The meeting was convened in the Commission of Fine Arts offices in the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001, at 10:03 a.m.
Hon. Earl A. Powell, Chairman
Hon. Elizabeth Plater–Zyberk, Vice Chairman
Hon. Philip Freelon
Hon. Alex Krieger
Hon. Elizabeth Meyer
Frederick J. Lindstrom, Assistant Secretary
(Due to the absence of the Secretary, Mr. Lindstrom represented the staff.)
Mr. Lindstrom noted that the Secretary is travelling on a two–week cultural fellowship program in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Mr. Lindstrom reported the Commission's site inspections prior to the meeting, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture headquarters buildings (see agenda item II.B), the 10th Street Overlook, the Southwest Waterfront, the Museum of the Bible site at 4th and D Streets, SW, and the Eisenhower Memorial site at Maryland and Independence Avenues, SW.
A. Approval of the minutes of the 17 April meeting. Mr. Lindstrom reported that the minutes of the April meeting were circulated to the Commission members in advance. The Commission approved the minutes upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Ms. Plater–Zyberk.
B. Dates of next meetings. Mr. Lindstrom presented the regularly scheduled dates for upcoming Commission meetings: 19 June, 17 July, and 18 September 2014; he noted that no meeting is scheduled during August.
C. Anniversary of the establishment of the Commission of Fine Arts, 17 May 1910, and the Shipstead–Luce Act, 16 May 1930. Mr. Lindstrom acknowledged the Commission's two anniversaries falling in May: the 104th anniversary of the Commission's establishment and the 86th anniversary of the Shipstead–Luce Act.
D. Report on the 2014 National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Program. Mr. Lindstrom reported on the federal grants program administered by the Commission to support Washington arts organizations. The 22 applicant organizations were the same as the 2013 grant recipients; all of the organizations remain eligible, and the grant amounts have been recalculated using updated financial data. Finalization of the awards is anticipated within a few days, which will be followed by confirmation letters and disbursement of the funds.
II. Submissions and Reviews
Mr. Lindstrom introduced the three appendices for Commission action. Drafts of the appendices had been circulated to the Commission members in advance of the meeting.
Appendix I — Direct Submission Consent Calendar: Mr. Lindstrom said that there were no changes to the draft appendix. Upon a motion by Ms. Plater–Zyberk with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the Direct Submission Consent Calendar.
Appendix II — Shipstead–Luce Act Submissions: Ms. Batcheler reported that the recommendations for two submissions involving a bank at 1299 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, have been changed to be favorable due to design revisions (case numbers SL 14–106 and 14–108). In addition, notations of receipt of supplemental information have been updated. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Ms. Plater–Zyberk, the Commission approved the revised appendix.
Appendix III — Old Georgetown Act Submissions: Mr. Martínez reported that one project has been postponed for a month at the request of the applicant for preparation of revised drawings (case number OG 14–150); in addition, notations of receipt of supplemental information have been updated. Upon a motion by Ms. Plater–Zyberk with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the revised appendix.
B. U.S. Department of Agriculture
CFA 15/MAY/14–1, Jamie L. Whitten Federal Building and South Building (USDA headquarters complex), 14th Street and Independence Avenue, SW. People's Garden site improvements and perimeter security plan. Concept. (Previous: CFA 16/JAN/14–4.)
Mr. Lindstrom introduced the concept proposal for site improvements and perimeter security at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) headquarters complex, comprising the Jamie L. Whitten Federal Building and the South Building; the complex is bounded by 12th and 14th Streets, Jefferson Drive, and C Streets, NW, and bisected by Independence Avenue. He noted that the project has been reviewed by the Commission twice previously; he asked architect Robert Snieckus of the USDA to begin the presentation.
Mr. Snieckus said that the USDA—the only cabinet–level agency located on the National Mall—has occupied its site for 150 years. The current proposal calls for a combined outdoor agricultural museum, farmers market, and native plant gardens set within a sustainable landscape. The project is a collaboration involving the USDA, the Smithsonian Institution, and other agencies; the USDA will allow the Smithsonian to use its open space for activities such as the annual Folklife Festival to help reduce pressure on the Mall landscape. He noted the site's proximity to other visitor centers, such as those in the Department of Energy and the Forest Service buildings, and to other display gardens, including the Victory Garden at the National Museum of American History. He added that 14th Street, on the west edge of the USDA site, serves as an entrance gateway to the Mall and Washington for people traveling north.
Mr. Snieckus outlined the guiding principles of the design—security, sustainability, and education—and summarized the proposed treatment of the areas surrounding the Whitten building. The north side includes trees transplanted from the Mall during its redesign by the Olmsted Brothers in the 1930s; it also includes the ceremonial north entrance. He introduced Laura Hughes of EHT Traceries to present a more detailed history of the site.
Ms. Hughes said that the Agriculture Department, established in 1856 as part of the Patent Office, was granted a site on the Mall—the current location of the National Gallery of Art's West Building—for propagating gardens to grow experimental crops intended to improve American agriculture. In the mid–19th century, the Mall was mostly developed with picturesque gardens and an arboretum. In 1862, President Lincoln established the USDA as a separate federal agency and gave it additional land on the Mall between 12th and 14th Streets, at which time it relinquished the original propagating gardens. In 1867, a brick Second Empire–style headquarters building was completed, north of the current Jefferson Drive, fronted by an extensive formal garden that stretched across the Mall. Conservatories, greenhouses, and a museum were soon added to the grounds. The USDA quickly outgrew its original building, but a new structure was not begun until the early 20th century, when two classical wings to house laboratories were built south of the 1867 structure. A center block linking the wings was completed in the early 1930s and this entire building is now known as the Whitten Building. The 1867 building and landscape were demolished at this time, and the South Building across Independence Avenue was completed in 1936.
Architect Scott Paden and landscape architect Shelley Rentsch of OLBN presented the context and proposed design. Mr. Paden described the numerous existing gardens on the Mall—seventeen existing gardens and five proposed, most along Independence Avenue. Ms. Rentsch said that the first phase of the project would include the 14th Street and Mall sides of the Whitten Building; the second phase would include completion of the Market Commons—a farmers market on the east side—and streetscapes to the south, east, and west of the South Building; and the third phase would comprise the core of the site along Independence Avenue. She said that the project would address how city gardens, often built on residual open space, can be integrated into the urban fabric; she added that the People's Garden, started by the USDA on this site in 2009, has inspired more than 2,000 such gardens worldwide, but its expression on the Mall lacks rigor. Exploring ways to incorporate these small patterns into the urban streetscape is central to the current proposal and is predicated on the idea that all such patterning has its origin in agriculture. For example, ephemeral seasonal crops create strong patterns through plant habit, growth, and texture. At the Market Commons, redesigned planting beds would be divided into manageable sizes that can be handled by volunteers.
Ms. Rentsch said that the site's plantings would include the Olmsted Brothers trees; fruit–bearing trees and seasonal crops; heirloom and pollinator gardens; and perennial herbs planted around the nearly mile–long streetscape surrounding the South Building to animate its large, repetitive elevations. Fruit–bearing trees such as persimmons would be planted as street trees, and their fruit would be harvested. Pollinator gardens on the sunny 14th Street side of the Whitten Building would function in combination with the apiary on its roof. The forms of the six gardens would be subordinated to the facades of the Whitten Building, and seating edges would be provided along a series of vegetated swales. She said that pedestrian circulation is now mostly limited to sidewalks, but the proposed landscape design would allow people to walk into the gardens. The ceremonial vehicular entries on the north would be maintained, following the intent of the Olmsted Brothers designs. She added that the USDA site would be included within the Southwest Heritage Trail through the presentation of a narrative history of American agriculture, perhaps conveyed through graphics embedded in sidewalks, docent–led tours, or mobile telephone software.
Ms. Rentsch presented an analysis of the approximately 200 sketches produced by the Olmsted Brothers, which have helped to inform the current design. At the Commission's request, these sketches have been combined in overlays included in the presentation booklets. She said that the Olmsted landscape proposed bilateral balance rather than strict symmetry—using, for example, two gingkoes to balance two elms—and that the firm had carefully determined the precise location of each tree, placed to preserve views from streets to facades.
Ms. Rentsch said that the Mall side of the Whitten Building remains essentially in its original state. The semicircular driveways on 12th and 14th Streets, existing at the time of the Olmsted Brothers work, have long been used as parking lots. The parking areas along Independence Avenue would remain for service vehicles, handicap access, and weekend programs, and for parking in the near future; she emphasized that overall parking on the site would be reduced by 61 percent and curb cuts reduced by 36 percent. She said that the paving patterns are inspired by the patterns of contour farming. The planting proposed for the Mall side of the Whitten Building would preserve all historic trees, including some original transplants from the Mall and early in–kind replacements. Trees of a later date that follow the Olmsted Brothers planting pattern would be retained; the intention for areas without trees on the Mall side of the site, evident in the Olmsted Brothers drawings, would be respected. Social trails leading to memorial trees would be grassed over, and commemorative plaques in the lawns would be removed.
Ms. Rentsch said that the revised design for the structure of the farmers market would be sited on axis with the northern pavilion on the east elevation of the Whitten Building; the structure's columns would be aligned with the building pilasters and also with the street trees, and the simple horizontal roof plane would be designed to harvest rainwater. The design for this area incorporates raised beds for the seasonal crops of the People's Garden. She said that the principle of sustainability would affect more than crop harvesting and surface area: throughout the site, green systems would be integrated into building systems, and the design incorporates green roofs and walls, rain gardens, and varied approaches to water harvesting.
Ms. Rentsch concluded by presenting the perimeter security elements, which she said would be the most significant design intervention. The number of proposed bollards, originally estimated at 815, has been substantially reduced by hardening landscape structures such as the water–harvesting fountains, with the aim of having security disappear into the landscape. Trees would also be used as security elements. Bollards would be added only where necessary, such as beneath the pedestrian bridges crossing Independence Avenue.
Chairman Powell acknowledged the extensive work by the project team and offered strong support for the project, with the hope that the first phase could be completed sooner than the anticipated eight years. Mr. Freelon said that the current proposal responds well to the Commission's comments from the previous review, and the project has improved.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk agreed that the proposal has improved, and she commended the project team for the thorough presentation. She suggested adding more street trees on both blocks to increase shade for people walking around the site; Mr. Krieger supported this suggestion. Ms. Meyer commented that awareness of the USDA site's history adds to the meaning of the Mall—particularly its 19th–century public demonstration gardens for agricultural products and processes, which are concepts central to the formation of American identity. She encouraged the project team to develop an exemplary final design, emphasizing that the project includes lessons that can be applied to other sites in the area.
Mr. Krieger agreed in supporting the proposal. He asked about the choice of multiple paving materials for the ceremonial entrance, including asphalt for the driveway aprons. Mr. Paden responded that asphalt was used for the original aprons, designed by the Olmsted Brothers; because this is the most intact area of the site, the intention is to retain the original idea by using a permeable crushed–glass asphalt. Mr. Krieger commented that the original idea may not have been the best; Mr. Paden said that the material could change with further study as the final design is developed.
Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the proposal and reiterated the commendation of the design effort.
C. Department of Defense
CFA 15/MAY/14–2, Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia. New visitor screening facility at main building entrance adjacent to the Metro station. Concept. (Previous: CFA 17/APR/14–2.)
Ms. Batcheler introduced the proposal for a visitor screening facility at the Pentagon; the Commission previously reviewed the concept design in February and April 2014, providing comments and requesting a revised submission with additional information on the basis for the design. She asked project manager William Battle of the Department of Defense to begin the presentation.
Mr. Battle said that the project is now submitted for both concept and final approval, and the presentation addresses the Commission's questions on the proposed asymmetrical siting. He summarized the context adjacent to the Pentagon Metro station and bus station on the southeast side of the Pentagon; he indicated the parking area for employees and tour buses to the south. He said that the proposed location of the visitor screening facility is based on feasibility studies from 2008 and 2011 that examined several siting options. He said that a 2010 consultation meeting with the staff of the Commission and other agencies had resulted in a request that the project team evaluate a symmetrical configuration for the building entrance at the Metro station. The project team's conclusion was that symmetrical alternatives would not meet the programmatic requirements for the number of people entering the Pentagon, the site constraints, cost, and functionality. He added that the proposal is also part of a broader program established in 2009 to improve the physical security perimeter around the Pentagon, which was initially implemented through temporary facilities. The program includes eleven projects; the visitor screening facility was awarded as a design–build project in September 2013, and an additional project for an improved employee entrance has not yet been awarded due to recent budget constraints. He noted that the proposed visitor screening facility was approved by the National Capital Planning Commission earlier in May, as both a preliminary and final submission.
Mr. Battle described the past analysis of symmetrical configurations in greater detail, resulting in the identification of several problems. Separation of employees and visitors, required by current security standards, would be difficult to achieve; additional problems would arise in accommodating the necessary number of people along a clear and open circulation route, as well as creating a welcoming and attractive entrance. The design is based on the number of people entering at the peak hour, which has increased significantly from the original calculation in 2008 when a portion of the Pentagon was unoccupied due to ongoing renovations. The 2008 estimate was 4,000 employees and 133 visitors at the peak hour, while the current estimate is 5,400 employees and 150 visitors; the resulting number of needed screening machines has increased from ten to eighteen. He also noted that the peak–hour number of employees is 36 times the number of visitors. He presented flow diagrams from one of the earlier studies with visitor and employee screening combined at the center of the Pentagon facade; he indicated the serpentine route that visitors would have to take, leading to a secured area where visitors would wait to be escorted into the Pentagon. A configuration that splits the employee entrance into two areas, symmetrically placed around a central visitor entrance, would be subject to capacity problems if the distribution of employees between the two areas is different than anticipated.
Ms. Meyer suggested modifying this configuration to bring visitors up one level immediately after screening, which would allow for a larger consolidated entrance area for employees at the ground level; she noted that the description of the typical visitor route already includes ascending one level. Mr. Battle responded that this ascent would not occur until visitors have entered the historic building; Ms. Meyer clarified that her suggestion is to move the diagrammed ascent location in order to allow more of the ground floor to be used for employee access, while providing a visitor waiting room at the upper level. Several Commission members supported this suggestion. Mr. Battle responded that the suggested location would be above the Metro station, where only a lighter–weight structure would be permissible; in the past, heavier construction above the Metro has resulted in water leaks, even with structural reinforcement of the Metro tunnel. Ms. Meyer observed that sufficient space appears available in the diagram to avoid two–story construction above the Metro. Mr. Battle said that the diagram illustrates the earlier program size from 2008, and the current larger program could not be accommodated in a two–story configuration; the concern is that insufficient capacity in the screening areas would result in people queuing outdoors.
Mr. Battle presented an alternative studied in 2011 that would place symmetrical visitor and employee entrances flanking the centerline of the Pentagon facade. He cited several problems with this configuration: it could not easily be expanded to accommodate the current program size; it would create overlapping circulation patterns at the badging office; and it would result in a bottleneck adjacent to existing mechanical equipment that cannot be moved. The proposal therefore uses an asymmetrical configuration, initially developed in the 2008 study and then refined in 2011 to meet setback requirements from the Pentagon. Ms. Plater–Zyberk observed that the 2011 diagram of an asymmetrical configuration would place the entrance doors of the visitor facility away from the Metro station's protective canopy, apparently resulting from the use of a hyphen to create distance between the visitor screening facility and the Pentagon's main entrance pavilion. Mr. Battle said that this has been improved in the current design; the visitor entrance doors are now proposed immediately adjacent to the Metro canopy, and the connection of the screening facility to the Pentagon lobby has been simplified. He indicated the visitor facilities that would be provided after visitors have cleared the screening facility: kiosk shops, vending machines, bathrooms, a theater, and a secure waiting area. He emphasized that visitors would remain separate from employees until being escorted to escalators that lead into the Pentagon. He said that the diagrams illustrate the planned massing of overall improvements to the Pentagon entrance facing the Metro, but the currently awarded design–build contract addresses only the visitor screening facility. He introduced Jean O'Toole of Dewberry Architects to present the current proposal.
Ms. O'Toole said that the design remains unchanged from the previous review in April 2014; the Commission's comments at that time addressed master planning issues, which have been addressed by Mr. Battle. She said that the design continues to incorporate the revisions made in response to the Commission's initial review in February 2014, including improvements to the visitor experience and closer coordination of facade details with the historic Pentagon design. More windows are included at the entrance area; windows would be grouped in three bays with a vertical pattern referring to the historic Pentagon facade; the exterior walls have been offset to provide emphasis and a larger volume at the corner entrance; an existing windscreen at the Metro escalators would be removed to simplify access to the screening facility; a small canopy would provide additional weather protection between the existing Metro canopy and the screening facility's entrance doors; and the joint pattern of the limestone facade has been refined. She said that the facade would include clear glass, spandrel glass, and stone panels; the configuration is still being coordinated with Pentagon security officials.
Mr. Battle concluded with a summary of the configurations that were considered and the reasons for choosing the proposed location for the visitor screening facility. He emphasized that the proposed alternative has the clearest and least complicated circulation route, preserves open space in front of the Pentagon, and provides visitors with a clearly visible entrance; the other alternatives resulted in programmatic and security concerns.
Chairman Powell suggested support for the proposal as a concept and final submission. Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that she does not support the proposal, citing the inadequate response to the Commission's repeated requests for further information. She recalled the poor renderings in the initial submission, when the Commission discussed the relationship of the design to the historic Pentagon; the current presentation states that the new and historic stone patterns would match, but this remains inadequately illustrated. She observed that the proposed stone pattern above the entrance doors is not related to the stone lintels above the proposed windows nor to the existing Pentagon facade. She reiterated the Commission's past request for a consolidated design encompassing the visitor and employee entrances, perhaps to be implemented in phases; the design should consider the overall composition rather than the incremental approach that is apparent in the current submission. She questioned the proposed removal of the windscreen, which may be functionally necessary, merely to accommodate the poor alignment of the proposed visitor entrance doors with the existing Metro plaza. She summarized that the project could be improved in numerous ways, and she would not vote for its approval.
Ms. Meyer also did not support the proposal. She acknowledged the client's multiple criteria for the project, observing that every design project should be logical, functional, and cost–effective; but she said that good design for public space should meet additional criteria. She emphasized that the Pentagon is an extraordinary public building, and it is set within an extraordinary landscape on three sides; a fourth side is just a parking lot, and this fifth side has an inadequate main entrance. She added that the number of employees in the Pentagon may decline in the near future, and the recent increase—due to completion of building renovations—may not suggest an accurate trend; she therefore suggested a more flexible design that could accommodate varying numbers of employees and visitors.
Mr. Freelon commented that the visitor experience does not seem gracious in the proposed design. He acknowledged the multiple design constraints but observed that some appear to be poorly considered, such as the prevailing direction of approach to the entrance. He expressed disappointment that a more symmetrical design approach was rejected; he said that more time for careful analysis of this approach might have resulted in a viable centralized solution.
Mr. Krieger said that he would abstain on the proposal, noting his absence at the previous review when the design was presented in more detail. He said that he would not vote for the project because it seems to be an inelegant solution; and he would not vote against it because the constraints are not clear, and they may necessitate the proposed design.
Chairman Powell summarized the lack of support for approving the project, noting the Commission's desire for a more elegant design and acknowledgment of the logistical problems. He emphasized that the interior functions should be resolved in a way that allows a better design for the project's exterior, which is the Commission's primary concern. The discussion concluded without a formal action.
D. District of Columbia Department of General Services
CFA 15/MAY/14–3, Chuck Brown Memorial Park (Langdon Park), 20th and Franklin Streets, NE. New memorial to musician Chuck Brown. Final. (Previous: CFA 17/APR/2014– 5.)
Ms. Batcheler introduced the proposed final design for a memorial to Go–go musician Chuck Brown; she noted that the design, by Marshall/Moya Design with sculptor Jackie Braitman, is a joint submission from the D.C. Department of General Services and the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. She said that the Commission approved the concept proposal in April with recommendations for simplification and further development. She asked architect Michael Marshall of Marshall/Moya Design to begin the presentation.
Mr. Marshall described the changes made during the review process. When the project was first presented to the Commission in January 2014, it had a symmetrical layout focused on a plaza with a memorial wall bearing images from Chuck Brown's life and listing his discography. The revised design presented in April was less symmetrical and connected better with the existing tot lot to the west, and included a sculpture at the northeast near the memorial wall and the Langdon Park Recreation Center. Current revisions include replacing the proposed synthetic turf with sod, replacing the cherry trees with deep pink crape myrtles, and adding benches near the plaza. Most tiles for the memorial wall would have sepia–tone images; others would reproduce Chuck Brown's brightly colored concert posters. Grass would replace most of the previously proposed bark material on the ground at the percussive instrument play area.
Ms. Braitman presented a revised model of the proposed sculpture. She described the call–and–response character of Go–go music and Chuck Brown's engagement with his audience; she said that Go–go performers are called "speakers," and concerts recall town hall meetings. The previous proposal comprised three steel sculptures representing Chuck Brown and two audience members beneath a canopy, an element that the Commission recommended eliminating; she instead proposes a canopy that is redesigned as a series of curved slats forming a backdrop. The canopy had previously been designed to accommodate solar cells on its roof to power the sculpture's effects; these cells are no longer needed, allowing more freedom in the form of this element, and the revised shape would be integrated with the rest of the sculpture while retaining the suggestion of a stage. She said that the design team has received a statement from the Brown family expressing its support for using a canopy to recall the stages that were vital to Brown's performances.
Ms. Braitman said that the sculpture design now includes a second path from the sidewalk, allowing visitors to walk through the sculpture on their way to the memorial wall. The main sign for the sculpture would be turned slightly to be visible from the new entrance. She indicated an additional retaining wall and said that flashing LED lights would be used on the benches and canopy to evoke the dynamic of call and response. Landscaping would be coordinated with the broader planting palette of the park, although white crape myrtle would be used instead of pink.
Chairman Powell thanked the design team for the development of the project. Mr. Freelon expressed appreciated for the revisions, particularly the addition of the second walk and the more appropriate form of the canopy. Mr. Krieger commented that the canopy now seems essential to the sculpture, while the earlier version had appeared extraneous. Mr. Freelon commented that the scale of the lettering on the sculpture, such as "Chuck Brown Memorial," appears too large in relation to the sculpture and the bench wall. Ms. Braitman responded that this was likely a scale error in the rendering; the lettering would be only six to eight inches high. Mr. Krieger asked if the proposed bench would be continuous; Mr. Marshall responded that the bench would be built in discontinuous segments to allow people to reach the grassy embankment behind it.
Ms. Meyer commented that the design has improved with each submission. However, she questioned the small size of the sloping lawn area behind the bench and expressed concern that too much activity here could compact the soil, damaging the health of the trees; the presence of people on this slope might also raise safety issues. She said that a continuous bench could solve these problems by discouraging people from sitting on the lawn. Mr. Krieger agreed, commenting that people who really want to sit on the lawn will do so regardless of the bench design; he also said that a continuous bench would look more elegant. Ms. Meyer added that another detail to consider is in the stair treads, which appear to have a bullnose profile that would be inconsistent with the minimalist detailing of the park's other built elements.
Upon a motion by Mr. Freelon with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the final design with the comments provided.
E. United States Mint
Mr. Simon introduced April Stafford of the U.S. Mint to present the design alternatives for three sets of submissions. Ms. Stafford noted that the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), which advises the Mint on coin designs, will meet the following week to consider the current submissions. The CCAC recommendations are therefore not yet available for the Commission's consideration, unlike in past months; but the sequencing allows for the Commission's comments to be provided to the CCAC. She said that the comments of the beneficiary or recipient organization have been received, and these will be highlighted in the presentation.
1. CFA 15/MAY/14–4, 2015 March of Dimes Commemorative Coin Program. Designs for a one–dollar silver coin. Final.
Ms. Stafford summarized the authorizing legislation for a commemorative coin to recognize the March of Dimes on the 75th anniversary of its establishment. This organization, previously known as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt with the mission to fight polio. After successful development of a vaccine that ended the U.S. polio epidemic, the organization has shifted its focus to preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality, while promoting research and programs to improve infant and maternal health. Surcharges from sales of the coin would be paid to the March of Dimes in support of this work. She noted that the legislation calls for design motifs that represent the past, present, and future of the organization.
Ms. Stafford presented 22 alternatives for the obverse design; she said that the March of Dimes conveyed a preference for obverses #9, 13, 14, and 15. She described the features of these preferred designs, including portraits of President Roosevelt and Dr. Jonas Salk, developer of the vaccine; depictions of a molecular strand, Petri dish, and vaccine vial; a Roosevelt dime; and a cardboard dime board that was used for collecting donations from the public. She said that the March of Dimes supports a depiction of Roosevelt and Salk, two important people in the organization's history, while suggesting that the inscription "Victory Over Polio" be changed to "First Polio Vaccine" due to the unfinished battle against polio in other parts of the world. Mr. Krieger asked about the size of the coin; Ms. Stafford responded that the submission packets contain a full–scale depiction of each alternative in the corner of the page, and the size would be comparable to a circulating half–dollar coin.
The Commission members provided initial comments on the obverse alternatives before considering the reverse. Ms. Meyer offered support for obverse #15 because it is less complex than the other three alternatives preferred by the March of Dimes. Ms. Stafford said that the March of Dimes had suggested adding an image of the Roosevelt dime to obverse #15; Mr. Krieger said that this would be a difficult revision and would diminish the composition's simplicity. Chairman Powell commented that a "more is more" approach should not be used; he expressed support for the focus and relative simplicity of #15, while acknowledging that it does not convey much information about the subject. Mr. Krieger said that obverse #9 may be preferable for telling the story of the March of Dimes, despite reservations about the composition's clarity; he suggested that #9 be paired with a simple reverse. Ms. Meyer said that a more complex reverse might reinforce the suitability of #15 as a simple obverse design.
Ms. Stafford presented the eighteen reverse alternatives. She noted the preference of the March of Dimes for #7 and #11, conveying the themes of maternal love and a healthy baby, with the request for adding the inscription "March of Dimes" to #11. Mr. Freelon supported reverse #11, depicting a baby sleeping in a parent's hand. He commented that the unclear ethnicity of the baby is a strength of the design, while the depiction of the mother in reverse #7 introduces unnecessary specificity of ethnic origin. He supported adding the inscription "March of Dimes" to reverse #11; Ms. Plater–Zyberk said it may be unnecessary if it appears on the obverse.
Ms. Meyer supported reverse #16 depicting leg braces, which she recalled as being strongly associated with people who had childhood polio. Ms. Stafford provided a full description of #16, which includes large fingers placing a Roosevelt dime in a donation card; the large size of the fingers and card are intended to convey the power of the public's donations, while the empty braces signify the victory over polio. Mr. Krieger agreed in supporting reverse #16, which he said would eliminate the concern with adding a Roosevelt dime to the obverse. Mr. Powell suggested reducing the size of the fingers while giving more prominence to the dime. Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested eliminating the fingers; Mr. Krieger said that their size should be reduced, but their presence helps to clarify what is happening with the dime board. Mr. Powell said that the meaning may remain unclear, regardless of whether the fingers are included.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk commented that the dime board on obverse #9 may be the reason for the composition's excessive complexity; she suggested using the dime board as a background motif for reverse #16, and removing it from obverse #9. Ms. Meyer supported this suggestion. Ms. Stafford acknowledged that the March of Dimes had expressed concern with the small size and obscurity of the dime board in obverse #9, perhaps resulting in a cluttered composition. Mr. Powell and Mr. Krieger agreed that moving the dime board to the reverse would be an improvement. Ms. Plater–Zyberk added that the dime in obverse #9 is awkwardly close to the edge of the coin, resulting in two tangent circles; she suggested moving the dime slightly away from the edge. Mr. Powell noted that this change would be facilitated by removing the dime board from the obverse.
Upon a motion by Ms. Plater–Zyberk with second by Mr. Powell, the Commission recommended obverse #9 with the dime shifted and the dime card omitted, and reverse #16 with the dime card expanded and the fingers omitted.
2. CFA 15/MAY/14–5, Congressional Gold Medals honoring the Fallen Heroes of 9/11. Designs for three medals: one for each site impacted by the terrorist attacks of 2001 (with bronze duplicates). Final.
Ms. Stafford summarized the authorizing legislation for three Congressional Gold Medals to honor those who died in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; she said that the legislation broadly calls for designs with suitable images and inscriptions. The three medals would correspond to the loss of life in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania; the Mint has worked with numerous liaisons appointed by senators and representatives from these states, resulting in a multiplicity of liaison preferences. She added that the medals would be displayed at the memorials located at the three sites.
New York medal
Ms. Stafford presented eighteen obverse design alternatives; the preferences of the liaisons include #6A, 8, 9, 10, and 12. She then presented fifteen reverse designs; the preferences of the liaisons include #1, 1A, 12A, and 13.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk supported reverse #13, which features a lengthy inscription; Mr. Powell agreed. Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested removing the horizontal stemmed rose within the text, which she said is redundant with the rose at the top of the composition; Mr. Freelon agreed that one of the roses should be removed; Mr. Krieger agreed, commenting that perhaps the upper rose should be removed while leaving the horizontal rose to break up the lengthy text. Ms. Meyer also supported #13; she questioned whether the comma after "Countries" is correctly used, and said that a paired comma after "People" may also be needed. Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested that the comma after "Countries" could simply be eliminated; Ms. Meyer agreed.
Ms. Stafford added a description of the "survivor tree" depicted in reverse alternative #12A. Ms. Meyer acknowledged that the tree is a powerful symbol for people visiting the site but said that it doesn't capture the overall topic; Ms. Plater–Zyberk said that the tree wouldn't generally be known until people visit the site. Chairman Powell summarized the consensus to support reverse #13.
Mr. Freelon supported obverse #8, citing the abstract depiction of the twin towers; Ms. Meyer agreed. Mr. Freelon questioned the different textures behind each word of the inscription "Always Remember," commenting that the word "Remember" might not be legible; he suggested adjusting the background to improve the legibility. Ms. Plater–Zyberk noted the inclusion of a rose in obverse #8 and questioned whether both sides of the medal should include this motif; Ms. Meyer said that eliminating the rose from the obverse might strengthen the effect of the adjacent word "Remember." Mr. Freelon agreed that the obverse rose should be eliminated and background texture adjusted. Mr. Krieger suggested that the phrase "Always Remember" could simply be shortened to "Remember."
Ms. Meyer offered an additional comment on obverse #6A: the two fragments flanking the lower portion of the composition suggest the edges of continents and result in a confusing design; Ms. Plater–Zyberk agreed that these elements resemble a map. Mr. Freelon agreed that this design should not be recommended.
Upon a motion by Ms. Plater–Zyberk, the Commission recommended obverse #8 and reverse #13 with the comments provided.
Ms. Stafford presented thirteen alternatives for the obverse design; the preferences of the liaisons include #1A, 2, 3, 5B, 7, 8, 9, and 11. She then presented eleven alternatives for the reverse; the liaison preferences include #1, 2, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
Ms. Plater–Zyberk supported reverse #8 with its emphasis on a text inscription, similar to her preference for the New York medal; the other Commission members agreed. For the obverse, Mr. Freelon said that none of the alternatives is satisfactory; he suggested choosing one that would best be paired with reverse #8. Ms. Meyer observed that the eagle on reverse #8 may rule out many of the obverse alternatives that feature an eagle. Ms. Plater–Zyberk suggested obverse #9, which emphasizes the Pentagon building. Ms. Stafford noted that the artist intended obverse #9 to be paired with reverse #8. Ms. Meyer suggested simplifying the image of the Pentagon in obverse #9 by omitting the small foundation planting of trees; even if accurately depicted, she said that their inclusion clutters the design of the medal.
Upon a motion by Ms. Plater–Zyberk with second by Ms. Meyer, the Commission recommended obverse #9 and reverse #8 with the comments provided.
For the medal commemorating Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania, Ms. Stafford presented thirteen alternatives for the obverse design and sixteen for the reverse. She said that the preference of the liaisons is to use reverse #5B as the obverse design, and reverse #10 for the reverse; the phrase "September 11th, 2001" would be removed from #5B because it also appears in #10. She noted that reverse #10 includes a lengthy inscription and an eagle, similar to the design of the preferred alternatives for the other medals in this set.
Mr. Powell supported the pairing recommended by the liaisons; Mr. Freelon agreed, commenting that these two designs are a good combination. Mr. Krieger supported removing the second use of the phrase "September 11th, 2001." Ms. Meyer commented favorably on the inclusion in reverse #10 of the U.S. Capitol, a possible target of Flight 93. Upon a motion by Ms. Plater–Zyberk with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission supported reverse #5B as the obverse along with reverse #10, with the text adjusted as recommended by the liaisons.
3. CFA 15/MAY/14–6, Congressional Gold Medals honoring the Native American code talkers of World War I and World War II. Designs for a gold medal (with silver and bronze duplicates) for the Crow Tribe. Final. (Previous: CFA 21/NOV/13–a.)
Ms. Stafford summarized the authorizing legislation for a series of Congressional Gold Medals honoring Native American code talkers from World War I and World War II. The current submission is for a single design honoring code talkers of the Crow Tribe. She presented three alternatives for the obverse based on the Army Air Corps wings, and two alternatives for the reverse based on the Crow Tribe seal. She noted that the Crow Tribe prefers obverse #1 and reverse #1.
Ms. Meyer supported obverse #1, commenting on the quality of the design; Mr. Freelon and Mr. Krieger agreed. Ms. Meyer said that the two reverse alternatives are less satisfactory, but reverse #1 would be preferable. She said that both alternatives have a cartoon–like character compared to other recent submissions from the Mint. Ms. Stafford said that the Crow Tribe had requested a reverse design that is faithful to the design of their seal; she presented a color image of the seal. Ms. Plater–Zyberk acknowledged the reluctance to remove elements from the seal in adapting it to the medal design, but she commented that many of the small design elements would be unrecognizable. Mr. Powell noted that the medal would be relatively large; Mr. Lindstrom said that its diameter would be three inches. Mr. Powell discouraged recommending alterations to the seal, and he offered a motion to support obverse #1 and reverse #1 as preferred by the Crow Tribe.
Mr. Krieger commented favorably on the colored rendition of the seal; he said that the problem arises with the black–and–white representation of adapting the colorful seal to the relief of the medal, where the sun appears to be an unexpected reference to the Japanese flag symbol. Mr. Powell said that this reference may be appropriate for the medal's subject. Ms. Stafford expressed regret that the Mint's lead sculptor–engraver could not be present, but she said that the seal's design elements could likely be highlighted through polishing and textures instead of color.
Upon a second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission adopted Mr. Powell's motion to recommend obverse #1 and reverse #1.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:38 p.m.
Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA