Minutes for CFA Meeting — 15 February 2024

The meeting was convened by videoconference at 9:01 a.m.

Members participating: Hon. Hazel Ruth Edwards, Vice Chair
Hon. Peter Cook
Hon. James McCrery
Hon. Justin Garrett Moore

Staff present:
Thomas E. Luebke, Secretary
Sarah Batcheler, Assistant Secretary
Kay Fanning
Daniel Fox
Carlton Hart
Vivian Lee
Tony Simon

(Due to the absence of Chair Billie Tsien, Vice Chair Edwards presided at the beginning of the meeting. Following the departure of Vice Chair Edwards, Mr. Moore presided for the remainder of the meeting.)


A. Approval of the minutes of the 18 January 2024 meeting. Secretary Luebke reported that the minutes of the January meeting were circulated to the Commission members in advance. Upon a motion by Mr. McCrery with second by Mr. Cook, the Commission approved the January minutes.

B. Dates of next meetings. Secretary Luebke presented the dates for upcoming Commission meetings, as previously published: 21 March, 18 April, and 16 May 2024.


A. Appendices.

Secretary Luebke 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 – Government Submissions Consent Calendar: Mr. Hart reported that no changes have been made to the draft consent calendar, which includes twelve projects. He noted that the appendix also includes the reporting of an action that was previously delegated to the staff, approving the final design for a new barracks building and associated sitework at the Marine Barracks Washington Annex; the proposal responds to the Commission’s previous recommendations, including the addition of several rows of trees north of the building within the viewshed from the Southeast Freeway. Upon a motion by Mr. Cook with second by Mr. Moore, the Commission approved the Government Submissions Consent Calendar.

Appendix II – Shipstead-Luce Act Submissions: Ms. Lee said the appendix has thirteen cases. One case (SL 24-068) listed on the draft appendix has been removed and is being held open for consideration in a future month. The recommendation for another case (SL 24-067) has been changed to be favorable based on revisions to the proposal. Other changes to the draft appendix are limited to minor wording changes and the notation of dates for the receipt of supplemental materials. The recommendations for five projects are subject to further coordination with the applicants, and she requested authorization to finalize these recommendations when the outstanding issues are resolved. Upon a motion by Mr. Moore with second by Mr. McCrery, the Commission approved the revised Shipstead-Luce Act Appendix. (See agenda item II.G for an additional Shipstead-Luce Act submission.)

Appendix III – Old Georgetown Act Submissions: Mr. Fox reported that no changes have been made to the draft appendix, which includes 47 projects. Secretary Luebke noted this month’s large number of Georgetown cases, which comprise the largest share of the Commission’s caseload. Upon a motion by Mr. Moore with second by Mr. Cook, the Commission approved the Old Georgetown Act Appendix.

At this point, the Commission considered items II.B.1, II.D, and II.F.2. Secretary Luebke said that the Commission had identified these submissions as ones that could be approved without presentations.

B. National Park Service

1. CFA 15/FEB/24-1 Constitution Gardens, West Potomac Park, between17th Street and Henry Bacon Drive, NW. Phase 2 - Rehabilitation of the lake and landscape improvements. Final. (Previous: CFA 20/JUL/23-1)

Secretary Luebke said the proposal responds to the Commission’s comments from the previous review. Mr. Moore agreed, but he questioned the selection of wood decking for the walking surface of the lake ring. He said the lake ring would be an important feature of the new park, and the material should be studied carefully for its durability; the concern is especially important because the past maintenance of the park’s major features has been problematic. He also questioned the extensive tree canopy that is proposed for Signers Island; he observed that the island’s existing landscape includes areas of lawn or low plantings that allow for greater visibility of the island and for opportunities such as the recent temporary commemoration installation. He encouraged restudying the landscape proposal for the island with more consideration of future activities. Mr. McCrery said he agrees with these comments.

Noting the staff’s productive collaboration process with the project team, Secretary Luebke suggested that the Commission could approve the submission while delegating further review of these issues to the staff for completion of the final review process; this procedure would allow the project to move forward for the much-needed rehabilitation of this landscape. Mr. Moore supported this procedure. Upon a motion by Mr. McCrery with second by Mr. Moore, the Commission adopted this action.

D. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of the Army

CFA 15/FEB/24-4 Joint Base Myer–Henderson Hall, Arlington, Virginia. Design for two new barracks and associated landscape. Revised concept. (Previous: CFA 16/FEB/23-5) 

Secretary Luebke summarized that the Commission had previously given general support for the project but had commented that the architectural design needed extensive refinement. The Army has subsequently brought Hartman-Cox Architects to the design team, resulting in a revised proposal. Mr. McCrery said the design is greatly improved, and he expressed appreciation to the Army for responding to the Commission’s advice by hiring a consultant architecture firm specializing in contexts involving historic architecture. Mr. Cook agreed, describing the design as a vast improvement. He questioned the specification of “faux slate” for the roof material, commenting that authentic slate would be preferable; he suggested considering this issue as the design is developed. Upon a motion by Mr. Cook with second by Mr. Moore, the Commission approved the revised concept with this comment.

F. D.C. Department of General Services

2. CFA 15/FEB/24-7 Crummell Community Center, 1900 Gallaudet Street, NE. Renovations and additions to building and landscape. Concept. (Previous: CFA 19/OCT/23-4)

Secretary Luebke summarized that the project to create a new community center includes the renovation of a dilapidated historic school building. In the previous review, the Commission provided comments and did not approve the concept; the current proposal is intended to respond to the comments with a reconfigured plan and an improved hierarchy among the building volumes. Mr. Moore said he finds that the landscape design needs further development, and he asked the staff to work with the project team in refining this part of the design. Mr. Cook agreed, and he also suggested that the exterior color of the new construction be differentiated from the existing school building’s brick exterior; he observed that the submitted design shows the new construction matching the school’s color, which results in a much bigger and heavier appearance for the building complex. Noting that the project is submitted at the concept stage, Secretary Luebke said these comments could be addressed in the next submission. Upon a motion by Mr. Moore with second by Mr. Cook, the Commission approved the concept with the comments provided.

Vice Chair Edwards departed at this point, resulting in the loss of a quorum; Mr. Moore presided for the remainder of the meeting. Secretary Luebke noted that the recommendations and actions for the remaining projects would be placed on the next meeting’s agenda for adoption by a quorum of the Commission.

The Commission returned to the order of the agenda.

B. National Park Service

1. CFA 15/FEB/24-1 Constitution Gardens, West Potomac Park, between 17th Street and Henry Bacon Drive, NW. Phase 2 - Rehabilitation of the lake and landscape improvements. Final. (Previous: CFA 20/JUL/23-1)

The Commission acted on the submission earlier in the meeting without a presentation, following agenda item II.A.

2. CFA 15/FEB/24-2 Texas Legation Memorial, Indiana Plaza at 7th Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, and Indiana Avenue, NW. Design for a new memorial. Concept. (Previous: CFA 18/NOV/21-3, site selection)

Secretary Luebke introduced the proposed memorial design, submitted by the National Park Service on behalf of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Authorized by federal law in 2020, the memorial would honor the representatives of the Republic of Texas serving in Washington as diplomats to the United States during the period when Texas was independent, leading to the annexation of Texas as the 28th state in 1845. He noted that the Commission approved the site in November 2021: an existing raised sidewalk planter on the 600 block of Indiana Avenue, NW, in the vicinity of some of the rooming houses where the Texas representatives lived and worked. The proposed memorial design includes a marker stone placed in the northwest corner of the planting bed. He introduced Tammy Stidham, the Associate Regional Director for Lands and Planning at the National Capital Region of the National Park Service, to begin the presentation. Ms. Stidham asked architect Caroline Warlick Levins of Beyer Blinder Belle to present the design.

Ms. Levins presented photographs and drawings to illustrate the site. The planter is 27 feet long by 20 feet wide, defined by low granite walls; it is set within the wide sidewalk on the south side of Indiana Avenue. Currently, the planter has only three small crape myrtle trees, which will be removed. Adjacent to the west is Indiana Plaza, honoring the state of Indiana, and farther west is the U.S. Navy Memorial.

Ms. Levins said the proposed memorial would have several components: a five-pointed star for the base; a five-sided granite marker sitting atop the base; and an eleven-inch-diameter Daughters of the Republic of Texas bronze medallion on top of the marker. The marker would be sloped at the top to provide visitors a better view of the medallion. The base and the marker would be white Mt. Airy granite. The marker would rise 2.5 feet above the planting bed, for a total height of more than 4 feet above the sidewalk. The engravings on the sides of the marker would include: the names and dates of service of the eight diplomats who represented Texas; a dedication from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas with the dedication date; and an 1836 map of the Republic of Texas. She noted that the map shows an area larger than the modern state of Texas; parts of the Republic of Texas were eventually incorporated into five other states. The lettering height for the inscriptions of the diplomats’ names and the dedication text would be half an inch, while the lettering above the 1836 map would be 1-3/8 inches.

Sara Downing, a landscape architect with Oehme, van Sweden, presented the landscape proposal. She said its inspiration is the two Texas ecological regions that are separated by the Brazos River basin—an arid desert region southwest of the basin, and the piney woodlands to the northeast. This river basin was also the setting where representatives from Texas signed its Declaration of Independence from Mexico at Washington-on-the-Brazos. The proposed landscape uses two different planting palettes with groundcovers, asymmetrically laid out within the planter. The southeastern area would have a low berm with a prominently placed single tree, symbolizing Texas as the Lone Star state; the proposed tree is a sweetbay magnolia, which has white star-shaped blossoms. For the northwestern area, low-growing “Bunny Blue” sedge would be used in the foreground of the memorial to allow for clear visibility of the marker. Planted behind the sedge would be an area of two native meadow plants, blue grama grass and blazing star, to provide seasonal color and create a taller backdrop for the memorial. She said the proposed plant species are native to both Texas and the mid-Atlantic region.

Ms. Downing concluded by presenting two additional options for the site plan and landscape. Alternate Scheme 1 would place the memorial in the middle of the planting bed, set within a more formal geometry for the landscape plantings, which include a dwarf yaupon holly hedgerow in the background and meadow plants in the foreground. Alternate Scheme 2 would place the memorial near the northeast corner of the planting bed; background plantings would be arrowwood viburnum or red sprite winterberry, and the foreground would be Mexican feathergrass and threadleaf bluestar.

Mr. Moore thanked the design team for its thorough presentation and invited questions and comments from the Commission members. Mr. Cook asked whether the project team has a preferred option; Ms. Levins clarified that the first design presented is preferred. She said the legibility of the text on the sides of the marker is improved by placing the memorial near a corner of the planter instead of at a more central location. She also noted that the preferred design is more successful in incorporating native plants from Texas. Mr. Cook suggested exploring a larger size for the lettering, observing that the proposed half-inch height may be too small to read with the proposed placement of the memorial. He also questioned the use of Mt. Airy granite which, unlike the proposed plantings, is not native to Texas. Ms. Levins responded that the design team explored different materials including a red granite native to Texas, but Mt. Airy granite is proposed for several reasons: its neutral color would be more compatible with the materials in the context, it would allow the text to be easily read, and it is within the project’s budget.

Mr. McCrery agreed with the concern about the legibility of the text, and he recommended additional study. He also expressed concern that the base would become hidden by the adjacent vegetative groundcover; he recommended increasing the height of the base so it would remain visible after the vegetation matures. He questioned the inclusion of the Eastern redbud tree in the presented planting palette, apparently as an alternative to the proposed sweetbay magnolia; he commented that the redbud would not be as showy as the magnolia or the nearby cherry trees, and he supported specifying the magnolia for the design. Ms. Downing said the redbud was being considered, especially because of its resilience in the mid-Atlantic climate, but it is no longer part of the proposal. Mr. McCrery asked whether the Daughters of the Republic of Texas would have long-term maintenance responsibility for the memorial; Ms. Stidham responded that after the memorial is completed, its maintenance would become the responsibility of the National Park Service.

Mr. Moore summarized the recommendations to ensure text legibility, increase the height of the memorial’s base, and use the magnolia tree instead of the redbud. Mr. McCrery offered a motion to approve the project team’s preferred concept, subject to these comments. Upon a second by Mr. Cook, the Commission adopted this action, subject to confirmation by a quorum.

C. U.S. Department of Defense

CFA 15/FEB/24-3 The Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia. New employee pedestrian access control facility at Metro entrance. Concept. (Previous: CFA 16/FEB/17-4)

Secretary Luebke introduced the concept design for a new employee security screening facility at the Pentagon. The proposed addition would expand the existing screening facility located at the Pentagon’s main entrance, which is adjacent to the Pentagon Metrorail station and the associated bus transit platforms. The addition would provide an enlarged permanent screening facility and access control point, bringing the employee screening operations up to current security standards. He noted that the existing employee screening facility was built several months before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Mr. Luebke said the 18,400-square-foot addition would be located between the two existing sets of Metro station escalators. The submission includes two massing options: the first would extend the taller volume of the existing entrance facility to emphasize a 35-foot-high interior space within the new facility; the second option would have a lower height. Both options include skylights to allow for daylight on the interior.

Mr. Luebke said the Commission reviewed a different design for an employee entrance addition in 2017; no action was taken, and the Commission instead encouraged the design team to develop another architectural solution that would be more appropriate for a primary entrance to the Pentagon as a departmental headquarters. He then asked architect Hamed Aali of HDR to present the design.

Mr. Aali began with an overview of the project and the site constraints. The Pentagon is a National Historic Landmark, and the design must work with the below-grade Metro station as well as the at-grade bus facilities and Metro access points. The existing visitor screening facility, recently completed, is located to the southwest, and the new facility for employees must meet the Department of Defense’s security screening requirements while providing a new threshold for staff entering the Pentagon.

Mr. Aali said the design has been developed in response to the Commission’s concerns with the previous proposal by another design team, which was reviewed in February 2017. At that time, the Commission commented that the design created the appearance of an ad hoc assemblage of different architectural elements, with an awkward juxtaposition of many canopies in different styles relating to different programmatic elements. The Commission instead recommended a more compact plan consolidated into a single pavilion with an integrated spatial sequence and a more direct circulation flow, commenting that the facility should be understandable as a modern addition to the historic building.

Mr. Aali said the current design team has sought to develop a cohesive, comprehensive design for this addition, which will serve as an important threshold for the Pentagon. The intent is to create a consistent overall massing and to simplify the pedestrian circulation around and through this entrance to create a better arrival experience. He presented a pedestrian circulation diagram illustrating how employees enter the Pentagon at this location. The new facility would include 16 access-controlled turnstile doors to accommodate employees entering and exiting, as well as two sets of wheelchair-accessible turnstiles at each end of the primary facade. The plan also includes three sets of emergency egress doors, located at the front and the two sides of the addition. A pair of existing Metro elevators would remain in their current location, providing public access between the below-grade Metro station and the ground level; however, the elevators would be redesigned with doors opening to the outside on the southeast, facing the public plaza in front of the new addition.

Mr. Aali presented Option 1, which would predominantly be 19.5 feet tall but with a 35-foot-tall central volume; these heights would align with the lower and higher volumes of the existing entrance facility. Option 2 would have a consistent height of 19.5 feet without extending the existing facility’s taller volume. Skylights in the center of the roof would heighten the sense of arrival. He indicated the canopy that would wrap around the front and sides of the new entrance; the low scale of the new canopy is intended to avoid competing with the existing Metro canopies. The proposed materials include limestone, porcelain tile, fiber cement, metal panels, vision glass, and bronze for the canopy. Option 1 also includes channel glass above the canopy, while Option 2 would use mesh screen and vision glass at this location. On the interior, the design intent is to balance the security requirements with a desire to elevate the design for this departmental headquarters main entrance; the proposed interior materials include limestone, porcelain tile, and possibly translucent onyx.

Mr. Aali concluded by presenting a series of perspective renderings of the two options from various vantage points, including longer views from nearby roadways and other publicly accessible areas. He noted that the new addition would not be prominent from Interstate 395 or Route 110 as they pass near the Pentagon.

Mr. Moore expressed appreciation for the thorough presentation and invited questions and comments from the Commission members. Mr. McCrery said he prefers Option 1 because its taller central volume would provide an appropriately grand entrance at the main threshold for employees entering the Pentagon. He also commented that the metal mesh in Option 2, proposed in front of the windows above the entire length of the canopy, would look dated. He suggested further study of some of the material details: the exterior limestone, instead of meeting the ground, should have a granite base to avoid deterioration of the limestone; and an alternative interior material should be considered instead of the presented backlit onyx, which he said may be too luxurious a material in this context.

Mr. Cook said he also appreciates that the more generous interior of Option 1 would evoke a strong sense of arrival, but he observed that the horizontal emphasis of the Option 2 massing would be more consistent with the massing of the historic Pentagon building. Mr. Aali said the design team has explored numerous massing options and decided not to extend the existing entrance facility’s double-height volume to the front of the new addition, instead allowing the addition’s main facade to have a consistent low horizontal alignment in both of the presented options. He said the design team also studied the possibility of extending the central volume at a reduced height, but the conclusion was that none of these solutions was as successful as the two options that have been presented to the Commission.

Mr. Cook noted the multiple agencies with operations at this location, and he asked who will be responsible for the proposed addition’s maintenance and operations; he cited the example of the skylights, which could become unsightly if insufficiently maintained. Mr. Aali responded that the Department of Defense will have jurisdiction over the interior and exterior of this facility and will be responsible for maintenance and operations. Mr. Cook observed that the emergency egress doors at each side of the addition would open onto relatively narrow walkways, and he suggested careful study of the exiting requirements.
Mr. Moore said he supports Option 1 because of its more generous and inviting interior with its larger central volume. He agreed that the metal mesh for the exterior of Option 2 would be an unnecessary additional material, and he joined in questioning the proposed use of onyx. Mr. McCrery offered a motion to approve the Option 1 concept with the comments provided. Upon a second by Mr. Cook, the Commission adopted this action, subject to confirmation by a quorum.

D. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of the Army

CFA 15/FEB/24-4 Joint Base Myer–Henderson Hall, Arlington, Virginia. Design for two new barracks and associated landscape. Revised concept. (Previous: CFA 16/FEB/23-5)

The Commission acted on the submission earlier in the meeting without a presentation, following agenda item II.A.

E. U.S. General Services Administration

CFA 15/FEB/24-5 St. Elizabeths West Campus, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2701 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SE. Construction of a new 6-story building and associated landscape for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. Concept. 

Secretary Luebke introduced the proposed new headquarters building for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), a project that is consistent with the master plan amendment approved in 2020 for the St. Elizabeths West Campus. The 550,000-square-foot building would allow for the consolidation of ICE operations into a single modern facility. The location, as identified in the master plan amendment, is near the southeast edge of the campus alongside the South Lawn in the elevated plateau area that includes several historic Administration Row buildings as well as the large headquarters building for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), recently approved in June 2021 and currently being developed.

Mr. Luebke said the ICE building would be configured as several bars around an open court, similar to the general organization of the CISA building; the height and alignment of the ICE building’s bars would address the context of the CISA building and the historic Hitchcock Hall that terminates the north end of the South Lawn. The landscape design is intended to relate to the woodland and arboretum typologies of the historic campus landscape. Several bioretention areas would be created, and the small ravine between the ICE and CISA buildings would have paths for employee use. The limited vehicular access would include a ceremonial drop-off plaza facing the South Lawn and a service drive wrapping around the rear of the building. He asked Kristi Tunstall Williams, deputy director of the Office of Planning and Design Quality at the regional office of the General Services Administration, to begin the presentation.

Ms. Williams noted that the campus is a National Historic Landmark, a designation that includes the landscape and setting as well as buildings. The design for this project, like others on the campus, is controlled by the master plan, design guidelines, and the cultural landscape report. She said the campus has historically been developed through a series of building campaigns that have distinct characters—first in the 1850s to 1880s, then in the early 1900s, followed by the 1940s, and currently with a building campaign that began in the 2010s. The ICE building is intended to be part of the current design character of construction on the campus, and more specifically it is conceived as a companion to the nearby CISA building, which the Commission has reviewed and approved. To present the design, she introduced architect Toby Hasselgren of ZGF and landscape architect Hallie Boyce of OLIN.

Mr. Hasselgren presented drawings from the campus master plan as amended in 2020, and he described key features of the campus context including scale, views, landscape, and habitat. He indicated the designated locations for the CISA and ICE buildings, which he described as companions or “sisters” within the campus development. Programmatic goals for the project include workplace efficiency, building performance, and establishing an identity for the agency within the landscape.

Ms. Boyce indicated the context of the campus within the Anacostia hills that form part of the topographic bowl around central Washington; the campus has broad views toward the city’s monumental core. The campus development primarily occupies a plateau that has been managed for many decades as an arboretum; adjacent areas, including steep slopes, have the character of meadows or a woodland. The site for the ICE building lies to the southwest of the South Lawn, with the Administrative Row buildings toward the north and east; also to the north is the CISA building, and the area to the west is an existing woodland landscape. To the south, beyond the adjacent campus boundary, is a residential neighborhood. She presented a series of historic and current views to illustrate the evolution of the landscape; she observed that historic maps document that the tree canopy appears to have diminished between 1895 and 1937, and she said the master plan envisions recreating the lost areas of woodland. The new landscape would be based on the cultural landscape report and would create habitat, increase biodiversity, and provide shade and seasonal interest. Additional goals include expanding the path system and creating areas for social interaction or respite for the thousands of employees on the campus. She also said that the landscape design would provide a planted edge alongside the neighborhood to the south.

Mr. Hasselgren observed that the different landscape characters of the campus have inspired different architectural approaches for recent buildings; for example, the CISA building’s design accommodated the ravine topography, while the ICE building would respond to its plateau setting. The varied architectural character of the campus is also a strong influence on each new project, with the historic Administrative Row establishing the immediate built context for the ICE site. He described the shared characteristics of recent buildings on the campus, including their materials and terra cotta color. He summarized the site design principles that have most strongly shaped the ICE proposal: viewsheds across the plateau, including views from outside the campus; an axial relationship to Hitchcock Hall; and massing and height that relate to the context by placing the taller volumes to the south. He said these issues have been addressed in the master plan’s guidance, but the proposed ICE design would offer a stronger relationship to Hitchcock Hall, better definition of the plateau views, a greater setback from the historic buildings, and a more sensitive configuration of the building’s mass by pushing the taller height to the south. He added that the proposed design also minimizes the extent of building walls facing east and west, providing better solar performance compared to the master plan’s diagrammatic massing.

Mr. Hasselgren presented a series of diagrams to illustrate the proposed massing for the ICE building; he said that the greater height toward the south would face a school in the adjacent neighborhood. He described the ICE building’s stacked massing as an adaptation of the design approach for the CISA building, which had to rely on overlapping tube-shaped volumes to stabilize the building against the steeply sloping topography. The proposed ICE building’s volumes are extruded and rotated, breaking down the building’s scale and providing a distinct design character related to the CISA building. He said the color selection for the ICE building’s exterior is being carefully studied and will be determined with mock-ups. The intent is to relate the color to the nearby buildings, which generally have a terra cotta color but with a wide range of tones from tan to dark brown; Hitchcock Hall’s color differs slightly from those of the Administrative Row buildings, and the stronger exterior color for CISA was chosen to relate to other buildings in the ravine to its north and west.

Ms. Boyce presented the site and context plans, indicating the pedestrian circulation routes between the ICE building’s entrances, the parking garages on the campus, and the pedestrian entrance gates along Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue. The pedestrian circulation would be supplemented by the shuttle bus system within the campus, and a drop-off area accommodating motorcades would be provided beside the ceremonial entrance. A large lawn would be located to the northeast of the building, near the entrances, and a woodland landscape would separate the building from the CISA building to the north. The loading dock would be located at the west end of the building, set within the woodland landscape. The south side of the site is a narrow strip along the campus boundary; it would be planted as much as possible in response to the community’s request, alongside the service drive that also provides fire department access. Stormwater management would be integrated with the plantings, including rain gardens within the woodland landscapes. She indicated two green roofs that would be located above the lower parts of the building.

Mr. Hasselgren said the ICE building’s entrance locations have been chosen to relate to the campus context as well as to the interior functioning of the building. The ceremonial entrance would be aligned to the center axis of Hitchcock Hall at the opposite end of the South Lawn, and the secondary entrance would face the Administrative Row buildings that similarly front on the South Lawn. The building’s geometry of rotated bars, in combination with the entrance locations, allows for two interior core zones as well as four special areas for conference and collaboration spaces along with kitchenettes, connecting stairs, and other shared facilities.

Mr. Hasselgren presented a section drawing to illustrate the ICE building’s height relationships. The height of the northern bar would match the height of the nearby CISA building; the southern bar would be one story taller. He then presented a series of aerial and ground-level perspective views to show the proposed architecture and landscape design from all sides. He said the ICE building would terminate the southern end of the South Lawn and shape this open space. The lower bar between the ICE building’s entrances would contain collaboration spaces; the glass walls on this bar would allow views between the South Lawn and the building’s internal courtyard. Ms. Boyce described the shaded outdoor seating area with tables that would be located near the secondary entrance, for the enjoyment of employees taking breaks.

Mr. Hasselgren noted that the perspective views illustrate the initial concept for the building’s materials and color; he indicated the areas of curtainwall and the metal screening panels that would mitigate glare where needed. He also indicated the precast concrete for the building’s base; it would be light-colored to relate to the trim of the Administrative Row buildings. He emphasized that these historic buildings have provided inspiration to the design team for the design of the ICE building, including its materials, color, and details; for example, an abstraction of the historic facade profiles would be adapted and rotated to form the ribbed profile of the ICE building’s exterior panels, providing an interesting play of light and shadow while not attempting to literally replicate the historic detail. The desired texture for these exterior panels has not yet been determined. Belt courses on the ICE building’s facade would generally correspond to the horizontal alignments of the historic buildings of Administrative Row, which have also inspired the ICE building’s portico design. He said that the generous distance between these two buildings—approximately 150 feet—results from modifying the master plan’s vision for siting the new building. Another advantage of the current proposal is that it eliminates the very long west facade that was illustrated in the master plan, instead orienting the short ends of the bar volumes toward the east and west to step away from the Administrative Row buildings.

Ms. Boyce said the site furnishings would be consistent with those used elsewhere on the campus. The entrance plaza would be paved in granite; paths would be the standard campus material of exposed-aggregate concrete, and a bound aggregate would be used for seating areas. Benches and moveable seating would be similar to those used at the CISA building. The proposed plant palette includes native and adapted species; all of the proposed trees are identified in the cultural resources report as having previously existed on the campus. She said the trees would provide beautiful texture and color throughout the year, and the shade-tolerant shrubs and groundcovers would provide additional seasonal interest.

Ms. Boyce presented the design for the building’s courtyard. It would have three gathering spaces—a large central area and two smaller outdoor rooms that would be suitable for meetings. The materials include granite paving and wood decking to match the palette of the CISA building. On a section drawing, she indicated the shade that would be provided by the courtyard’s trees for the open central area; the moveable seating would allow people to choose whether to sit in daylight or shade. The range of courtyard plantings are being selected with consideration of their tolerance for shade or sunlight.

Mr. Hasselgren presented aerial views of the south and west elevations, indicating how the appearance of the massing is broken down. The meeting areas inside would be expressed on the facades with curtainwall glazing. He noted that these facades would not be perceived in their entirety at ground level. He said the roof terrace at the western end of the northern bar would provide expansive views toward the Potomac River. Ms. Boyce presented details of the loading dock configuration and truck turning radii at the west facade, and she indicated the bioretention and stormwater management elements on a section drawing of this area. A wooden bridge would connect the pedestrian path system across a low part of the topography.

Mr. Moore expressed appreciation for the thorough presentation and invited questions and comments from the Commission members. Mr. McCrery said that his comments are limited to clarification questions and a request for numbering of the images for future presentations.

Mr. Cook complimented the presentation and the thoughtful design approach. He supported the intended color relationship between this building and others in the vicinity for the terra cotta tone, but he questioned how the light-colored precast concrete would relate to the historic buildings, and he suggested that this color should not be too light. 
Mr. Hasselgren said the color choice for the concrete will be studied further.

Mr. Cook said that as presented, the reworking of the master plan’s massing and the rotation of the building volumes would strengthen the relationship of the ICE building to the other buildings on the campus. However, he observed that the result of this design process is to create a very broad south facade toward the adjacent neighborhood, which is only illustrated from an aerial viewpoint. He suggested that future presentations show the appearance of the ICE building from the neighborhood’s ground level. He observed that the neighborhood buildings are quite low, perhaps one to three stories, while the ICE building’s height appears to be greater than ninety feet; he acknowledged that the terrain may complicate the height relationships. He noted that the community has historically been shut out from the St. Elizabeths campus, and he emphasized the concern that the proposed massing and orientation of the ICE building may create an unwelcoming visual wall toward the adjacent community.

Ms. Williams responded that the project team will study this issue, and she provided clarification of the neighborhood context. Immediately adjacent to the St. Elizabeths perimeter wall is a school complex, which currently has some large buildings under construction; she said the prevailing use in the immediate context is not all houses, but includes larger-scale institutional uses. Mr. Cook said the proposed building would likely be visible from the adjacent neighborhood of modest-sized homes, such as from the intersection of Fifth and Lebaum Streets, SE; he requested a depiction of the proposed building on the horizon when seen from this vantage point. He reiterated his support for the proposal’s contribution to making well-designed spaces within the campus, although he observed that these will only be experienced by employees of the Department of Homeland Security.

Mr. Moore expressed agreement with Mr. Cook’s comments. He suggested more careful consideration of the rooftop bulkheads and screening of mechanical equipment, noting that these elements have sometimes become problematic when introduced at a later design stage for large-scale projects. Mr. Hasselgren clarified that the only rooftop elements would be elevator penthouses, and possibly security-related features that ICE may require; he said that the roof has been given careful consideration during the design process. He added that rooftop photovoltaic panels may be included in the design to improve the building’s energy performance.

Mr. Moore noted that the Commission’s landscape architect is not present for today’s concept review of the proposal, and he said the Commission may have additional comments on the landscape as the design is developed. He summarized the Commission’s appreciation for the thoughtful design approach in relation to the campus, including consideration of the landscape and its different ecologies at the transition to the ravine woodland. He said the Commission looks forward to further review of the project, and he encouraged further consultation on the landscape design with the staff and the Commission.

Mr. Cook offered a motion to approve the concept submission with the comments provided. Upon a second by Mr. McCrery, the Commission adopted this action, subject to confirmation by a quorum. Secretary Luebke noted that the submission results from numerous large-group consultation meetings that have been held over the last nine months. He said the consultations have been productive in addressing the challenges of accommodating the large building program within the sensitive context of this National Historic Landmark campus.

F. D.C. Department of General Services

1. CFA 15/FEB/24-6 MacArthur High School, 4530 MacArthur Boulevard, NW. Renovations and additions to building and landscape. Concept.

Secretary Luebke introduced the concept proposal from the D.C. Department of General Services, submitted on behalf of the D.C. Public Schools, for renovations and additions to the building and landscape of MacArthur High School, a recently created public school operating on the former lower school campus of a private school, Georgetown Day School. The D.C. Government purchased the building to alleviate crowding at Jackson-Reed High School, formerly named Woodrow Wilson High School, that had been the only public high school serving Ward 3. He said the site has steep topography and impressive views overlooking the Potomac River. The existing building is the result of several construction campaigns beginning in the 1960s; it has many different wings and is somewhat disjointed. He said the project goals include creating additional space to meet higher enrollment requirements; improving circulation and barrier-free access; unifying the exterior design; and creating a strong sense of arrival and a character commensurate with a public high school. Important goals for the site design are to manage vehicular traffic for the drop-off and pick-up of students; resolve the circulation of pedestrians and bicycles; and address the site’s sloping grade as well as the varied internal floor levels. School operations will continue during construction, and disruptions need to be minimized.

Mr. Luebke said the proposal is to construct a three-level, L-shaped addition at the front that would complete the interior circulation loop, maximize reuse of the existing building, and create a new courtyard. The addition’s architectural vocabulary is intended to be compatible with the existing school complex, but it would provide a more robust presence when seen from MacArthur Boulevard. He asked Marnique Heath of Studios Architecture to begin the presentation.

Ms. Heath said MacArthur High School, the newest high school in Washington, opened in the fall of 2023; it is located in Foxhall Village, to the west of Georgetown University. Access to the site is only from the north side, at two points along MacArthur Boulevard. The school now has 250 freshman students; when the renovated building reopens in 2026, it will accommodate 800 students. The project includes a significant building expansion to accommodate high school programs. She said the presentation will discuss the complex challenges posed by the site and the proposed solutions for modernizing the existing lower school building into a new high school that has an appropriate civic presence.

Ms. Heath said the terrain slopes downward fairly steeply to the south, providing dramatic views from the south side of the site over the wooded terrain along Canal Road and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal to the Potomac River. The school is located behind residential buildings along MacArthur Boulevard, and it is not easily visible from the street; the proposal includes solutions to give the renovated building more prominence and visibility. She presented a diagram illustrating the expansion of the building over several decades, indicated the footprint of the original 1960s school building, the annex to its south from the 1970s, the 1980s addition linking the main school with the annex, the 1990s gymnasium addition, and the 2023 renovation. She noted that the architectural character varies with each of the construction phases; the new addition is intended to provide an overall unification to the design of the existing school.

Ms. Heath illustrated the restricted views of the school from MacArthur Boulevard through gaps between the existing large residential buildings; she said the school itself is difficult to find, it lacks presence even as you move into the site along the access road on the west, and the building entrance is also difficult to find. While differing in architectural character, the additions to the original building have a relatively unified material palette that includes buff-colored brick and metal screen panels. She said the proposal is to continue this material language on the new addition while adding details from some of the more recent additions, such as the more varied brickwork used on the 1990s gymnasium elevations. She asked Alex DeFee of Studios Architecture to present the concept design in more detail.

Mr. DeFee summarized the design goals: creating a civic presence at a scale appropriate for the location within a residential neighborhood; creating a strong sense of arrival; unifying the exterior design; and improving the function and circulation, which is now strained because of the varied interior levels. He said that construction will be carried out in three phases to minimize disruption to students, and he emphasized that accommodating the phased enrollment projections is critical.

Mr. DeFee said that to address both aspirational and functional goals, the proposal is to build the addition in a central location that creates a protected courtyard in the center of the school; this solution allows the addition to improve both the civic presence and the entrance experience. He said the existing entrance prioritizes automobile traffic, and the past construction phases have little hierarchy among the building elements; although the material palette is uniform, the actual forms are not consistent and were clearly built at different times. A civic presence would be created by shifting the focus from the approach by car to the approach by pedestrians. The expansive, sloping parking lot in front of the building would be replaced by a new entry plaza that would establish a clear threshold into the campus. The site would be unified by connecting the green spaces to this new, densely planted plaza that would connect physically to the central courtyard and visually to the Palisades neighborhood south of the site, the canal, and the river.

Mr. DeFee said that because of the sloping topography, the existing building is spread out in both plan and section, including a sloped approach across the steep parking lot to reach the existing entrance. The proposed addition would move the building entrance closer to the entrance into the site, and people would enter the first level of the building by ascending three feet from the drop-off drive rather than descending eight feet. He presented photographs of the existing parking lot and drop-off area, observing that the view is dominated by building roofs and unscreened mechanical equipment, with only a hint of the sloping topography beyond. In the proposed configuration, three vehicular drop-off lanes would be provided at the center of the site, as well as a pedestrian walkway. The new entrance would be reached from both a stairway and an accessible walk. The landscaped plaza in front of the building would also create a threshold into the site, providing an experience of transition. The plaza and the courtyard beyond would provide hints of the natural landscape that would be visible from inside the building.

Mr. DeFee said the western entrance drive from MacArthur Boulevard also serves an existing entrance of the adjacent apartment building, which must be maintained; he indicated the property line that runs down the middle of the entrance drive. He said the school is not readily visible when approaching along this entrance drive, resulting in difficulty understanding how to reach the building and navigate around the campus. He emphasized that the site is currently not pedestrian friendly, a situation that the proposed entrance plaza is intended to improve.

Mr. DeFee said the proposed material for the new addition is brick that is similar to the brick of the existing building, helping to unify the overall design. Green metal roofs on the addition would build up a new form against the skyline, creating a sense of identity and civic presence. He said this new roof form would not be just a flat silhouette but would be shaped to draw the eye toward the building and to create a hierarchy among its parts.

Mr. Moore invited questions and comments from the Commission members. Mr. McCrery complimented the project team on its presentation, observing that the site is both amazing and challenging. He asked how people arrive at the school, and whether the existing parking is reserved for faculty and staff or whether students can also park there. Mr. DeFee responded that the parking lot is reserved for faculty and staff. The 250 students currently attending the school are all freshmen, who are too young to drive; many of them take the public bus, although some are driven by their parents. He indicated the location of the nearest bus stop, which is on MacArthur Boulevard just west of the western entrance into the site; he confirmed that a bus stop for the opposite direction is located immediately across MacArthur Boulevard.

Mr. McCrery asked if the vehicle drop-off area would remain a two-way road. Mr. DeFee said the proposal is to change it to a one-way road, with separation of pedestrian and vehicular circulation. Vehicles would enter from the eastern access point along MacArthur Boulevard; the access road would have two travel lanes as well as a double drop-off lane at the school entrance. Most students would arrive as pedestrians using the western access point from MacArthur Boulevard, which would provide a view of the school’s new entrance; he said this is an example of how the design will prioritize the pedestrian experience over vehicular circulation.

Mr. Cook commented that the project presents a tough challenge, not only from the site itself but from other conditions, such as having to maintain school operations during the construction phases, and accommodating an enrollment increase from 250 students to 800. He asked if traffic studies have been done, observing that MacArthur Boulevard will likely have heavy traffic during peak drop-off and pick-up times. Mr. DeFee responded that a traffic study had been completed; one result is the decision to maximize the amount of on-site queueing in order to avoid queueing on MacArthur Boulevard. He said that most cars will be approaching the site from the east, and an existing traffic light will facilitate cars entering the site. He described the proposed solution as minimizing the impact of neighborhood traffic on school operations and circulation.

Mr. Cook observed that the site plan shows bicycle racks on the north side of the access drive, across from the entrance, which would require bicyclists to park their bikes and then walk across the lanes of automobile traffic to reach the school. He asked if the bicycle racks could be moved to the south side of the access drive, adjacent to the building entrance, in order to avoid this conflict. Mr. DeFee offered to study this further, with the goal of locating the bicycle racks within 100 feet of the building entrance. He said an additional constraint in the site planning is the intent not to move existing mechanical equipment that is located directly east of the proposed bicycle racks; moving the bicycle racks to the south might require shifting the automobile traffic to the north, which would be a challenge for working around this equipment. He also indicated the additional bicycle racks that would be located to the east near the basketball court and playing field. Ms. Heath said the design team will give more consideration to the challenge of circulation conflicts in this area.

Mr. Cook commented that he does not strongly favor the existing material palette. Although he said he appreciates the proposed design strategy for the school’s north side, it will never be perceived as a frontal elevation but will only be seen at an oblique angle, as illustrated in one of the perspective drawings. He said this oblique view will be the first impression of the school, visible from MacArthur Boulevard, and it therefore presents the one opportunity to create a new identity. He recommended a bolder design approach than trying to knit together the miscellaneous parts through the use of green-colored roofs; he encouraged maintaining the datum of gray brick and then creating something different above it.

Mr. McCrery acknowledged the project team’s desire to create a different aesthetic for the school, but he said he is not sure a bolder approach is needed. Referring again to the perspective view of the school from the western access drive, he observed that the proposed gray-colored masonry would make a bold statement, and he expressed support for the use of ground-floor punched windows within the masonry. However, he questioned the continuation of this material to form the entrance canopy, with the unexpected use of horizontally laid brick to span 80 feet. He said using the horizontal line itself as a formal device is reasonable and would provide a canopy; it would both introduce and participate in the striation of the masonry at the base level, and the striation would then extend into the landscape, which he said is quite successful.

Mr. McCrery also questioned the dominant use of green metal panels for the boxy upper floors of the addition, and he suggested that this striking characteristic may result in the school becoming identified with the color green and perhaps being given derogatory nicknames. He said the intent may be to recall the traditional green patina of copper roofs. However, modern copper roofs no longer develop this patina, and roofs are often painted green to make them appear to be patinated copper; the proposed green exterior would therefore by two steps away from the authentic material being referenced. He also commented that the design for the placement of windows within the green panel system is not persuasive—they appear to be cut into the metal panels, with the material having been removed; he suggested consideration of relating the openings more closely to the fin system. He summarized that he does not yet support approval of the concept design, but he thinks it is moving in the right direction.

Mr. Moore observed that although the site presents difficulties, the project team has done a good job of making an argument for the proposed locations of the entrance sequence and the building massing, and for how these would work. He noted the challenge of giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists rather than automobiles. He said the Commission needs to know more about how these issues would be handled, and how the majority of people arriving by bus or bicycle would be given priority over those who would be dropped off from cars. He noted that in New York City, this type of condition is frequently encountered, and usually a shared traffic stream is used to address such concerns; potentially this solution could be explored in the context of Washington.

Mr. Moore commended the decision to address the grade issues at the entrance plaza in order to make barrier-free access as equitable as possible; he said this is always a challenging issue and is often poorly done. He observed that the landscape plan at the drop-off area now reads as being either path or planting, and he suggested adding more seating here, even a small amount, that would be integrated within the proposed spaces. He supported the comments on restudying the materials, especially for the upper part of the new addition; he said the design of the lower part appears somewhat successful in unifying the building elements.

Mr. Moore suggested not taking an action on the concept submission. He summarized the general support for the overall massing and configuration of the proposal, as well as the comments provided for further development of the architecture and landscape details, along with the request for additional resolution of questions concerning circulation for pedestrians and cyclists. The discussion concluded without a formal action.

2. CFA 15/FEB/24-7 Crummell Community Center, 1900 Gallaudet Street, NE. Renovations and additions to building and landscape. Concept. (Previous: CFA 19/OCT/23-4)

The Commission acted on the submission earlier in the meeting without a presentation, following agenda item II.A.

G. D.C. Department of Buildings—Shipstead-Luce Act

SL 24-075 (HPA 24-162) Former Walter Reed Medical Center, Parcel Z, 6809 16th Street, NW. New construction - 37 townhouses. Concept.

Secretary Luebke introduced the concept design for the construction of three- and four-story row houses on Parcel Z of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center, located within the National Register-listed Walter Reed Army Medical Center Historic District. He described the site as steeply sloped and prominently visible from Rock Creek Park and 16th Street to the west. To the north is Main Drive and the Department of State’s Foreign Missions Center; to the south is Aspen Street and a residential area; and to the east is the historic Georgian Revival-style Delano Hall, the former nurses quarters that is now occupied by the D.C. International School. He said each house would have approximately 3,000 square feet on four levels, with five bedrooms, roof terraces, and a two-car garage at the rear. Three of the houses would be set aside as affordable. He noted that the developer, Urban Atlantic, is also constructing 58 row houses of a similar design on several parcels farther east on Aspen Street, on the other side of the school; however, these are not subject to the Commission’s Shipstead-Luce Act jurisdiction for properties facing Rock Creek Park.

Mr. Luebke said the two rows of houses facing 16th Street would be composed as four-story blocks, similar in scale to many of the historic buildings on the campus. Perpendicular to 16th Street, the four rows between Aspen Street and Main Drive would step with the topography, and their front facades would step back above the third story, with the fourth story set back behind the roof terrace. He described this configuration as counter to the normal typology, in which the massing is taller facing onto the street and steps back from the rear. He said the proposed materials include brick, aluminum windows, and cementitious shingles and lap siding, consistent with the design guidelines for Walter Reed. He asked Vicki Davis of Urban Atlantic to begin the presentation.
Ms. Davis said the 110-acre Walter Reed campus has been divided into three parcels as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure Act; this project is part of the 66-acre parcel that was deeded to the D.C. Government for redevelopment, now underway as the Parks at Walter Reed. The project is governed by a small-area plan and a reuse plan; because it is located within a historic district, the design requires approval by the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board.

Ms. Davis described the neighborhood context and Walter Reed’s existing buildings and new development. The zoning for Parcel Z allows a height of 65 feet, but this is reduced to a 50-foot height along Aspen Street in response to the lower scale of the houses to the south, which include postwar one- and two-story houses. The developers of all the parcels on the north side of Aspen Street have deeded a twenty-foot-wide strip of land to the D.C. Department of Transportation to accommodate curbside parking, a bioretention area, plantings, and an eight-foot-wide hiker/biker trail connecting Rock Creek Park on the west to Georgia Avenue on the east. She indicated the site’s downward slope of approximately twenty feet from east to west. She introduced architectural historian Emily Eig of EHT Traceries and architect Geri Yantis of Sutton Yantis Associates Architects to continue the presentation.

Ms. Eig summarized the design guidelines for the Walter Reed redevelopment, which require the new construction to follow a traditional architecture based on classical principles ofvertical orientation and walls with punched windows; she said the design guidelines take their inspiration from the historic campus. She indicated the site’s steep grade change as it rises to Main Drive. She said the dark iron fencing at the perimeter of Walter Reed will be retained; only non-historic fences will be removed.

Mr. Yantis described the new houses and the challenges of the existing and proposed grades. He indicated that the site fronts on 16th Street, Aspen Street, and Main Drive. All the buildings would be twenty-foot-wide row houses with two-car garages at the rear. Two four-story rows of five houses each would face 16th Street; the houses would be set back 48 feet from the roadway, and the two rows of five houses each would be separated by a narrow, planted space. The other four rows of houses would run perpendicular to the slope to manage the steep uphill grade. He indicated the northernmost row facing Main Drive and the southernmost row facing Aspen Street; the two internal rows would front on a mews area.

Mr. Yantis said the row houses would have traditional walls along with various features based on the details of Building 11, nearby houses, and residential buildings along 16th Street. The facades would be three bays wide, and many of the front facades would have triple window groupings at the second and third floors that would be connected with a white trim panel. Several elements would be used to give proportion and scale: entrance porches; a belt course aligning with the stoops, which would define a base; additional belt courses would define a middle and top zone; and parapets near the roofline. The brick of the front facades, along with the parapets, would continue around the end units, and the entrance porches of the northernmost and southernmost houses along 16th Street would be located on the side facades.

Mr. Yantis presented sectional views to show how the new row houses would be detailed in response to their context. Along Aspen Street, the lower level of most of the houses would be buried within the sloping grade, creating the appearance of an English basement; the details of these houses are designed to reduce the scale to better relate to the detached houses across the street. The front facades along 16th Street would be approximately 45 feet high; the houses along Aspen Street would be approximately 25 feet high at the front and 35 feet high at the rear. The front facades along Main Drive would be set back approximately 11 to 13 feet from the front facade alignment of Building 11 to the east.

Mr. Yantis presented perspective renderings of the proposal and said that the proposed materials, trim details, and colors are all similar to those used in the new row houses at the development on the Walter Reed campus called Aspen Square, which is now under construction. Main Drive, 16th Street, and Aspen Street would have street trees, and additional trees would be planted within the site, following the landscape guidelines for native species. He indicated the historic fence and brick piers that would remain along 16th Street.

Mr. Moore invited questions and comments from the Commission members. Mr. McCrery complimented the project team for its willingness to follow established architectural precedents for this new development and for the design response to the difficult site. He said the elevations are nicely composed, particularly the way in which the basements emerge from the ground into a full story. However, he recommended that the front facades along the side streets should rise to the height needed to provide a consistent alignment for the cornice lines. He supported the presented height of the facades along the alleys and the mews. He said the upper stepped-back facades should be brick and have an architectural treatment similar to the other facades; he discouraged the proposed contrasting facade material of black cementitious roof shingles, regardless of its quality. He added that although black has become popular for exterior building materials, the color will likely fade, and the trend to use black as an exterior color will also diminish. He also observed that black cementitious shingles on a facade or a roof terrace will absorb heat and raise the interior temperature of the houses, providing an additional reason to change the color. He summarized that all of the facades up to the cornice line should be entirely brick.

Mr. McCrery observed that many of the proposed row houses appear to have been flipped, with their front elevations looking like rear elevations; he said this is not because of the design of these facades but because the principal facade would more commonly be taller, with the rear stepping back at a lower height to create a roof terrace. For the row houses with lower front facades, he recommended that the heights should be reversed. He acknowledged the project team’s concern about the new row houses facing existing one- and two-story houses across Aspen Street; however, he said the more appropriate response to this concern would be to build new one- and two-story houses instead. He added that building brick row houses with facades rising to three or four stories is the future of development in Washington. Ms. Davis responded that she appreciates the comments, and although the proposed typology exists in other locations on the Walter Reed campus, the project team will work to pursue this advice.

Mr. Cook expressed support for Mr. McCrery’s comments. Noting that the site is hilly, and that many exterior stairways are proposed, he asked how barrier-free access would be addressed. Mr. Yantis responded that single-family attached row houses without elevators are not required to be barrier-free, but the internal public walks would have barrier-free access from the roadways. Ms. Davis added that all the houses would have barrier-free access through the rear garages.

Mr. Cook observed that the site proposed for a large lawn area to the north along Main Drive has fine mature trees, and he asked if these would be preserved. Ms. Davis responded that Urban Atlantic’s policy is to preserve heritage trees, and the project team has worked with an arborist. She said that the existing trees along Aspen Street are young Bradford pears that are located within the area of a planned new parking lane; these will be removed by the D.C. Department of Transportation. She added that the intent is to try to maintain most of the trees in the 48-foot-wide area in front of the new row houses along 16th Street.

Mr. Cook asked for more information about the landscape proposed for the mews area between the two middle rows of houses, which is shown as 22’-8” wide. Ms. Davis said the houses would be two stories high along the mews, then step back to three stories, providing more access to light; the mews would receive direct sunlight in the morning and evening.

Mr. Moore said he agreed with the comments of the other Commission members, particularly about the need to locate the higher parts of the row houses on the front facades. He asked if the design for the street right-of-way outside the property line will be submitted to the Commission at a later date. Secretary Luebke responded that D.C. streetscape improvements are not reviewed by the Commission unless they are located within a special area such as the Old Georgetown historic district, or are considered to be a project of high importance. For this location, he said the change will not be very significant: the roadway will only be widened to add a parking lane and a bike lane, requiring the removal of existing street trees, and new trees will be planted to replace them.

Mr. Moore summarized the recommendation to reorient the massing of the houses along Main Drive and Aspen Street, and he said the Commission will need to see how this is resolved. He suggested not taking an action on the concept submission, and the design should be developed for further review. Secretary Luebke noted that the rows of houses along 16th Street appear to be more architecturally successful as integrated compositions; however, the cornices on the other rows have irregular, varied heights, especially when seen from the side, and the prominent parapets create a sawtooth appearance. He said this may not be important at the rear but would look very strange where they are visible from the streets. Mr. McCrery and Mr. Moore said the project team should continue working closely with staff to revise these details. The discussion concluded without a formal action.

H. U.S. Mint

1. CFA 15/FEB/24-8 2026 U.S. Semiquincentennial One and Five Cent Coins, Designs for obverse. Final.

Secretary Luebke introduced the proposed modifications to the circulating penny and nickel coins to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026. He noted that coins have occasionally been modified for past anniversary years, such as commemorative reverses for the penny in 2009 to honor the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. He asked April Stafford, chief of the Mint’s Office of Design Management, to present the alternatives.

Ms. Stafford said the authorizing legislation allows for the commemorative redesign of all U.S. coins in 2026; in the coming year, the Mint will submit proposals for the redesign of other circulating coins and commemorative issues for the Commission’s review. The first submission is for the one- and five-cent coins because the Mint has decided to make only very limited changes to them, affecting only the obverse.

Ms. Stafford presented the current obverse of the Lincoln penny and several options for modifications. Option 1 would change the minting year to provide a date range of “1776–2026.” Option 2 would insert a privy mark in the shape of the Liberty Bell, with the number “250” within the bell. Option 3, illustrated in two versions for the penny, would include both the date range and the privy mark; Version A would place the Liberty Bell on the left side of the coin and the date range on the right, while Version B would place both of these elements on the right side.

Ms. Stafford then presented the alternatives for the obverse of the Jefferson nickel, noting that the Commission may want to consider making recommendations that would differentiate the modifications for the penny and nickel coins. As with the penny, Option 1 for the nickel would provide the date range of “1776–2026,” Option 2 would add the Liberty Bell privy mark, and Option 3 would add both elements, presented in just one configuration for the nickel.

For the Lincoln penny, Mr. McCrery recommended Option 1, which includes only the commemorative date range. He observed that the word “Liberty” is already an important feature of the obverse composition, while the Liberty Bell privy mark would be more associated with the Colonial era than with Lincoln’s presidency. He added that the “250” text within the privy mark would be redundant with the anniversary conveyed by the date range of 1776–2026. Mr. Cook agreed, noting that the privy mark with the “250” text would be especially illegible when considered at the small scall of the actual coin. Mr. Moore supported this recommendation.

For the Jefferson nickel, Mr. Cook asked about the existing obverse’s rendering of the word “Liberty” in cursive lettering; Ms. Stafford confirmed that Jefferson’s handwriting is depicted. Mr. Cook commented that Option 3, with both the date range and the privy mark, would be too busy within a small area of the coin’s obverse. Mr. McCrery observed that the coin’s “P” marking indicates that the nickels would be produced at the Philadelphia Mint, perhaps justifying the inclusion of the Liberty Bell; Ms. Stafford clarified that these coins will also be produced at the Denver Mint. Mr. Moore acknowledged the potential desirability of differentiating the commemorative elements on the penny and nickel, but he said the simple inclusion of the “1776–2026” date range would be the most straightforward solution for the nickel. He added that the different treatments of the word “Liberty,” with block lettering on the penny and handwritten cursive lettering on the nickel, already provide a distinction between the two coins. Mr. McCrery expressed strong support for these comments.

Upon a motion by Mr. McCrery with second by Mr. Cook, the Commission recommended Option 1 for both coins, subject to confirmation by a quorum.

2. CFA 15/FEB/24-9 2025 American Innovation One Dollar Coin Program, Designs for the ninth set of coins: Florida and Texas. Final. (Previous: CFA 16/NOV/23-10, Arkansas and Michigan)

Secretary Luebke introduced the design alternatives for two coins in the American Innovation series, which honors innovation and innovators from each of the states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. The series began with an introductory coin in 2018 and will continue through 2032, with four coins issued per year. Today’s submission is for the Florida and Texas coins; designs for the two other coins to be issued in 2025 were reviewed in November 2023. The designs are only for the reverse; the continuing obverse for the series is an adaptation of the iconic Statue of Liberty design that has been used on the reverse of the series of presidential one-dollar coins. He noted that the American Innovation coins are non-circulating; they will be available for sale. He asked April Stafford, chief of the Mint’s Office of Design Management, to present the design alternatives.

Ms. Stafford said that a single theme has been developed for the Florida coin: the space shuttle program, which had its first launch from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center in 1981. She presented nine alternative designs for the reverse, noting that the Mint’s liaison from the Florida governor’s office has not identified a preferred design but has requested that alternative #8 not be selected.

Mr. McCrery offered support for alternatives #2 and #9 as inspiring designs; these depict the shuttle during a launch, which he said would be preferable to depicting it in space. He said that alternative #9 is especially compelling because the word “Florida”—identifying the location of the launch—is located directly beneath the thrusting rocket engines. He agreed with the liaison’s request that alternative #8 not be selected.

Mr. Cook suggested eliminating alternatives #4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 from consideration, and he supported Mr. McCrery’s preference for alternative #9. He said that alternative #2 has merit, but the rocket is shown moving away from the viewer, which diminishes its importance.

Mr. Moore agreed that alternative #2 suggests leaving Florida, and he joined in supporting alternative #9. He also expressed support for the NASA-inspired font for the inscriptions in alternative #9, noting that a beloved font is a rare thing. He questioned the depiction of the stars in the background sky of alternative #9, commenting that they have an odd appearance; he suggested further refinement of their scale and proportions. He summarized the consensus to support alternative #9 for the Florida coin.

Ms. Stafford said that the single theme for the Texas coin is the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, which has provided the economic, logistical, and intellectual support for the manned flight program. She presented nine alternative designs for the reverse, noting that the Mint’s liaison from the Texas governor’s office has not identified a preferred design.

The Commission members asked for more information about alternatives #2 and #2A. Ms. Stafford said both designs depict an astronaut floating inside the International Space Station in front of the spacecraft’s windowed hexagonal cupola; alternative #2 shows the Moon through the central window. The designs are intended to convey the work of the Mission Control Center.

Mr. Cook commented that the Mission Control Center is a fascinating part of American history that captures people’s imagination. Acknowledging the difficulty of conveying this quality on a coin, he said the presented designs are not successful in meeting the challenge. He observed that alternative #1, depicting several people at work within the Mission Control Center, has the appearance of “a bunch of guys sitting around drinking coffee,” and alternatives #4, #4A, and #4B simply show a computer screen; Mr. McCrery agreed with these observations. Mr. Cook said that alternative #3, illustrating an astronaut floating in front of a spacecraft, is the only alternative that begins to convey the excitement of the Mission Control Center. He said that alternatives #2 and #2A are interesting compositionally, but additional explanation would be required for people to understand the setting; Mr. McCrery and Mr. Moore agreed.

Mr. McCrery said that alternative #3 is the only powerful design among the presented alternatives, but it does not depict anything in Texas. He observed that alternatives #1 and #6 show people working inside the Mission Control Center; however, alternative #1 is unacceptable, and alternative #6 shows only a single worker, failing to convey the collaboration among dozens of people doing critical work.

Mr. Moore agreed that the submission is problematic. He said that alternative #6 comes closest to conveying the importance of the theme, which is about space exploration rather than computers; the two parts of the composition illustrate the interior of the Mission Control Center and a view of a spacecraft. He supported Mr. McCrery’s comment that the design should convey the collective effort of the Mission Control Center; this could be achieved by adding more people to alternative #6, perhaps showing the diversity of people who worked there. He discouraged pursuing the other designs, commenting that the depiction of an astronaut, such as in alternative #3, highlighting someone in space who is dependent on the Mission Control Center rather than the actual activity on the ground.

Mr. Moore said that alternative #6 could be developed into a successful solution, and he suggested that a revised design be submitted to the Commission for review. To provide better inspiration for an interior scene, Mr. Cook suggested searching for an iconic photograph of a moment of celebration at the Mission Control Center, which may convey a sense of the excitement and pride when something special happens. Mr. McCrery acknowledged the challenge of conveying this at the scale of a coin; he agreed that the Commission should have the opportunity to review a follow-up submission that includes a revised version of alternative #6 as well as a new design idea. The other Commission members supported this recommendation. Mr. Moore added that the NASA-inspired font on some of the alternatives would be a desirable feature to retain in the new designs; Mr. Cook supported the use of this font, as with the Florida coin.

Mr. Moore summarized the consensus to recommend alternative #9 for the Florida coin and the request for a follow-up submission for the Texas coin, with the comments provided. Upon a motion by Mr. McCrery with second by Mr. Cook, the Commission adopted these recommendations, subject to confirmation by a quorum.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 1:14 p.m.

Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA