Minutes for CFA Meeting — 20 February 2003

The meeting was convened at 10:34 a.m. in the Commission of Fine Arts offices in the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Suite 312, Washington, DC 20001.

Members present:
Hon. Harry G. Robinson III, Chairman
Hon. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, Vice Chairman
Hon. Carolyn Brody
Hon. Donald Capoccia
Hon. David Childs
Hon. Pamela Nelson
Hon. Eden Rafshoon

Staff present:
Mr. Charles H. Atherton, Secretary
Mr. Frederick J. Lindstrom, Assistant Secretary
Ms. Kristina. Alg
Ms. Sue Kohler
Mr. Jose Martinez
Ms. Susan Raposa

National Capital Planning Commission staff present:
Mr. David Hamilton
Mr. Tony Simon


The  agenda order was  changed  and the Kennedy Center submission followed by the National Zoo project was discussed first, with the items under Administration taken up at the end of the meeting.


A. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

CFA 20/FEB/03-1, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. New plaza with two new buildings and alterations to the terraces. Concept.

The Assistant Secretary said this submission was for another part in the ongoing access study undertaken by the Kennedy Center and Federal Highway Administration, designed to improve the connection of the Center to the rest of the city. He introduced Michael Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center, to begin the presentation.

Mr. Kaiser said this project was designed to transform the Center itself as well as address a part of the city's highway system which had always been problematic, that is, the mass of freeways surrounding the Center. These made access to it difficult, especially for those who did not arrive by car, including people who lived and worked downtown and the millions of tourists who visited the city. He recalled that the access study published in January 2001 proposed sinking some of the highways directly to the east of the Center and building a plaza over them that would allow E Street to continue directly from 23rd Street to the Center. The study also suggested that two new buildings could be added at the same time to provide badly-needed office, rehearsal, and education space. Mr. Kaiser remarked that when the Center was built, for example, there was only one office, for the person who ran the Center and a secretary; at present the administrative staff totaled 300. There had been no allowance for rehearsal space, and no classrooms for what had become a $15 million per year art education program. All of this had been imparted to the twenty-eight architects interviewed during the search process, and after eleven months, there had been a unanimous decision that Rafael Vignoly of New York would be the one most able to address the Kennedy Center's needs. He asked Mr. Vignoly to discuss his solution to their problems and the conceptual framework underlying it.

Mr. Vignoly recalled his first visit to Washington and how he was struck by the beauty of the city, but also by the integration, or at times lack of it, between the Neoclassical plan and the park areas, the relationship of the city to the river, and how the monuments were placed within the central axis. He said his work was really just expressing architecturally a decision that had been made in the year 2000 about making the Center a part of the city, a part of the park, and a part of the life of the citizens of Washington and of the nation. He recalled a tour of the city given to him by the Commission's late chairman, J. Carter Brown, who explained to him the Center's history, how the first design resembled the curvilinear forms of the adjacent Watergate apartment building, and then how it was changed and became a "late Modernist box" that had troubles not only with its functional requirements but also urban design problems-did it belong to the grid or did it belong to the park? Architecturally, the building clearly belonged to the orthogonal grid, whereas the organic forms of the Watergate related it to natural, or park-like conditions. But the Kennedy Center was a memorial, and in Washington memorials were set in the landscape, so he said he had chosen to extend the perception of the park setting and play down the "simplistic form of the box". Since the Center was also tied to the grid by its location and the fact that its patrons would arrive from within the grid, the transition to the park/memorial condition should be gradual. His concept of how to achieve this was to join the building to the city by a great plaza raised over the freeways which so effectively cut the Center off , a plaza shaped like a trumpet with it narrow end to the east, fanning out to embrace the building and continuing around it in the form of an elliptical promenade extending out over the river. The plaza would be lined by drives and by tree-lined pedestrian walks. There would also be a smaller transverse elliptical plaza directly in front of the east facade of the Center which could be used for outdoor performances. On each side, where the main plaza began to open out, a building would be placed, one to accommodate educational functions and the other offices and rehearsal space. The buildings had curved facades, neither one to be considered front or back. Mr. Vinoly commented that this omnidirectional aspect was characteristic of Washington memorials. In addition to their practical function, these buildings would serve a design purpose: they would funnel the visitor attention toward the main Center building. Pedestrian and vehicular access would be accommodated on different levels where necessary, and underground access would join the new buildings to the original one. The new buildings would have diagonal views over the city and to the river, the parkland and the Lincoln Memorial, which would be connected to the Center by pedestrian paths.

Noting that a water feature was characteristic of most Washington memorials, Mr. Vinoly discussed his. Taking advantage of the drop in grade from 23rd Street to the Center, he had design designed a cascading fountain that would begin at 23rd Street and flow towards the Center, widening in response to the shape of the plaza and culminating in a round pool in front of the transverse oval plaza and east facade of the Center. The fountain would accentuate the main Kennedy Center axis much as the Reflecting Pool did for the main Mall axis and would strengthen the perception of the building as the final destination.

The members had several questions for Mr. Vinoly, mostly concerned with scale and dimensions and the nature of the pedestrian connections. A comment was made that there was just the right amount of decking, covering the freeways; there should be no more and no less. A question was asked about the large amount of glass in the two new buildings and Mr. Vinoly's comment that the public would be able to watch rehearsals and other aspects of preparation for performances would the artists be comfortable with that? Mr. Vinoly said there would be curtains to close off any areas where public scrutiny was not wanted. Both he and Claudette Donlon, executive vice-president of the Kennedy Center, stressed that this was a very preliminary presentation, and that many things remained to be worked out.

In general, the Commission was extremely pleased with the concept, feeling that it seemed the perfect solution to the many problems that had plagued the Kennedy Center from the beginning; Mr. Vinoly's framing of the design within the Baroque nature of Washington's city plan was termed "brilliant". A motion was made and seconded that the plan for the Kennedy Center be approved as a preliminary design approach; it was carried unanimously.

B. Smithsonian Institution / National Zoological Park

CFA 20/ FEB/03-3, National Zoological Park. New Asia Trail. South of the Olmsted Walk. Concept.

Staff member Jose Martinez introduced this submission, which would be part of a continuing program to "Renew the Zoo", to be completed in 2005 to celebrate the 115th anniversary of that facility. He showed an aerial photograph, pointing out the Connecticut Avenue entrance, the visitor center, and to the south, an area at present essentially vacant which would be used for new buildings as part of the renewal program. He introduced Dr. Lucy Spelman, director of the Zoo, to talk about this program and introduce the Asia Trail presentation.

Dr. Spelman began by noting that most of the Zoo had been built between 1890 and 1930, and although renovations had been carried out, there were still animal areas seventy years old, whereas the modem standard was to replace them after twenty-five years. She observed also that the way animals were housed and the way visitors experienced them was quite different than it had been in the past. She stressed that the emphasis now was on programs for the study of the animals, not simply on exhibits. She said they planned a phased renewal whereby the animals housed in the oldest exhibit areas would be moved to new quarters in the empty area south of the visitors center. These animals would include the sloth bears, fishing cats, clouded leopards, giant salamanders, and red pandas. In this way exhibits would not have to be closed down and the entire zoo could be kept open. Dr. Spelman then introduced architect Leon Chatelain to talk about the plans for the Asia Trail

Mr. Chatelain showed a site plan, saying that they would be dealing with everything from Connecticut Avenue down to the Panda House in developing the Asia Trail. He asked Warren Byrd, from Nelson-Byrd, Landscape Architects, to take the members through the trail and give them some idea of what was being proposed.

Mr. Byrd said first that this would be a two-way trail and could be entered at either end from Olmsted Walk, or at the Connecticut Avenue entrance, from the visitors center area. The intention was to create a reciprocal experience between animals and humans; at the same time, they wanted to strike the right balance between acknowledging the vegetative and geologic character of the Rock Creek Park watershed and creating a trail that used typical Asiatic materials and structure as well as plants native to Asia that would thrive here, or those that resembled them and were native to the Washington area. Bamboo would be used frequently in the plantings, not only because it was the pandas favorite food, but because it was so prevalent in Asia. Grottoes and waterfalls would be introduced along the trail, as they were common in the native habitats of these animals and pleasing to the visitors. Natural stone from, the Rock Creek valley as well as Asian stone would be used, and for some special construction, such as the termite mounds in the sloth bear, a synthetic material, such as gunnite,would be used. In answer to a question, he said he would bring all these materials for the Commission to see.

Mr. Byrd said the trail itself would be made primarily of a natural material, bound with natural resins, that looked like brownish, stabilized soil. It would be elevated throughout much of its length, satisfying animal barrier requirements and permitting upper-level viewing of the panda yards; space beneath the trail would be used for storage, animal holding, and other purposes. The trail would be from 12 to 15-feet wide and ADA accessible. Mr. Byrd commented on the railings used throughout the trail, saying they would be as transparent as possible. He pointed out areas on the drawings which he said represented glass enclosures that constituted the barrier between humans and animals. Dr. Spelman noted that the glass would not be a one-way view glass; she said the animals were aware of humans being around them, could see them, and liked to interact.

The members were pleased with the presentation but hesitated to grant concept approval without seeing the site. At the Chairman's suggestion a motion was framed that encouraged further development of the concept as seen, and approval pending a site visit. It was seconded and carried unanimously.

C. National Museum of African American History and Culture Plan for Action Presidential Commission

CFA 20/FEB/03-2, National Museum of African American History and Culture. Information presentation on site selection study.

Mr. Lindstrom introduced a submission for an information presentation from the National Museum of African-American History and Culture Plan for Action Presidential Commission to present their proposed site selections for a National Museum of African American History and Culture. He introduced commissioner Robert Wilkins, chair of the Site and Building Committee, who then introduced E. Verner Johnson of E. Verner Johnson & Associates, a museum consulting firm in Boston, Massachusetts, and his associate Guy Herman. He also introduced two other members of his commission, Andrew McLemore, chair of the commission's Finance and Fund-raising Committee and Howard Dodson, a member of the Site Committee and Program Committee.

Mr. Wilkins began the presentation by giving a brief background of his commission, and a history of the movement to create a National Museum of African-American History and Culture. A description of the commission's planning process and detailed overview of five proposed sites for the museum would come later in the presentation.

In December 2001, Congress passed legislation (P.L. 107-106) that created the National Museum of African American History and Culture Plan for Action Presidential Commission. The commission was directed to submit a report to Congress detailing a plan of action for creating the museum. Among the issues to be addressed in this report were availability and cost, the cost of renovating the Smithsonian's Arts and Industries Building as a possible site, and the proposal of sites on or adjacent to the National Mall. The commission was also charged with creating draft legislation for the proposed museum. Mr. Wilkins said that his commission wanted to include the reactions of the Commission of Fine Arts to the proposed sites when they make their site recommendation in their report to Congress.

Mr. Wilkins explained that the movement to create a National Museum of African American History and Culture began with a march held in 1915, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a victory parade of Union troops through Washington. Colored troops who served in the Union army were not invited to participate in that 1865 parade, An association was formed after the 1915 march to establish a permanent memorial in Washington to the achievements of African-American soldiers and sailors. The desired memorial was a memorial building to exhibit various areas of African-American arts, history and culture. Edward R. Williams, a New York based African-American architect, designed a concept for the building. Legislation was introduced in 1919 and a House Committee contacted the Commission of Fine Arts and asked for their opinion on possible sites for the memorial building. The Commission of Fine Arts suggested four possible sites; the current locations of the National Gallery of Art's east and west buildings, the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian. In 1929, Congress approved legislation authorizing the construction this national memorial building and a presidential commission to oversee the project was formed. The stock market crash of October 1929 prevented the commission from raising the $500,000 in private funds needed to qualify for a federal grant of $50,000. In 1933, the commission was abolished by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Interest in the project was renewed starting in the 1960s, and in 1989, the Smithsonian created an African-American Institutional Study Commission to examine the possibility of creating a national museum dedicated to African-American history and culture. This commission recommended that such a museum should be established and it proposed using the Arts and Industries Building as a temporary facility. Controversy over the use of the Arts and Industries Building, among other things, kept legislation from being passed. The next attempt to revive the project, Mr. Wilkins concluded, was the present commission on which he serves.

Mr. Guy Herman continued the presentation with a description of the preliminary planning work for the museum, in terms of its mission and what facilities would be needed to carry out that mission. Although the mission statement was still in draft form, it asserted that the museum would collect and preserve artifacts which it would use to educate people about the African-American experience. The museum would be a referential institution for museums and other institutions worldwide. It would accommodate between 2 and 3 million visitors annually and would require large lobby and gathering spaces. It would need to have exhibit areas for art, traditional historical and immersive historical exhibits. Spaces for performance venues, including a large theater, would be required, as would classroom and educational spaces. The museum would also need administrative and support areas as well as limited collection storage. Mr. Herman said that while there was currently no collection, the museum would be actively collecting and an off-site storage facility, such as used by the Smithsonian, was a possibility.

Mr. E. Verner Johnson said that eleven potential sites were considered before being narrowed down to five. The preliminary site criteria was that the site be available or potentially available, be large enough to accommodate the museum's programs and be on or adjacent to the National Mall, per the legislation. Before Mr. Johnson continued his presentation, Mr. Wilkins addressed possible concerns with the selection of the proposed sites. Since two of the proposed sites are on the Mall, he said, there could be concerns regarding the reserve policy and the commemorative zone policy as well as interest in preserving the L'Enfant and McMillan Commission plans. He said that the commission studied the Memorials and Museum Master Plan and the commemorative zone policy as well as the L'Enfant and McMillan plans, and believed that the proposed sites on the Mall would be true to the plans' intents. He pointed out that the two Mall sites were designated as building sites in both the L'Enfant and McMillan plans. He also said that Mall sites were in keeping with their Congressional mandate and that there was Congressional support for Mall sites.

Mr. Johnson prefaced the proposed sites presentation by explaining that the sites were each examined in great detail, not so much from an architectural standpoint, as from a functional standpoint. In looking at the sites, the intent was to determine if the sites would be adequate in terms of footprint and massing; if a good museum could work on the site. Mr. Johnson then discussed the sites in some detail, highlighting the pros and cons, of each one.

The Monument Site (Constitution Avenue between 14th and15th Streets, immediately west of the National Museum of American History)

Both the L'Enfant and McMillan plans allowed for a building on this site. In 1910, the Commission of Fine Arts approved plans for a State Department building there, though that building was never constructed. A building on this site would be outside an 800 feet radius from the Washington Monument, and would be no closer to the Monument than any other existing building. The pros of this site were that the building would be on the National Mall, adjacent to the Washington Monument, could easily accommodate the building program and would be adjacent to the National Museum of American History. The cons were that availability was uncertain, there was some debate about then site's location under the reserve policy and the site was surrounded by busy roads.

The Capitol Site (Pennsylvania Avenue between I" and 3rd Streets, north of Capitol Reflecting Pool and south of Constitution Avenue)

As with the Monument Site, the L'Enfant and McMillan plans allowed for a building on this site. The Museum would have views to the Capitol and the Mall, and down Pennsylvania Avenue. Other pros to this site were the proximity to Mall museums, the ability to accommodate the museum program with the addition of significant public outdoor space and good access to public transportation, The cons were uncertain availability, and a central artery under the western portion which would restrict what could be built on that portion. Mr. Johnson added that Congress approved a Congressional Award Youth Park and that the site was being studied for that use.

The Arts and Industries Building (on the National Mall at 9th Street, next to the Smithsonian Castle)

Mr. Johnson said that since the building only has 150,000 square feet, two major expansions would be necessary to accommodate the museum program. One expansion would be on the west side, that fills in the underground to the South Quadrangle. The Smithsonian, however, had plans to add mechanical and other support space in the area between the Arts and Industries and the South Quadrangle. The other expansion would go under Jefferson Drive to the fringes of the Mall area. This expansion would be necessary in order to have a museum quality environment without destroying this historic structure. The pros of using Arts and Industries were that the building was an attractive, unique and distinctive historic building with a central location on the Mall. It would have a direct connection to the African Art Museum. The cons were that the building has no relation to African-American  history and would not be able to meet the requirements for temperature and humidity control, acoustics or lighting. The museum program would not fit efficiently into the structure and would require an underground addition beneath the street.

The Overlook Site (10th Street, or Benjamin Banneker, Overlook at the end of L'Enfant Boulevard and the adjacent area of the Southwest Waterfront)

This would be the largest site, with 347,000 square feet, located one half mile from, and on axis with, the Smithsonian Castle. It's location at the end of the L'Enfant Promenade could provide a gateway between the Southwest Waterfront and the National Mall. The other pros to this site were good views, although the Forrestal Building blocks the view of the Castle. The proximity and visual access to the Waterfront could facilitate a Freedom Ship exhibit. The site would have generous outdoor spaces. The cons were that the site was not on the Mall and it was very close to Highway 395. The site would possibly have to be shared for other uses, such as parking.

The Liberty Loan Site (Liberty Loan Building on 14th Street, across Maine Avenue from the Tidal Basin)

The pros of this site were potentially good views of the Tidal Basin, the Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorials and the Washington Monument. Its location at the 14th Street Bridge could serve as a gateway to the city, lending it iconic importance. The cons were that the site was not on the Mall. There would be no room for landscaping, a plaza, parking or for any outdoor activities. There would be no possibility for future expansion. An existing building on the site would have to be demolished.

In evaluating the sites, Mr. Johnson's firm looked at these areas: access, availability, size, size quality, design, location, museum program and initial and long-term costs. He indicated a chart which illustrated the ranking of the sites, and briefly discussed the order of preference. The Monument and Capitol sites received the highest ranking. The Overlook site, though not on the Mall, also ranked well. Arts and Industries was on the Mall, but had significant constraints. Liberty Loan was described as less than ideal. He noted that the commission itself had not done a formal ranking of the sites.

With that, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Wilkins concluded their presentation and invited questions.

Opinions from the Commission were varied, with much of the discussion focusing on the Monument, Capitol and Overlook sites. Members also encouraged Mr. Wilkins and his commission to consider factors such as the expediency with which they wanted to see their project completed and the responsibilities that would come with building a museum on a very prominent site. There was brief discussion about whether choosing a prominent -and available-though less desirable place on the Mall, the Arts and Industries Building, would be worth compromises, just for the sake of getting the museum established. Addressing this question, Mr. Johnson stated that reconfiguring the Arts and Industries Building would be as costly as constructing a new building. Mr. Wilkins later asserted that, while he does not wish to see the project delayed any longer than it already has been, it is very important that the best site be chosen.

Before the Commission continued their discussion, the Chairman invited members of the public to comment. John Parsons, of the National Park Service, expressed concerns about the Monument Site being designated as a reserve area. Referring to the Memorials and Museums Master Plan, Mr. Parsons stated that the both the Monument and Capitol sites were deemed appropriate for memorials rather than museums. He suggested that the Overlook Site may work the best, since it would tie in with the District's Southwest Waterfront Renewal project.

The discussion of site availability continued with the current uses of Monument and Capitol sites. It was determined that the Monument site would be available sooner, since the Capitol site, under the jurisdiction of the Architect of the Capitol, was currently being used as a staging area for the construction of the Capitol's underground visitor center, making it unavailable for possibly five or more years. The Monument site, referred to by Mr. Parsons as Reservation 2, was used as softball fields and was also considered part of the Washington Monument grounds, where large events are held. One of the members felt the long wait for the Capitol site should rule it out, since a project this important should not be delayed any further.

When asked if the Overlook site was ranked third, Mr. Wilkins replied that it essentially was, though no formal ranking had been done by his commission Despite its availability, there were some concerns about the site, mainly with access. Mr. Wilkins said that the L'Enfant Promenade would have to be improved, and area would have to be made more inviting as a destination point. Because, like the Holocaust Museum, this museum would have a strong educational mission, it was important that it not be in a location so remote from other museums. While there were potentially good opportunities at the Overlook site, Mr. Wilkins said that the commission strived to take all factors into account in making their recommendation. He confirmed, when asked to do so, that the recommendation made by his commission could well be the basis of a Congressionally legislated site selection for the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

At the request of the Chairman, Mr. Parsons briefly described the District's plans for the Southwest Waterfront renewal project. He said that it is part of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative which would involve large scale mixed use development all along the waterfront. There were plans for a parking garage on Park Service land in the area, which would be accessed by the Southwest Freeway. The site has been authorized for a museum or a memorial. A strong opinion was expressed from the Commission that this museum required a central site, due not only to the wishes of the museum's commission, but also to the importance of the museum whose mission addresses "one of the great unresolved issues in American life." Mr. Howard Dodson, commission member and member of the Site Committee and Program Committee, stated that he concurred. He asserted that a Mall location for this museum would complete other stories of the American experience being told there, thereby giving visitors a complete picture of American history. Siting the museum in a more remote location may imply that it has not the "same level and status and respect that the other museums in the Mall complex have." He also indicated that there was Congressional support for a Mall location. Mr. Andy McLemore, commission member and chair of the Finance Committee said that a Mall location would facilitate fundraising to match federal funds.

One of Commission members suggested that the Overlook site be offered as a second choice. The member agreed that a central location was important, but from a practical standpoint, given the debates over the use of the reserve, a viable alternative may help establish the museum sooner rather than later. The Overlook site could be very beneficial, since that waterfront area is now the focus of a major revitalization effort. This last sentiment was echoed by another member who felt that in the evolution of cities, an area such as the Southwest Waterfront could well become a central location. The member also cautioned against using "unused space" such as the Monument site, since there was a need for a green expanse in this urban site. The member felt that the monument grounds would feel too crowded with a building there. The Capitol site, being a Mall site, would also be undesirable for the same reasons.

These concerns were seconded within the Commission, with a comment that a building on the Monument site would essentially truncate the Washington Monument's front yard and add too much density to the area. If there were to be a building on that site, however, they may wish to consider a building with more transparency or reduce the above-ground massing. In any case, it was agreed that if the Monument site were selected, much care should be taken in selecting an architect and that perhaps an international competition could be held to make that selection.

Another possible Mall site suggested by a member was a site south of the proposed new access to the Kennedy Center and south of the site of the proposed Peace Institute. Mr. Parsons replied that the site in question was considered by the interagency task force that produced the Memorials and Museums Master Plan, and it was decided that anything on thatsite would encroach too much on the Lincoln Memorial.

The Chairman complimented Mr. Wilkins and his colleagues on their presentation.

Whereupon, at 1:37 PM, the meeting recessed for lunch until 2:15 PM.

D. District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs

1. Shipstead-Luce Act

S.L.03- 019, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.    The Freedom Forum. New mixed use building to house the Newseum. Concept. (Last seen 19 December 2002).

Staff member Kristina Alg introduced this project, noting that when it was last seen the Commission had concerns about the height, the transparency, the First Amendment quotation on the front of the building, and some smaller issues, including the loading docks. She said both Peter Pritchard, president of the Freedom Forum, and architect James Polshek would make the presentation, and she asked Mr. Pritchard to begin.

Mr. Pritchard first noted the presence of Charles Overby, the president and chief executive of the Freedom Forum. He then talked about the progress that had been made during the past two years on this project. He said the goal was to reach more visitors and increase the impact of their educational programs. To that end they had been willing to make a $400 million investment in these uncertain times to enliven Pennsylvania Avenue, educate and entertain millions of visitors, and bring a significant economic benefit to the city. He said zoning required that they include 145,000 square feet of housing and 30,000 square feet of retail in the building, and he said they had not tried to maximize the economic benefit of the housing and, in fact, doubted that they would even break even on it. The emphasis had been on maximizing the potential of the Newseum; it would have about 260,000 square feet of space, which they believed was needed to bring it into the ranks of the great museums of the world. They hoped to attract one million visitors a year and to make it "a worldwide beacon for the First Amendment, a free press and strong journalism values."

Mr. Pritchard said the project had strong support. In the past two years they had consulted with more than twenty municipal and federal agencies as well as neighborhood and civic improvement groups, making many adjustments to the design in response to the comments received. He said the Commission of Fine Arts was the first agency to see the design, when in June 2001 it was shown to the late chairman, Carter Brown, and the Commission staff. The next person to see it was Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who was enthusiastic about it. Mr. Pritchard recalled that they had attended at least seven meetings with the Commission or its staff, and he said they had appreciated the professional consideration given to the project, and had tried to respond to the Commission's comments, particularly to those on the third bar of the design, even though changing its profile would have a negative impact on their flexibility and their programs.

Mr. Pritchard said the most frequently asked question about the Newseum was the opening date, He said if they could get concept approval from the Commission at this meeting, they would be able to open in late 2006. He then introduced architect James Polshek to show the Commission the progress he had made in meeting the members' concerns. Mr. Polshek said the last time he had been before the Commission there were four concerns expressed, and he would like to address each one of them. He noted first that in regard to a reduction in the square footage of the program, they had more or less reached rock bottom, but he thought the Commission would see with this presentation that the members' concerns had been addressed successfully. He said he hoped conceptual approval could be granted so that they could continue to refine the design until they were ready to return with their permit application drawings in about a year's time. He then turned to a discussion of each of the Commission's concerns.

1. The width of the openings to the loading docks. Mr. Polshek showed drawings of the original submission, noting that there were five doors, one for each loading dock. They had since worked with a series of consultants and had been able to reduce the number of doors facing the street to three, with a reduction in the total width of the opening of 26 feet. Trucks would enter one of the three doors, but would then proceed to one of the five loading docks. He showed two variations on this arrangement, with the second finding more favor since it held the comer (near the Canadian embassy); all agreed it was a great improvement over the original scheme. He said the doors would be kept closed when not in use, and limited hours of operation would be established.

2. Transparency: Mr. Polshek said they had never denied that they wanted light to emanate from the interior; he remarked that many people had said to him that this part of Pennsylvania Avenue needed some light, although a discreet amount, in this location. He said, however, that the Commission's concerns were legitimate, and he wanted to use light only "to illuminate human activity while maintaining ... the dignity of Pennsylvania Avenue". He said they had begun working with a consultant who was preparing an extensive light study of the building, including the kind and color of the glass, the value and tonality of the walls, etc. As for the plasma screen, he said that was really just a placeholder, and with the rate technology was moving, might be obsolete by the time the building was ready to open. There was an expression of confidence in Mr. Polshek sensitivity to the light question, and an appreciation of the effect of openness in the front of the building.

3. The First Amendment panel: Mr. Polshek said this was the only solid panel in the front of the building, and it was made that way consciously. He said he thought it should be read by everyone who passed, and he commented that those forty-five words had assumed a special importance in the current state of the world. He said the kind of stone that would be used had not been decided yet, nor had the typeface.

4. The third, or northernmost, bar: Mr. Polshek said they had endeavored to evaluate carefully the concerns raised in regard to the visual impact of this element, and after further surveying the surrounding context and revisiting the site from every vantage point, he still believed strongly that the original massing concept was appropriate for the site, and that the height was not a real issue. He said that belief was based on their understanding of the goals established for the site by the PADC, and those he had discussed with Senator Moynihan when he first showed the design to him. Mr. Polshek said, however, that he had some new information to offer in regard to the height issue which he hoped would allow the Commission to give them the conceptual approval they were asking for.

He showed massing studies of the Newseum and the buildings in the immediate context-the Canadian Embassy to the east and 601 Pennsylvania Avenue to the west, noting the diagonal progression of building heights. He pointed out that the stepping of the massing of the Newseum followed and completed this progression and provided a transition from east to west and from north to south. Mr. Polshek noted also that the third bar, although higher than the Canadian Embassy on the east was lower than the highest portions of 601 Pennsylvania Avenue, and that the building did not exceed the height of the embassy except at the third bar, which was placed 100 feet north of the property line. This setback, plus the slenderness of the bar, would greatly reduce the perception of height from most viewing angles on the avenue. Lastly, he commented that the massing of the building, especially given the slender third bar, would be much less noticeable in its context than the bulk anticipated by the PADC guidelines.

Mr. Polshek then showed additional drawings to illustrate ways in which the third bar could be made less obvious visually. First, he said the height had been lowered from the original 140 feet to 137 feet. Several members were confused by this, thinking that the height had already been lowered three feetwhen the project was presented at the December 2002 meeting. Mr. Polshek said the Planning Commission had approved the height at 140 feet (9 January 2003). He went on to say that a second way the bar had been made less obvious was to move it 7 feet away from the Canadian Embassy. He said the net effect of these changes was to substantially reduce the bulk in relationship to the embassy as viewed from the avenue. Additionally, the revised facade treatment of the third bar had resulted in a design that was more quiet and more harmonious with the embassy. He showed several views to show the effect of these changes, and he ended his presentation by saying he hoped the Commission would be able to grant conceptual approval on the basis of these accommodations to the members' concerns.

The Chairman asked if there were any questions for Mr. Polshek, and hearing none, other than a question of clarification of a detail from one member, he turned the meeting over to several members of the audience who had asked to speak.

The first speaker was Andrew Altman, director of the Office of Planning for the District of Columbia. He said the District had worked hard for several years with the Freedom Forum and Mr. Polshek on this project because it was such an important one for the city. He said he was speaking for the mayor when he said the Newseum would not only transform Pennsylvania Avenue but the whole downtown area. He commented on the derelict condition of the building formerly on the site, and he outlined the objectives in finding a new tenant for one of the last parcels on Pennsylvania Avenue. They included a unique and signature use that could not be achieved elsewhere, a building that could include both residential and retail components, one that would lure tourists from the Mall and into the downtown area, active ground floor use, architectural excellence, and a building that could achieve the revenue objectives of the District. He said they had achieved them all with the Newseum. Mr. Altman talked about the gateway effect, the connection to the east end with its over 3,000 units of housing in progress, and the new Convention Center almost ready to open. In terms of Pennsylvania Avenue, he thought the design was consistent with the vision of the avenue as a special street; it had a transparency and openness that was refreshing in these days of fortress architecture; the horizontal relationships with its neighbors were respected; the most significant height was set back 100 feet from the property line; and he thought that the height was wholly appropriate and consistent with guidelines for the avenue-the PADC guidelines, zoning, and the Height of Buildings Act, which permitted a height of 160 feet on Pennsylvania Avenue alone.

In closing Mr. Altman said the building was consistent with the District's vision for this site, the Comprehensive Plan for the city, and the zoning envelope, and he urged the Commission's favorable consideration and support.

There was a question for Mr. Altman about the need for NCPC to amend the PADC guidelines to allow this building ifa height of 160 feet was permitted by law. Mr. Altman said the PADC guidelines were an overlay on the zoning envelope, and the Newseum building would slightly exceed the allowable height under the guidelines without the amendment.

The next speaker was City Council member Harold Brazil. He said he was present to support the design, and after looking at all the support letters he realized how rare it was that so many elected officials and politicians all came together to support something. He commented on Senator Moynihan's statement that the Newseum building was just what President Kennedy had in mind forty years ago. As director of the Economic Development Committee on the council, he talked briefly about economics, he said the Newseum would generate a good amount of revenue for the city, not the least of it the result of 100 new residents for the District. He reported also that the Freedom Forum gave $25 million to the city for affordable housing. Finally, he said he was confident that projects like this would get the tourists off the Mall and into the rest of the city.

Robert Archembault from the Canadian Embassy was present to report that the embassy had no objections to the design of the Newseum building nor to its height, had been consulted from the very beginning and they were looking forward to continued cooperation and to the opening day. He noted that the architect of the embassy, Arthur Erickson, had been shown the conceptual design and had no objections. He thought the Newseum would contribute to the steady improvement and revitalization of the area which had been going on during the fourteen years since the embassy had moved into its building.

The next speaker was Joanne Neuhaus, formerly a staff member of the PADC. She said she was representing the Pennsylvania Quarter Neighborhood Association, a group made up of people who worked, lived, or owned property in the area near the Newseum site, including the museums, theaters, galleries, and other businesses, as well as residents. She said she testifying to their support of the Newseum, especially because of its mixed-use aspect. She said the project would achieve virtually all the major objectives of the Pennsylvania Avenue Plan-reinforcing the avenue's physical and symbolic link between the White House and the Capitol, bridging the monumental federal core to the south and the city's downtown to the north, providing a mixture of commercial and cultural life along the avenue that would attract a variety of people, bring people back to actually live on the avenue, and bring examples of the best in contemporary architecture on land that was essentially underutilized. The Newseum would also bring new economic vigor to the area and enhance the city's tax base.

Terry Lynch, executive director of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations, said his job for the past twenty years had been to help downtown churches maintain the integrity of their buildings and also adapt for the change in their missions. To that end he had been involved in numerous real estate developments in the area to bring revitalization, new jobs, and new revenues to the District and its residents. In this light, he wanted to support the Newseum as a first-rate example of contemporary architecture with a program that would make a great contribution to the revitalization of the District's downtown.

Michael Winstanley, an architect with the Leo Daly Company, said he was representing the B.F. Saul Company, owners of 601 Pennsylvania Avenue. He said the Saul company agreed with the previous speakers that the Newseum project was indeed an exemplary one, but they wanted to bring out that the concept of street wall adjacency and height conformity which had been considered in the past for transitional sites such as that of the Newseum-between the Canadian Embassy and 601 Pennsylvania Avenue-had not been considered in the design of the Newseum building. He noted on drawings where the discrepancies were. He said one solution would be to lower the building, and another would be to set it back, perhaps 15 feet.

George White, former architect of the Capitol and member of the PADC board of directors, continued Mr. Winstanley's argument. He said the guidelines for the Newseum's site permitted an extension of portions of the building into the 50-foot PADC setback rule, but there was never the intention that the whole setback area could be taken, as the Newseum design proposed. As a result, the Canadian Embassy would be behind the Newseum, and the view of the Capitol would be cut off for the occupants of 601 Pennsylvania Avenue. He thought that with the continuing study of the Newseum's design, a few feet-even 5 or 10 of that setback area could be given back to remedy this situation.

When all the speakers had been heard, there was a continuation of the discussion of the proposed height of the Newseum building-how many feet had been taken off since the objection to the original height of 140 feet. Ms. Alg said the December meeting height was 140 feet with three models presented to show how the height could be lowered by 3 feet, but this was never fully resolved. Mr. Polshek thought the confusion stemmed from a combination of things that had been done to lower the height-the height of the parapet and the ceiling of the top office level had been changed, for example.

The Vice-Chairman then requested that the members take a brief recess, and when they returned a motion was made predicating conceptual approval on the architects' continuing "to develop and adjust the design consistent with the requests that have been made during the testimony." This was not satisfactory to the majority of the members, and it failed. Mr. Polshek commented, in regard to the height of the building, that it had " a very complicated top, which you can understand, but it was 140 with the parapet, now it's 137 with the parapet. We can't go lower." The members were in unanimous agreement that this building was a very good one and enormous improvements had been made in every aspect of the design; they wanted it to go forward, and they expected it could with just a little more work on everyone's part. Another motion was made which said that the Commission would approve the conceptual design "with an ultimate height limit of the third bar to 134 feet." It was seconded and carried, but not unanimously.

E. Department of the Treasury / U.S. Mint

1. CFA 20/FEB/03-5, Thomas Edison Commemorative Silver Dollar. Designs. Staff member Sue Kohler recalled that the members had received designs for this coin in their pre-meeting packets and then introduced Barbara Bradford from the Mint to present the project.

Ms. Bradford said there were seven candidate obverse designs, all of which were likenesses of Edison, as required by the legislation. Five reverse designs would be presented, all of which were reflective of the 125th anniversary of the invention of the light bulb, again, as stipulated in the' legislation. She noted that in discussions with the sponsoring organizations, it had been stated that they preferred a design that used the original 1879 version of the light bulb.

Ms. Bradford showed the obverse designs first, and there was agreement among the members that design #2 was the preferred one. It had been based on a photograph of Edison, and there were. some requests that the artist look at the photo again, especially in regard to the rendition of the trousers and Edison's right hand. The light bulb he held was not the original version, but it was thought that it would be better not to change it since the design was based on that specific photo.

For the reverse, design #12 seemed appropriate for a coin, but there were objections to the pointed rays of light emanating from the centrally-placed light bulb, and it was noted that the bulb depicted was not the original one. The suggestion made to Ms. Bradford was that it be replaced with the original version as shown in design #8, and that the background be adjusted as necessary. (The Vice-Chairman left the meeting after this discussion.)

2. CFA 20/FEB/03-6, Fish and Wildlife Service Medals. Designs.

Ms. Kohler introduced Barry Nelson from the Mint to present these designs. Before showing the designs, Mr. Nelson noted that there would be four obverse designs for the four medals to be released at various times during the year, although each medal would have the same reverse, which was to be a portrayal of Teddy Roosevelt. He said the Fish and Wildlife Service preferred obverse designs that showed the various species portrayed in motion, and he showed these designs, marked A, C, G, and E, plus several others. They portrayed and eagle, a copperhead duck a salmon, and an elk. For the reverse, the choice was design I, which featured a bust of President Roosevelt plus an inscription noting the anniversary of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The members agreed with the choices for the four obverse designs, recommending minor changes to each. They did not agree with the choice for the reverse but preferred instead design N, which showed a standing Roosevelt in his woodsman dress, which seemed more appropriate for his role as a conservationist.

F. National Park Service

CFA 20/FEB/03-4, Lincoln Memorial. The Martin Luther King Jr, “I Have A Dream” speech commemorative plaque. Revised lettering size. (Previous: CFA 19/DEC/02-7).

Mr. Martinez introduced this project, by recalling to the members their recommendations for letter size when they reviewed the inscriptions in December. He introduced Glenn de Marr of the National Park Service to present three options for the size of the letters.

Mr. De Marr summed up the earlier recommendations, that the lettering increase in height for the I Have a Dream" title and the name "Martin Luther King, Jr." The height of the three-line text below the name, consisting of the name and date of the march, remained unchanged. He presented three studies of letter height along with a mock-up of the lettering with its background.

The Commission agreed that the letter size was much improved, and selected the third option, in which the title height is 2 1/8 inches, the name height is 1 1/4 inches and the text height is 3/4 inch. They further recommended that there be additional space between lines, specifically between the title and name, and between the name and text.

Addressing an earlier concern about the correct form of Dr. King's name, Mr. De Marr told the Commission that the Park Service contacted a representative for the King family who informed them that Mrs. King found the name as presented, "Martin Luther King, Jr." acceptable.

With the caveat that there be more space between the lines as recommended, the inscription was approved.

G. General Services Administration

CFA 20/FEB/03-7, National Building Museum. 401 F Street, NW. New walkway and stairs to the G Street entrance. Design.

Mr. Lindstrom introduced Michael McGill of GSA, project architect Frank van der Kemp and Enrique Bellini of Kam Charuhas Chapman and Twohey to present a design for a walkway and stairs for the G Street entrance to the National Building Museum. Mr. Lindstrom said that the walkway and stairs were needed in the lawn where pedestrian cut-through traffic has created a worn "cattle path."

Mr. Bellini elaborated on the current condition of the lawn by explaining that since the north entrance to the National Building Museum was reopened, foot traffic from the General Accounting Office directly across the street has created this muddy path on the lawn area between the Building Museum's driveway and the sidewalk. He indicated that the crosswalk on G Street lead directly into the makeshift path. The proposal, then, was to add a stone stair to accommodate pedestrian traffic in a more permanent way.

He said the plinths on the sides of the stair would be a line with the pilasters on the north door. There would be eight stone risers which would match the stone steps already in place elsewhere on the outside of the building. The profile, 16 by 5 with the nosing, would be as it is on the south and west sides of the building. Brick would be added to the existing walkway to create a landing with a border which would then be extended with stone. There would be eight steps with a stone landing at the bottom aligned with the edge of the plinth. The balance would be brick, to match the existing sidewalk brick. The concrete curb half-round would be let down against the edges of the plinth. The handrail would be black painted steel, to match the metal around the building and the poles.

In answer to a question from the Commission about landscaping, Mr. Bellini said that a hedge at the top of the slope would come in and die against the plinth, and the rest would be grass. Mr. Lindstrom noted that a sign currently in that location would be removed, and a new sign program for G Street would be submitted later. Mr. Bellini assured the Commission that the scheme would be ADA compliant and the project was approved. The Chairman asked Mr. Bellini to submit material samples to the staff.

(Mr. Capoccia and Mr. Childs left the meeting during the preceding discussion.)

H. District of Columbia Children’s Advocacy Center

CFA 20/FEB/03-8, Gales School. 65 Massachusetts Avenue and New Jersey Avenue, NW. Addition and alterations.  Concept.

Ms. Alg said this project involved significant alteration and additions to an existing school that would be remodeled for use by the D.C. Children's Advocacy Center. She introduced Nancy Chandler, executor director of the National Children's Alliance, the umbrella organization of children's advocacy centers. Ms. Chandler said they had been looking six years for a home for the District organization, Safe Shores, which provided a variety of services to victims of child sexual abuse; a place was needed where all the key agencies involved in providing the range of services needed by the children could find space. Ms. Chandler then turned the presentation over to the architect, Geoffrey Griffis from Hickok Warner Fox.

Mr. Griffis first described the immediate area of the Gales School as one which was rapidly being built up with large structures, in addition to the very large GPO building ( built in 1900). He said the Gales School had been designated a historic structure on the exterior, which meant that change would be difficult. He noted the complexity of the programs and the different users of the building, as well as different circulation patterns for children and adults. An additional complication was the site itself; he said the school was to a great extent built up to the property lines, leaving little room for expansion. The only place to add desperately needed space was in the rear, on the east side, where they would place a contemporary addition. The building would be totally renovated, including the brick work and the windows. Mr. Griffis noted that the property angled away in the rear, leaving an awkward shape to deal with for the addition. The new workwould have only a minimal presence on Massachusetts Avenue, and although the rest could be seen as it angled out, the view would be limited when the large project just across the alley was built. He said the full facade would be visible only from G Street, to the north. All four walls of the old building would be saved, although the east wall would be incorporated into the new addition and windows would be closed up or turned into doors leading to corridors.

The elevators would be fixed in a central location because of the unusual circulation pattern, separating children and adults, and the desire not to take people all the way through the building. All of the existing entries into the building would be used. The penthouse would be set back from the front of the building about 75 feet.

Mr. Griffis then discussed the materials. The addition would be a curtain wall system that could use a variety of materials in addition to glass. He said they were looking at terra cotta tile as the solid material for the transition from the brick of the old wall to the new addition. Within the curtain wall there would be some metal and perhaps other materials. Mr. Griffis said there was a possibility that the flat area of the roof, which offered good views of the city, could provide some outdoor space, so that both the children and the adults could take a break.

(The Chairman left the meeting at this point and turned the gavel over to Mrs. Rafshoon.)

Acting Chairman Rafshoon asked if there was anyone present from the Historic Preservation Review Board or anyone else who wanted to comment. The Assistant Secretary said the HPRB staff had expressed concern because of the visibility of the elevator overrides. Mr. Griffis said they had been working with HRPB on this problem, but it was very difficult because of the necessity of placing all the projections in specified places. Mrs. Rafshoon asked the other members present if they were willing to give the proposal concept approval. The consensus was that since the addition was such a departure from the existing fabric, and since there was not a full complement of members still present, it would be better to have the architect come back the following month. To help him keep his schedule, however, and since there were no objections to the massing or footprint, it was decided to give conceptual approval on those elements, and ask him to continue to work on the elevations, materials, and the height and appearance of the penthouse and the elevator overrides with the staff.

I. District of Columbia Public Schools / U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

1. CFA 20/ FEB/03-9,  Luke C. Moore Academy Senior High School (The Brookland School). 1001 Monroe Street, NE.  Addition and renovation. Final. (Previous: CFA 15/NOV/01- 13).

In his introductory remarks for the Luke C. Moore school, formerly the Brookland School, Mr. Martinez told the Commission that the applicants had revised and developed the design for the school since it was approved in concept in November 2001. Erika Lehman, architect with Grimm and Parker, presented the project.

Ms. Lehman explained that the school, built in 1896 with additions built in 1903 and 1906, was comprised of two buildings which would be maintained since they were deemed eligible for the historic register. The project was basically a restoration of the historic buildings and the proposed addition. The brick, roofing, copings and cornice would also be restored and window replacement had already occurred. The two existing buildings were for administrative and academic functions and the addition would house the auditorium, gymnasium and dining facilities. The dining area would face the courtyard space created by new addition. The Monroe Street entrance would be reestablished for the students, who used a side stair off 10th Street. The entrance would be a stair and ramp combination for accessibility. A main evening entrance on 10th Street would be established for community use of the auditorium, which could be locked off from the academic side. This entrance designed as a 20th century glass curtain wall piece would relate to other entries as vertical elements.

A significant change since receiving concept approval from the Commission in November 2001 occurred in the lower facade of the addition which faces 10th Street as it curves around to Lawrence Street. Due to value engineering a good portion of the lower level of the building was basically eliminated. Elimination of lower level meant eliminating the need for windows at that level. These windows would be replaced with recessed brick panels in a herringbone pattern.

The materials would be a tone on tone brick pattern in Flemish bond to match the existing Flemish bond on the historic buildings. The lighter red brick would be used on the upper level above the darker red brick used below. This pattern would wrap around the gym and into the courtyard. The window sills would be cast stone and the window frame color, selected by Army Corps of Engineers who did the window replacement, would be white.

The Commission asked about signage and Ms. Lehman replied that there would be three signs. The existing historic sign bearing the former name of "Brookland School" will remain. The "Luke C. Moore Academy" sign above the door would be cleaned and reinstalled and there would be a new "Luke C. Moore Academy" sign at the community entrance.

The Commission spoke favorably of the revised design, and praised the solution to the value engineering results. They were complimentary about the color choices for the brick, saying it made for a nice flow. The motion to approve was carried unanimously.

2. CFA 20/ FEB/03-10, Woodson High School. 55th and Eads Streets, NE. Rehabilitation and alterations. Concept. (Previous: CFA 21/NOV/02- 9).

Mr. Lindstrom introduced the concept submission for the redevelopment of Woodson High School. He said the project had been reviewed by the Commission in November 2002 as a preliminary concept. At that time the applicants recommended removing the high-rise portion of the school, keeping the gym and auditorium spaces and rebuilding the academic wing to the northwest. The Commission had felt that the elevations were too corporate and not lively enough for a school with active community use. Mr. Lindstrom then introduced Pat Higgins and Conrad Judd, architects with SHW Group, to present revisions to the elevations.

Mr. Higgins briefly gave a background of the school, and described its site and the surrounding neighborhood. The architects, he said, were mandated by the school system to save part of the existing structure, the gym and auditorium, and to leave the existing building in place and operational during construction. Mr. Judd then picked up the presentation by using boards to illustrate changes made in the elevations since November. In order to incorporate more natural sunlight, windows were added, especially to the public spaces and to points of access. Additional glazing and the use and articulation of materials on the back of the academic wing and on the stair would also create a lighter character.

Mr. Judd also showed that the forecourt would be developed more extensively, creating a more casual milling space. Low walls and seating comprised the only landscape elements thus far. The forecourt's location outside the fine arts area suggests that its center point could be used for the placement of student art. Mr. Higgins said there was a possibly of holding a design competition among the students during the construction period. The school is known by its students as the "Tower of Power," and a selected piece of artwork with that tower theme could be implemented and sited at the opening of the school.

The Commission was enthusiastic about the idea of student art, and suggested that perhaps a pedestal could be placed in the forecourt for a rotating exhibit in which each senior class shows its own tower art. When asked about material samples, Mr. Higgins replied that they had not gotten that far yet, as the design was still in concept, but a rose or reddish brick cast in place or architectural precast were being considered. When asked about landscaping, Mr. Higgins said that there was no landscaping plan yet, but that they had a landscape architect on the project, and that once they received approval, they would work with him to formulate a landscape plan.

The Commission had concerns about the south elevation, particularly about the absence of windows, since in the November presentation there were windows present. It was suggested that the architects revisit the window treatment as presented previously, and that they look at glazing in other areas where there were long running walls of brick. Otherwise the Commission was complimentary and thought that the elevations, the forecourt and points of entry were much improved. The project was approved, with a request to return with a landscape plan.

J. District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs

1. Old Georgetown Act

a. DC Historic Preservation Division. Georgetown Historic District.Proposed amendment to the landmark designation to define the period of significance from 1751 to 1950. Information presentation.

Mr. Martinez explained that the documentation which designates the Georgetown Historic District as a landmark did not specify a period of significance. The lack of a period of significance was making the job of the Old Georgetown Board more difficult, especially concerning alterations to contributing buildings from the early 20th century. Applicants who disagreed with the Board's and the Commission's recommendations went to the Mayor's Agent for a ruling. Since the law does not specify the early 20th century as "significant," the Mayor's Agent, as a matter of law, ruled in favor of he applicant, and thereby stymied the Board's efforts to preserve the historic character of Georgetown.

Staff of the DC Historic Preservation Division prepared the proposed amendment to the Historic Landmark Designation of the Georgetown Historic District to define 1751 to 1950 as the period of significance. The protection of any archeological findings which predate 1751, when Georgetown was established as a town, was also included. The end date 1950 was chosen because that was the year the Old Georgetown Act was passed. Historic Preservation staff made a presentation to the Old Georgetown Board at their 11 February meeting, and the Board was enthusiastic. There wasalso support from the community, including the ANC.

The amendment was due to come before the Historic Preservation Review Board on 27 February. Historic Preservation staff indicated that letters of support from the Old Georgetown Board and the Commission of Fine Arts would be very helpful. The Commission said that since the Board was in favor of the amendment, the Commission would support it too. b. Appendix I.

Mr. Martinez called two items on the Old Georgetown Board appendix to the Commission attention. Case O.G. 03-90, 1320 27th Street NW was to be approved, since supplemental drawings received since the Old Georgetown Board meeting satisfied the Board. The other project was case O.G. 03-60, 3222 M Street NW, the addition of a storefront to Georgetown Park. The Board felt that the proposed enclosure needed further study, as it was not compatible with the historic character of the 1880 building. Despite the absence of approval or a permit, the applicants began work on the storefront and were issued a stop-work order. The Board's recommendation was sent back to the District government. With Mr. Martinez's comments the Commission approved the Old Georgetown Board appendix.

2. Shipstead-Luce Act, continued

a. S.L. 03-045, 100 Block of D Street, SE. Four new single family townhouses. Concept.

Ms. Alg introduced Bill Maiden of Maiden and Associates and Alger Stoneburner of Capital City Development Corporation to present a concept for four new single fan-lily townhouses. The townhouses would be located on the first four lots off the comer of New Jersey Avenue and D Street in close proximity to the House of Representatives and the proposed National Democratic Club, which was reviewed by the Commission in January 2003 (S.L. 03-33).

Mr. Stoneburner presented the elevations with a photo mosaic, designed to show the massing in the context of the site. He said that each unit would be all brick with slate roofs, and have turrets and columns which would lead up to a second story balcony. The units would overlook a park located behind the Congressional building. Parking would be in the rear, off South Capitol Street and each unit would have two spaces. Mr. Stoneburner confirmed that the bays shown on the illustration were intended to copy bays on existing nearby homes.

When asked about a discrepancy on a detailed drawing, Mr. Stoneburner explained that a change had been made since completion of that drawing. The change, made at the recommendation of the ANC, was to the entrance. Triple doors were added and some windows were windows were shifted around. Mr. Stoneburner noted that the concept has the support of the ANC and the Capitol Hill Restoration Society.

The Commission agreed that the applicants were successful in their efforts to create homes that look like they have been there for a long time, which designs varied enough to break up the elevation well. The motion to approve was carried unanimously.

b. S.L. 03-055, 2800 Chesterfield Place, NW. Additions and modifications to an existing dwelling. Revised concept. (Previous): S.L. 03-038, seen CFA 16/JAN/03).

Ms. Alg introduced a revised concept submission for a residence at 2800 Chesterfield Place by recalling to the Commission some of the project's recent history. She said that this house was originally one of three proposed houses on the site. When the Commission reviewed this project in January 2003, they recommended a less hybrid design; one that would either take a more contemporary or more traditional approach. Ms. Alg said that there were letters from the neighbors and the ANC expressing concern with the project; specifically that the project was being reviewed as only as part of a larger proposed project in the future, and that there were continued zoning concerns.

John Farmer of American Masterworks began his introductory remarks by introducing Richard Newlon, the architect, and Rick Tenenbaum and Aric Moore, principals of American Masterworks. Mr. Farmer summarized his understanding of the Commission's recommendations, that the basic design of the single building presented be considered in the context of two possible future houses on the adjoining lots, that the applicants continue to work with the community and the ANC and to address zoning issues. He explained that the building being presented would be treated as a template for future buildings. The lot on which the proposed would be built, he asserted, had no zoning issues, though the two remaining lots still had unresolved zoning issues. He stated that the applicants will continue to work with the ANC and the community to address design concepts and to incorporate suggestions. He then turned the presentation over to Mr. Newlon.

Mr. Newlon said that the applicants listened to the Commission's comments in January, and felt that they had responded to them and addressed the contemporary versus traditional question as well as the concern that an excessive amount of glass was being used. To put the proposed house in the context of the neighborhood, Mr. Newlon directed the Commission's attention to a booklet prepared by American Masterworks that showed varied examples of residential architecture in the neighborhood.

He said that in considering the recommendation that their proposed design be less hybrid, they decided to take a more contemporary approach. They started with what Mr. Newlon called a "wonderfully contemporary" house located across the street and responded to that with their design. Indicating the street elevation, Mr. Newlon showed how concerns about massing were addressed by making changes to the roof. The roof had had a variety of slopes and gables when presented in January, and was now flat. In the interest of designing a more contemporary house, a monolithic anchoring element was added. This element would have a stone facade and metal panel system that would match the window colors. A round tower-like element and recessed balconies would also break of the mass. There would also be shade screen overhangs made of steel. The amount of glass on the back of the building would also be reduced. The basic concept, Mr. Newlon concluded was the anchoring element and facades of varied materials of metal, glass and stone; "a combination of open and closed or solid and light in terms of massing of the stonework and the windows."

Comments from the community were mostly about zoning issues, but there were concerns with the design as well. Peter Halle, the next door neighbor, was concerned that the size of the footprint did not comply with setback requirements established for the Forest Hills neighborhood. His assertion was that the footprint and setback would effect the design of the house, because where and how the house stands would affect its appearance from the street. He also still felt that the house was too commercial in appearance and would not fit into the fabric of the neighborhood. Robert Maudlin, ANC 3F commissioner echoed Mr. Halle's concerns about zoning. Travis Price, owner of the home across the street that Mr. Newlon referred to as "wonderfully contemporary" was supportive of the changes made to the design. However, he was concerned about additional curb cubs which could result in more density and a "de facto" street created by the driveway to the proposed house and later to the two possible future houses.

The Commission felt the design had improved, that the applicants had "made good headway and strong statement toward modernism." There were still concerns about the curb cut and the number of windows, since excessive light could be a disruptive force in the neighborhood. Nonetheless, the Commission was prepared to approve the design in concept, with a request to take their concerns into account as the design develops.

c. Appendix II.

Ms. Alg noted changes to the draft Shipstead-Luce appendix regarding the DACOR Bacon House, the United Methodist Church and the H & R Block sign. She said the DACOR Bacon House would be on the final appendix and the Church was removed for next month, due to lack of sufficient information. The H & R Block sign recommendation was changed to no objection, after more information was provided. The Shipstead-Luce appendix was then approved.


A. Approval of minutes: 16 January 2003

The minutes of the January meeting were approved.

B. Dates of next meetings: 20 March 2003

17 April 2003
15 May 2003

The dates of the next three meetings were approved.

C. Report on last month’s site inspection of the first six bas-relief panels for the World

War II Memorial.

At the suggestion of the Assistant Secretary, this report was postponed until the March meeting.

D. Chairman’s report on the site inspections for the World War II Memorial stone work.

At the suggestion of the Assistant Secretary, this report was postponed until the March meeting.

E. Report on the revisions of the designs for the 2004 Florida State Quarter and 2003 platinum proof coin.

2004 Florida State Quarter

Ms. Kohler stated for the record that the Commission received revised designs for the three that they did not find acceptable, and that the revisions, though they had fewer elements, were still not considered good design and that is what was transmitted to the Mint. This showed that there was an attempt to comply with the Commission's recommendations, and the governor had something to show.

2003 platinum proof coin reverse

The recommendation was for an eagle perched on a pine bough, but the design was changed to include a flag behind the eagle. The Commission that the addition of the flag took strength away from the eagle, and that its position behind the eagle was an insult to the flag. Ms. Kohler communicated the Commission's recommended that the originally approved eagle design stand.


Freer Gallery of Art, Object proposed for acquisition Ms. Kohler presented, for the Commission's inspection, a photograph of a late 13th or early 14th century wine bottle in the Cizhou style, as an acquisition for the Freer collection. The acquisition was approved.

Whereupon, there being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 6:23 p.m.


Charles H. Atherton