Dear Mr. Monfort:

In its meeting of 21 June, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a final proposal submitted by the Smithsonian Institution for supplemental perimeter fencing at the National Zoological Park at 3001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, which is located within Rock Creek Park. The Commission approved the submission with comments for its further development.

The Commission members expressed support for the proposal to improve security at the National Zoo, commenting favorably on the careful analysis evident in the presentation, which outlined a typology of fencing types derived from particular conditions of programming and topography. However, they raised concern that the character of the proposed fence—particularly the heavier security fence segments in a historicist design—would present the image of a substantial barrier around this zoological park, which had been originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to appear as integral with the surrounding parkland. Therefore, they recommended using black chain-link fencing in steeper, more wooded, or less visible areas, including segments around the power plant and where the fence adjoins the zoo’s entrance gates on Connecticut Avenue. To better convey the programmatic need for security without confusing this contemporary barrier with the zoo’s more open historic perimeter fence, they also recommended further study of the tops of the fence pickets, suggesting the specification of simple, modern tops rather than the proposed historicist spear-point finials.

The Commission looks forward to future submissions related to this larger project, which will include security screening gates and entrance pavilions, as well as connections to the proposed garage facility. As always, the Commission staff is available to help you with the development of the design.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Steven Monfort, Acting Director
Smithsonian National Zoological Park
PO Box 37012 MRC 511
Washington, DC 20013-7012

cc: Peter Baker, Ayers Saint Gross
Doug Hays, Michael Vergason Landscape Architects