Minutes for CFA Meeting — 18 April 2024

The meeting was convened by videoconference at 9:00 a.m.

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

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

(Due to the absence of Chair Billie Tsien, Vice Chair Edwards presided at the meeting.)


A. Approval of the minutes of the 21 March 2024 meeting. Secretary Luebkereported that the minutes of the March meeting were circulated to the Commission members in advance. Upon a motion by Mr. Cook with second by Mr. Moore, the Commission approved the March minutes. Mr. Luebke said the document will be available on the Commission’s website.

B. Dates of next meetings. Secretary Luebke presented the dates for upcomingCommission meetings, as previously published: 16 May, 20 June, and 18 July 2024.

Secretary Luebke congratulated Mr. Moore on his election as a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He noted that Dr. Edwards joined Mr. Moore at the recent fellowship induction ceremony in Minneapolis.


A. Appendices. Secretary Luebke introduced the three appendices for Commissionaction. Drafts of the appendices had been circulated to the Commission members in advance of the meeting.

Appendix I – Government Submissions Consent Calendar: Mr. Fox said the appendix includes eight cases, along with the reporting of two actions that were previously delegated to the staff. He noted that the only change to the draft consent calendar is to add the recent date for one of the delegated actions. Upon a motion by Mr. Moore with second by Mr. Cook, the Commission approved the revised Government Submissions Consent Calendar.

Appendix II – Shipstead-Luce Act Submissions: Ms. Lee said the appendix has fourteen projects. One case listed on the draft appendix (case number SL 24-097) has been removed and is being held open for consideration in a future month. The recommendations for two cases (SL 24-101 and 24-105) have been changed to be favorable based on design revisions. Other changes to the draft appendix are limited to minor wording changes and the notation of dates for the receipt of supplemental materials. The recommendation for one project is subject to further coordination with the applicant, and she requested authorization to finalize this recommendation when the outstanding issues are resolved. Upon a motion by Mr. Moore with second by Mr. Cook, the Commission approved the revised Shipstead-Luce Act Appendix. (See agenda item II.D for an additional Shipstead-Luce Act submission.)

Appendix III – Old Georgetown Act Submissions: Ms. Bogard reported that no changes have been made to the draft appendix, which includes 34 projects. Upon a motion by Mr. Moore with second by Mr. Cook, the Commission approved the Old Georgetown Act Appendix. (See agenda item II.D for an additional Old Georgetown Act submission.).

At this point, the Commission considered the Shipstead-Luce Act submission listed with agenda item II.D. Secretary Luebke said that the Commission had identified this submission as one that could be approved without a presentation.

D. D.C. Department of Buildings

Shipstead-Luce Act

SL 24-106, 6809 16th Street, NW, Former Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Construction of 37 new townhouses. Concept. (Previous: SL 24-075, February 2024) Secretary Luebke said this second concept submission responds to the Commission’s comments from the previous review in February 2024. He said the Commission may wish to delegate further review to the staff to address the remaining minor design issues for this group of townhouses, such as balconies, railings, and rear projections. Upon a motion by Mr. Moore with second by Mr. Cook, the Commission approved the concept submission and delegated further review to the staff.

The Commission returned to the order of the agenda with item II.B.

B. Smithsonian Institution

CFA 18/APR/24-1, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, 600 Independence Avenue, SW. Construction of a new building addition and landscape for the Bezos Learning Center. Concept. (Previous: CFA 17/MAR/22-2) Secretary Luebke introduced the concept proposal for the Bezos Learning Center (BLC), a new building addition and landscape to be located on the east side of the National Air and Space Museum (NASM). The museum was designed by Gyo Obata of Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum; it opened in 1976 to present the Smithsonian’s collection of artifacts documenting the history of flight and space travel. He noted that NASM is a contributing element to the National Mall Historic District and is individually eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mr. Luebke said the BLC would house a new center for science and learning, along with a restaurant and an astronomy park. The addition would replace the now-demolished glassy pyramidal form of the food court addition, also designed by Gyo Obata and completed in 1988. In March 2022, the Commission heard an information presentation about the BLC project; its advice encouraged the development of a visionary, innovative design approach for the BLC’s architecture and landscape.

Mr. Luebke said the Smithsonian has returned with a proposal for a three-story pavilion at the east end of the NASM building, similarly sited but much larger than the former food court addition. At its west end the BLC would be connected to the museum, and at the east end it would open to a dramatic observation deck, with expansive views of the National Mall. A new astronomy park is proposed for the southeast corner of the site, consisting of several outdoor telescopes and a small observatory building. The below-grade loading dock for the museum would remain unchanged.

Mr. Luebke described the BLC pavilion as a dynamic, curving mass derived from the form of a spiral galaxy, a clear reference to the theme of the museum. The pavilion would be composed of two nested spiraling forms, one glass and the other more solid, which would feature dynamic sloping geometries and articulated cladding systems. The larger form on the outside would contain most of the program spaces. The inner form would provide circulation within a curving three-story concourse wrapped with a sloping curtainwall; the curtainwall would define the inner court and provide views into the pavilion and outward to the courtyard and the Mall beyond. He said the preferred option for the landscape would extend this dynamic spirit and form outward to the site perimeter. He asked Ron Cortez, undersecretary for administration at the Smithsonian, to begin the presentation.

Mr. Cortez said the learning center was envisioned in the 2013 NASM master plan. The project would complement the major revitalization of the main museum building, approved by the Commission and now in its second phase of construction; the west portion of the museum and site reopened in 2022. He noted that at the previous information presentation on the BLC, the Commission had urged the development of an expressive, figural structure to provide a contrast to the existing museum building, taking a visionary rather than a timid design approach; he believes the proposed design meets these criteria.

Mr. Cortez said the BLC would feature programs and activities that inspire students to pursue innovation and to explore careers in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics; it would also help teachers make better use of the Smithsonian collections. While focusing on the work of NASM, the BLC would connect to all the Smithsonian museums, with particular engagement in under-resourced communities in Washington and across the nation through virtual as well as in-person learning. The 600-seat restaurant would be accessible from the museum’s main level; an adjoining 100- to 120-seat dining space with a separate entrance would be available for scheduled school groups. The astronomy park would provide outdoor educational programming space and a permanent location for the observatory.

Mr. Cortez said construction of the BLC is planned to begin in 2025, with completion following the 2026 reopening of the eastern part of the NASM building. He thanked the Commission and its staff for their continued contribution to the projects through the consultation process. To present the design, he introduced architects Zena Howard and Bryan Schabel of Perkins & Will, along with Elizabeth Kennedy of Elizabeth Kennedy Landscape Architect.

Ms. Howard said the design approach to the BLC began with an analysis of the context and development of a contextual framework to guide and test the design. She presented a 2007 aerial view of the Mall looking west from the U.S. Capitol, indicating the BLC site east of the NASM building and west of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). She also noted the broad vista of Maryland Avenue along the site’s south side. She said the buildable site area is defined on both the north and south sides by the facade alignments of the NASM building, which on the north is located on the 445-foot setback line from the Mall’s centerline as prescribed by the McMillan Plan. The Mall framework established by the McMillan Plan features a formal symmetry of buildings on either side of the Mall between the Capitol and the Washington Monument. In 1976, Obata’s design for NASM was aligned with and reflected the footprint of the West Building of the National Gallery of Art; she described the two buildings as fitting together like two pieces of a puzzle. The BLC site is situated directly across the Mall from I.M. Pei’s cascading waterfall and entry plaza at the eastern end of the West Building, establishing a language of reciprocal open space and building mass fronting the Mall.

Ms. Howard described the area south of the BLC site as a more urban environment. She said the site forms a connection between the two major public grounds of the Mall to the north and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial to the south, creating the opportunity for the BLC to provide spectacular views of and access to both. The BLC would have exterior programming along the site edges, and the adjacency of public programs to the Mall and the Eisenhower Memorial would facilitate a strong connection between them. The site’s eastern edge would reflect the 30-foot setback from the 4th street corridor that was established by the NMAI to the east; she summarized that the site is framed on the east and west respectively by the two large structures of the NMAI and NASM. The vertical constraint for the BLC is the height of the NASM building, with the intent that the addition would be perceived as subordinate to the museum.

Mr. Schabel presented the proposed concept, explaining that the spiral essence of the design recalls the form of a spiral galaxy; he noted that two-thirds of all known galaxies in the universe are spiral galaxies. He said the spiral shape governs both the architectural and the landscape expression of the BLC, as well as the interior circulation, and the spiral form reinforces the mission of the BLC to explore and understand the universe. He said the addition would continue the mission of the museum, with the idea of flight and space exploration extending from the existing building into the BLC.

Mr. Schabel said the addition’s mass would relate to the rhythm of the existing museum’s base, creating an exterior space that opens toward the Mall and engages the public. At its core would be a spiral “learning courtyard” surrounded by two curving elements, composed of the primary concourse and then the building’s various program elements. Similar to the restaurant that formerly occupied the site, the BLC would be treated as a pavilion set within the landscape as an expressive counterpoint to the mass and solidity of the museum.

Ms. Kennedy described the historical context of the landscape design. The original 1972 plan by Obata featured a rigorously orthogonal relationship of landscape terraces and steps that embraced the museum’s form, expanding to the east and west into more open landscapes within the historic precinct of the Mall. The east garden was underused as a museum space until the construction of the cafeteria addition set within a more diverse garden area; this arrangement established the precedent for the treatment of the proposed BLC landscape, informing its relationship to the Mall and the Eisenhower Memorial. She said the more recent NASM revitalization plan shows how the original Obata site design was reinterpreted to provide barrier-free access and circulation around the site and opening it more to the Mall and the memorial; the BLC would introduce a dynamic that has a complementary relationship to the Obata plan.

Ms. Kennedy presented diagrams to illustrate how the spiral galaxy shape informs the approach to the building and the organization of the learning courtyard and the astronomy park. She said the landscape design extends the programmatic and aesthetic concept of the BLC outward to Jefferson Drive and Independence Avenue, and the pedestrian circulation within the site would also bring the landscape into the center of the BLC through the device of the spiral. In addition to the concepts of the spiral and the pavilion within a landscape, the site design also expands on the idea of the national landscape outside of U.S. cities, where dark skies enable people to see into space; she cited the observatories along the historic Route 66. She said the NASM revitalization plan by landscape designer Patrick Cullina has established a plant palette that expresses various aspects of the theme of space exploration and understanding. The landscape design would build upon this palette to explore horticulture as it relates to the idea of space and aeronautic exploration. Mr. Schabel described how the landscape and architecture of the BLC and NASM would work together. Like the landscape at the west end of the museum, the addition’s landscape would vary from the rigidity of the landscapes on the museum’s north and south sides; the spiral form would introduce dynamism.

Mr. Schabel presented the vertical stacking of program elements at the BLC. The project would be built on the existing basement, which includes the loading dock and back-of-house spaces for the kitchen, as well as the entrance ramp to the parking garage. The center’s ground level would include the dining area for museum visitors and two new entrances—one on the north facing Jefferson Drive, and another to the south near the bus drop-off area on Independence Avenue. Both entrances would be subordinate to the more public museum entrances, and the BLC would not serve as an entrance to the NASM building. The second level would be the heart of the center’s program, with a double-height space that would provide a large gathering area for students. This would face a large window overlooking the Mall through the glazed concourse, and it would be flanked by break rooms with views to the Eisenhower Memorial. Administration spaces on the third level would overlook the convening space, creating a strong relationship between staff and students. At the northeast end of the third floor, a covered outdoor terrace for special events would extend toward the Mall, providing views to the Mall’s monuments. The roof design would be based on the diagram of the spiral, accentuating the building’s main components. Mechanical equipment would be sunk into a well on the roof to the floor below, remaining invisible from the street to avoid having the roofscape dominate views of the facade.

Mr. Schabel presented a section showing the relationship of the building’s components. The triple-height concourse would be a north-facing space defining the learning courtyard, enlivening the experience of NASM visitors walking to the dining area and of BLC students entering from the north and walking to the second floor. The double-height convening area would be adjacent to the concourse. A spiraling ramp would lead from Jefferson Avenue into the courtyard; below the special event terrace, a partially covered terrace would be set above the entrances to the loading dock and parking, providing another flexible program space.

Mr. Schabel described how the BLC is also being designed for nighttime use. The concourse’s glass facade would allow visibility of after-school activities; the stone east facade of the museum, visible from the BLC’s interior, courtyard, and terrace, would provide a surface for the projection of films and videos, extending the experience of learning outside.

Mr. Schabel said the proposed materials have a strong horizontal gesture intended to accentuate the idea of movement. A curved metal facade is proposed to enclose the building’s primary programs; a series of curving, tapered fins projecting from the facade would create varied shadows on its surface to suggest movement and directionality. The fins would be eight inches at their deepest point, tapering down to a minimal dimension. At night, these fins would be lit from within the joints and from below; their tapered dimensions and their shadows would reinforce the sense of directionality, as more surface would be lit where the dimension is deeper. He presented a detail of the facade, showing the substantial metal rain-screen system and the uplit tapered fins.

Mr. Schabel said the astronomy park would be located on the southern side of the site, and it would allow clear views of the southern sky during both day and night. This area would be the permanent location of the observatory structure, which would be integrated into the landscape to anchor the corner. He concluded by presenting a view of the BLC from the Eisenhower Memorial, emphasizing that the center would not compete with the scale of the museum.

Mr. Luebke summarized a letter to the Commission from the Committee of 100 on the Federal City, sent by John Edwards of its planning subcommittee. He said the Committee of 100 is generally supportive of the project and has some detailed comments and recommendations. Regarding the overall building configuration, the Committee members support making the BLC slightly shorter but observe that it seems to have lost the dynamism of how it meets the sky that was present in earlier concepts; the current profile of the roofline appears flat and inconsistent with the spiral’s dynamic form. They note that the presentation shows alternatives in which the glazing of the circulation spine slopes up either toward the Mall or to the museum; recognizing the slight slope of the main building mass upward to the Mall, they suggest sloping the circulation spine in the opposite direction back to the museum to recapture some of this dynamism and allow the two masses to work off each other. The letter also describes the viewing terrace and potential projection onto the blank museum wall as an intriguing feature.

Mr. Luebke said the Committee of 100 finds no appreciable adverse effect on historic viewsheds. However, they comment that the connection to the NASM building from Independence Avenue needs more study; they express a preference for pushing back the physical connection toward the museum’s glazed wall to give a less awkward juxtaposition. From a practical and security perspective, reducing a narrow void by extending the connection toward Independence Avenue may make sense; however, they describe this as a weaker solution that looks like an afterthought, and they suggest developing another solution. The letter comments that the spiral configuration of ramps and landscape is well integrated with the overall spiral concept and is far superior to the orthogonal option. The Committee also supports the integration of the landscape in the courtyard.

Mr. Luebke said the Committee supports the overall facade treatment and the choice of metal for a building of this curving form; they suggest consideration of harmonizing the color of the metal skin with the NASM building’s masonry cladding. They encourage more study of linear integrated lighting so that it is not too literal; and they support the simpler, more sophisticated alternative of tapered fins, which would probably age better and add an interesting texture and profile, even without integrated lighting. While acknowledging the motivation for the large zig-zag of the glazed penetration in the main drum to give a sense of movement, they find it much too literal, somewhat arbitrary, and probably excessive in relation to the dynamic forms of the building and landscape as well as the proposed treatment of the facade and panels. The letter comments that the style may age not well; it seems forced and out of character with the elegance of the rest of the composition, which already succeeds in conveying a sense of movement architectonically without the need to be so literal.

Vice Chair Edwards invited questions and comments from the Commission members. Ms. Delplace commended the design team for a very nice design whose powerful gesture speaks to the idea of the spiral galaxy. Observing that the site is located on a difficult corner in what can be a difficult city to build in, she said this design would resolve a very tough transition and create an accessible and gracious form. She observed that the perspective views suggest a sculpted quality for the landscape, and she asked if those sculpted forms are present in this design. Ms. Kennedy responded that the landscape plan includes a strong line of trees to resolve this sculpted form, and mounding would be used to create the forms of the spiral; she added that the project team is studying how this can be done. Ms. Delplace commented that when people think of space, it is often understood one-dimensionally, as in a photograph. However, she said she thinks of the gaseous elements of a spiral galaxy as having a volume, and she suggested designing a strong gesture that would create a volume in the landscape.

Ms. Delplace observed that the allée of street trees along Jefferson Drive creates a linear datum, and the proposed spiral form in the landscape would be a very powerful gesture that could almost punctuate the rigidity of this datum, pushing out into the monumental space of the Mall. However, she expressed concern that the proposed ornamental flowering trees composing this spiral form would not be strong enough to compete with the allée. She suggested looking at this issue more closely, commenting that using larger trees instead would be more powerful by creating the effect of almost moving through a tunnel or passage into this space.

Mr. Cook asked whether the event terrace is intended to be used primarily for programming or for parties, and what the visual impact of its use would be on the Mall. He commented that the Mall is a very sensitive landscape and advised ensuring that the activities on the event terrace would not be disruptive to the Mall. Ms. Howard responded that the event terrace is proposed to support the activities of the center; NASM and the Smithsonian Institution have been clear that the terrace would be a space for educators and students. She added that while special events would probably be held on the terrace, it is not meant to be accessible to the public or available to be rented for public events, such as weddings; its programming would be entirely centered around the BLC mission.

Mr. Cook asked if the skylight above the event terrace is intended to be co-planar with the roof or to protrude above; Mr. Schabel said the intent is for the skylight to have a low profile, which he described as flat but not necessarily flush with the roof. He said the skylight is intended as a window to the sky, celebrating the idea of the sky during events on the terrace. Mr. Cook expressed support while noting the challenge it poses, and he said he would be concerned if the profile becomes more prominent.

Mr. Cook asked about the interior planning for the BLC and the dining room, which would be used by many people. He questioned whether the stairway next to the curtainwall would be wide enough to handle the expected number of people ascending to the BLC’s second level, and if the stairway’s width would affect the curtainwall facing the learning courtyard or reduce the size of the courtyard. He also asked whether the three small restrooms shown on the floorplans would be sufficient for the expected number of visitors. Mr. Schabel responded that the stairway would be six feet wide, which should be sufficient because the upper levels would be reserved for NASM and BLC activities. He added that the stairway would not affect the size of the learning courtyard. He acknowledged that the three restrooms appear small on the floorplans, but he noted that restrooms within the existing museum would also be available to support the center’s dining area; some of these are located near the entrance, and others are farther down the museum concourse.

Mr. Cook asked if the weathering of the metal panels would result in the accumulation of grime. Mr. Schabel responded that the proposed rainscreen system would not have any sealant at the perimeter, avoiding a condition that sometimes leads to weathering problems; he said this detailing will be carefully studied.

Mr. Cook asked about the appearance of the new egress stairs within the addition and how exiting would be accommodated from the existing egress stairs on the east side of the NASM building. Mr. Schabel responded that the addition’s glazed stairwells would be lit at night and thus quite visible, and the intent is to keep their design simple; one of the stairwells would be emphasized by a notch in the exterior rainscreen to accentuate the vertical circulation, while the other stairwells would not be emphasized. He said the existing southern egress within the NASM east facade is adjacent to the proposed school entrance; the proposal is to have it discharge internally into the new lobby at this entrance. Mr. Cook observed that this lobby is set behind a slot-like exterior space, as seen on the first-level plan. He asked about the scale of this slot, commenting that it appears to be an uncomfortable space where leaves and debris would accumulate. Mr. Schabel responded that this slot has been carefully discussed by the project team, which had considered whether it could be a deeper slot to reduce or eliminate the addition’s overlap with the exterior stone of the NASM building. As proposed, the narrowest exterior space is approximately six to seven feet wide and eight feet deep, which has been reduced as much as possible to avoid the accumulation of leaves. Exit doors would lead directly into this space; the entrance doors to the east would be set slightly forward to give them greater prominence, a configuration that is intended to reduce the slot-like appearance. He summarized that the scale of the design now feels right, and some earlier conditions of concern have now been resolved. He added that light would come down through a skylight and create a compatible interaction between the museum and the BLC, from both the inside and the outside. Mr. Cook acknowledged the challenge of attaching a new addition to an existing structure having a very different design character, and he said the design seems to be heading in the right direction; however, he suggested thinking further about whether this is the appropriate solution. Mr. Moore commented that the small observatory building would occupy a prominent location at the southeast corner of the site. While acknowledging that it would be a utilitarian building intended for teaching and education, he recommended studying its material, detailing, and architectural elements with great care. He also recommended close attention to the integration of the observatory with the landscape. He suggested developing the retaining walls and plantings to create a special moment, allowing visitors to feel connected both with the enormity of space and the tactile experience of small details, opportunities that are not necessarily offered at the museum building. He emphasized that the observatory offers a place to push the design in different ways.

Mr. Moore commended the broader landscape plan, observing that it is rare to see such care and attention given to the experience of moving through a landscape in a way that is exceptionally equitable for barrier-free access. He said the primary circulation design would allow everyone to have the same experience and would make diagrammatic concept of the spiral galaxy serve a greater purpose. He said this project provides welcome evidence for the “curb-cut effect” described by Angela Glover Blackwell—the idea that an event or modification to serve one group can also provide a benefit for a much broader group.

Mr. Moore observed that only some renderings of the learning courtyard depict trees, and he asked if shadow studies have been developed. He advised careful consideration of shade during different seasons to ensure the long-term usability and comfort of this space during a time of increasing heat. He also suggested further study of seat walls, commenting that the provision and careful location of seating in addition to shade would make this space as inclusive and comfortable as possible. He added that having this kind of space available on the Mall would be a welcome change.

Mr. Moore said he also appreciates the forward thinking evident in the proposed placement of mechanical equipment in an upper-level well to avoid creating a challenging condition on the roof. However, he recommended thinking about how equipment needs may change over time. He said that while the proposal seems to work at the currently envisioned scale, projects can change during the design process; he suggested careful consideration of whether the equipment well may require adjustments, such as increasing the parapet height which may in turn affect the building’s proportions. However, he emphasized his overall response that the proposal is very well resolved.

Vice Chair Edwards thanked the design team for its very clear presentation, noting that her academic department at Howard University encourages its architecture students to have this sense of clarity in their own work. She expressed support for the comprehensiveness and detail shown in the renderings and plans, which have made it easy to understand the proposed project. She expressed appreciation for how the parti has been articulated into the building form of the BLC, and she said the new building addition will be a great example and inspiration to students in the sciences and architecture.

Mr. Moore offered a motion to approve the concept design with the comments provided. Upon a second by Mr. Cook, the Commission adopted this action.

C. D.C. Department of General Services

CFA 18/APR/24-2, Leckie Education Campus, 4201 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SW. Construction of a new addition to existing school building. Concept. Secretary Luebke introduced the proposal for an addition to the existing school building at the Leckie Education Campus, submitted by the D.C. Department of General Services on behalf of the D.C. Public Schools. The existing school, opened in 1970, is a three-story building in a late International/early Brutalist Style, located on the southwest corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Chesapeake Street, SW. The two-story addition would connect to the existing school’s southern facade, providing six classrooms, a dining area, a science lab, security screening, circulation, and common areas; the new space would replace the existing temporary classroom trailers currently being used for the neighborhood’s middle school students.

Mr. Luebke said the addition’s architecture is intended to complement the existing school in materiality and form; a rounded stairwell tower would be a prominent feature. A glazed hyphen would connect the old and new structures and provide an entrance for the middle school students with minimal impact on the operation of the existing elementary school. The site design includes two new playgrounds as well as additional lawn and stormwater management areas. When the temporary classrooms are removed in a later phase, the asphalt lot where they are located would be restored for use as an outdoor play space for the school and neighborhood. He asked architect Ronnie McGhee of R. McGhee & Associates to present the design.

Mr. McGhee provided an overview of the school site and context. Adjacent to the west is Fort Greble Park, a National Park Service property containing a recreation field; to the north, south, and east is a residential neighborhood. The existing site has mature trees within lawn areas north and west of the school building, an outdoor classroom, temporary trailers for the middle school students located south of the building, and two existing playgrounds on the south; these playgrounds would be relocated to accommodate the proposed addition. He indicated the distinctive curved stair towers at the east and west ends of the existing building, as well as the addition to the north that contains the gymnasium, auditorium, and cafeteria.

Mr. McGhee said the first phase of the project would be site preparation, including relocation of the playgrounds; the second phase would be construction of the two-story, 17,200-square-foot addition; and the third phase would be removal of the temporary classrooms, reconfiguration of the parking, and construction of a new playground for the younger students. The design goals include establishing a visual connection to the community, allowing for better visual and physical connections to the playfield and natural areas in Fort Greble Park, and providing flexibility for future growth; he noted that the D.C. Public Schools is planning a whole-school modernization in the next five years.

Mr. McGhee said the existing school building is not listed as an historic structure but is eligible to be listed; the guidance from the D.C. Historic Preservation Office is that any addition should only minimally impact the existing school. He said both levels of the proposed addition would be directly connected to the existing building through a new glazed, skylit lobby that would allow for visibility of the existing building’s facade. He added that the location of the connection has been selected to minimize the disruption of the existing school’s floorplan.

Mr. McGhee described the proposed exterior, which is intended to relate to the existing school’s style by using the same materials and forms. The exterior would be GFRC panels and brick with horizontal bands of precast stone, and the new curved stair tower at the south end of the addition would echo the stair towers of the existing school. The second-story cafeteria would be strongly expressed as a horizontal rectangular form within the addition’s primary facade on the east. A green roof is proposed, and the design’s energy efficiency would support future compliance with the goal of net-zero energy consumption for the modernized school.

Mr. McGhee described the internal layout as efficient, benefitting from the circulation elements of the existing school building to meet the requirements for elevator access and an alternative egress stair instead of replicating these in the addition. The addition’s new east-facing entrance and cafeteria would be used for the middle school students; the elementary school students would continue to use the existing school’s entrance and cafeteria to the north.

Mr. McGhee concluded by presenting the project’s site improvements: several new pathways, including an entrance walk to the addition; three new age-specific playgrounds; temporarily relocated raised garden beds; reusing the paved area under the temporary classroom for recreation space; and relocating some of the parking along Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue. He noted that the school community wants to maintain the outdoor learning kitchen, which is located southwest of the school. He said the proposed pathways will allow for greater access to the site for the students and community, including access to the new playgrounds and to Fort Greble on the west.

Vice Chair Edwards invited questions and comments from the Commission members. Mr. Cook complimented the design team for the project’s rigorous planning. Observing that the existing building has a sense of simplicity, he said the modestly sized new addition should be refined by making it less complex. He suggested consideration of simplifying the design by reducing the number of exterior materials, commenting that the horizontal banding does not seem to be necessary. He said the plan should have fewer exterior projections to make it more similar to the predominantly rectangular volume of the existing building. As an example, the science laboratory’s exterior walls would not be coplanar with the adjacent facades; he suggested bringing these planes into alignment.

Ms. Delplace requested clarification of the intended design for the paved area that is now occupied by temporary trailers; Mr. McGhee responded that the pavement will be retained and transformed into hardcourt play space for the students. Ms. Delplace questioned the additional parking being introduced south of the addition, observing that some of this parking would be near the new hardcourt space and playgrounds; she recommended screening of the parking area to provide a nicer play experience for the students. Mr. McGhee said the amount of parking is based on the anticipated future requirement for the modernized school.

Mr. Moore questioned whether the proposed access to the building is appropriately designed for all students. He commented that the exterior ramp at the addition’s southeast corner, wrapping around the new curved stair tower, seems to be located in a strange place that is distant from the new entrance for middle school students. He suggested that the design team explore other configurations to improve the experience for students of all abilities. Mr. McGhee responded that the ramp would be for emergency egress, and the design team continues to work with school officials to clarify the access routes for the different age groups, including access to the play areas.

Mr. Moore offered a motion to approve the concept design with the comments provided concerning simplification of the building’s form and materials, and with further review delegated to the Commission staff. Upon a second by Mr. Cook, the Commission adopted this action.

D. D.C. Department of Buildings

Shipstead-Luce Act

SL 24-106, 6809 16th Street, NW, Former Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Construction of 37 new townhouses. Concept. (Previous: SL 24-075) The Commission acted on the submission earlier in the meeting without a presentation, following agenda item II.A.

Old Georgetown Act

OG 23-257 / OG 23-258, 1000 & 1050 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW. Modifications and additions to two existing office buildings for mixed use. Concept. Secretary Luebke introduced the concept proposal to convert two commercial buildings at 1000 and 1050 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW, for mixed use and residential occupancy. The existing buildings, which were designed by Washington architect Vlastimil Koubek in the early 1980s, extend from near the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal National Historical Park on the north down to the Whitehurst Freeway and Georgetown waterfront on the south. To accommodate residential use, the floor plates of the existing office buildings would be narrowed with cutouts, and more floors would be added at the top. The topics considered during the six reviews by the Old Georgetown Board (OGB) included the buildings’ compatibility with the scale and character of the historic district, particularly as experienced from the Whitehurst Freeway, the C&O Canal, the waterfront, and the low-scale row houses on 31st Street to the west; the OGB considered how this compatibility could be achieved through height, massing, materiality, and color. He said the review process has resulted in a design that breaks down the scale of these large buildings through a series of setbacks and step-backs on the building facades. Overall, the proposal has sought to regularize the more subtle variations in the existing buildings to create a more uniform expression on most elevations. Mr. Luebke said the OGB recommended approval of the concept at its meeting on 4 April with the condition that the proposal return for review in the design development phase, which is typical for a project of this scale. He noted that the design being presented today is the culmination of the OGB review process during which the building height was incrementally decreased and the massing was altered to alleviate the apparent size and bulk. He said the OGB’s recommendation includes the selection of one massing option for each building from the two alternatives that were presented; these issues are detailed in the OGB report, which the Commission is being asked to consider adopting or amending. He asked Rich Jordan, the managing director for Potomac Investment Properties, to begin the presentation. Mr. Jordan introduced architect Robert Sponseller of Shalom Baranes Associates to present the design.

Mr. Sponseller presented several photographs of the existing buildings and context, indicating the Whitehurst Freeway, Georgetown Waterfront Park, and the Washington Harbour development to the south, and the Ritz-Carlton Residences and low row houses to the west. He presented more distant views of the buildings as seen from Key Bridge and Roosevelt Island. He said that because the buildings were constructed for office use and fully occupy their lots, a challenge of the design has been selecting which parts of the deep floor plates would be removed to provide sufficient daylight and how to sculpt the facades to create desirable residential units. Also considered early in the design process was the creation of a meaningful pedestrian connection between the long blocks of Thomas Jefferson and 31st Streets using the existing east⁠–west alley.

Mr. Sponseller said the existing buildings share an architectural language and approach, which he described as “International Style clad with brick.” He described some of the existing conditions that became important factors in developing the concept design, such as the southern building’s close proximity to the elevated Whitehurst Freeway and the narrow sidewalk and blank facades underneath the Freeway. The existing east⁠–west alley is partially covered by an arcade, with a ten-foot-wide space between the northern and southern buildings that he described as dimensionally tight; the proposal would widen the alley by removing some of the existing arcade, which would allow it to serve as a pedestrian amenity within the neighborhood.

Mr. Sponseller said the proposal incorporates the unique industrial history of the neighborhood, whose architectural character is often expressed through strong geometry, repetitive fenestration, and a general lack of compositional hierarchy. He presented images of the initial concept design and indicated the areas where the floorplates would be altered; all building levels would have some floor area removed, including at the ground floor. He said the proposed open spaces at the ground level drove the sculpting of the building facades in order to provide access to light and air. For example, the proposed step-back facade design for 1000 Thomas Jefferson results from the decision to create outdoor spaces at this building’s northeast and southwest corners.

Mr. Sponseller said each building would be redeveloped using a distinct architectural approach, which would help in responding to the specific contexts. The loading dock for 1050 Thomas Jefferson would be relocated to the ten-foot-wide north⁠–south alley, allowing for the creation of the plaza at the northeast corner of 1000 Thomas Jefferson. He also indicated the massing inflections of each building, noting the setbacks of 1000 Thomas Jefferson at its southeast corner and the stepping down of 1050 Thomas Jefferson on the north as it nears the C&O Canal. He said 1000 Thomas Jefferson would be set back an additional eight feet on 31st Street, and the proposed treatment of the southwest corner of 1000 Thomas Jefferson reflects a similar treatment at the Ritz-Carlton building across 31st Street to the west; the intent is to create a dialogue between them, to scale 1000 Thomas Jefferson to the new open space, and to open up the intersection of 31st and K Streets as one approaches the waterfront. He presented the proposed three-volume composition of 1050 Thomas Jefferson as seen along the street, noting the setbacks between the fifth and sixth stories and the mechanical penthouse above. He said the design team has moved the mechanical systems as close to the interior of the block as possible.

Mr. Sponseller presented several perspective views of the buildings, describing their architectural expression as a series of volumes that step in all three dimensions. He said the facade designs are generally smooth and geometric, consistent with the character of the neighborhood. To differentiate the two buildings, 1000 Thomas Jefferson would have deep, frame-like fenestration with a slightly horizontal orientation, while 1050 Thomas Jefferson would have a more planar facade with punched windows and a vertical orientation. The occupiable penthouse above the main roof would have a metal and glass facade system that would be set back approximately twelve feet from the parapet. At the alley between the two buildings, the existing arcade condition would be altered to present fewer obstacles for pedestrians; it would have less covered space for the first eighty to ninety feet of its length. He indicated the steps in the buildings’ massing and their impact on public space, and he presented views of how the building would appear from several areas within the historic district. He said the stepping of 1000 Thomas Jefferson makes it compatible in massing and scale with its context, and he noted that the mechanical penthouse would be located 65 feet back from the K Street property line. He presented the conceptual floor plans, noting that the residential entrances would be located toward the interior of the block to allow for more retail space around the edges.

Mr. Sponseller indicated the proposed three-volume composition of the long street frontage on the east side of 1050 Thomas Jefferson. The northernmost volume would be red masonry, similar to the narrower east frontage of 1000 Thomas Jefferson at the south end of the block, so that these two red volumes would have a “bookend” appearance framing the middle and southern volumes of 1050 Thomas Jefferson, which would be dark gray brick. He said the fenestration of 1050 Thomas Jefferson would feature corbeled openings oriented to provide sun shading as well as visual interest.

Mr. Sponseller presented the site design prepared by the landscape architecture firm Oehme, van Sweden. He indicated the six-foot rise in grade between K Street and the east–west alley. He described the concept for the east–west alley as being consistent with the treatment of other alleys in Georgetown, which often serve both vehicular and pedestrian circulation functions. In addition, the proposed material and planting palette would be consistent with the character of Georgetown. He added that the setback of 1000 Thomas Jefferson along K Street would enhance the pedestrian experience under the Whitehurst Freeway viaduct.

Vice Chair Edwards thanked the project team for its presentation and asked for clarification of the Commission’s process for considering the report provided by the Old Georgetown Board. Secretary Luebke said the Commission is being asked to adopt the OGB’s report or to provide additional comments and recommendations. He noted that the OGB has negotiated many revisions to the design over several months of review leading up to this month’s recommendation for approval of the concept.

Mr. Cook said the proposed exterior color for 1000 Thomas Jefferson appears very similar to the color of the nearby Ritz-Carlton Residences, and he advised differentiating the proposed color palette so it does not create the appearance of a single massive complex. Mr. Sponseller said he agrees, and the design team does not intend for the proposed masonry to match the color of the Ritz-Carlton. He acknowledged that the presented drawings do not accurately represent the proposed color palette.

Mr. Cook commented that the two-story pavilion-like volume at the southwest corner of 1000 Thomas Jefferson might benefit from further differentiation from the larger building volume, such as by using a different treatment for its base, but he is unsure if this would improve the design. Mr. Sponseller said several options were considered for the pavilion volume, such as by using a different cladding material, but the conclusion has been to propose the monolithic volume as presented. Mr. Cook said his instinct would be to provide a unique or distinct design treatment for an area where a main building volume has been eroded; however, it remains an open question for him.

Mr. Cook expressed support for the proposal to move the loading dock from the corner of 1050 Thomas Jefferson to the north⁠–south alley at the rear; however, he observed that loading and servicing traffic would still have to move through the east⁠–west alley alongside the proposed plaza. Mr. Sponseller said the loading dock for 1000 Thomas Jefferson, which will remain on K Street, will be much busier since that building would contain most of the proposed retail. He reiterated that shared-use alleys are common in Georgetown, such as at Cady’s Alley which is generally pedestrian oriented with low vehicular speeds. He said that managing loading and service traffic would be better than keeping the loading dock in its current location, and the proposed alley design provides distinct circulation for pedestrians and vehicles; however, this is an issue to which the design team is sensitive. He clarified for Mr. Cook that the maximum allowed truck length is thirty feet.

Vice Chair Edwards asked the Commission members if they would like to adopt the Old Georgetown Board’s report and recommendation of approval, with the Commission’s additional comments. Upon a motion by Mr. Cook with second by Mr. Moore, the Commission adopted this action. Secretary Luebke noted that the OGB’s recommendation included the condition that the project return for review at the design development phase.

E. U.S. Mint

Secretary Luebke noted that two submissions from the U.S. Mint were included with the Government Submissions Consent Calendar, approved by the Commission earlier in the meeting (agenda item II.A), in addition to the following four submissions being presented for discussion. The submissions placed on the Consent Calendar were strong designs that were submitted without a choice of alternatives.

Mr. Luebke also noted that the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) met earlier in the week to review the submissions; the preferences of the CCAC will be highlighted as part of the updated presentations.

1. CFA 18/APR/24-3, Congressional Gold Medal honoring Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley. Designs for a gold medal. Final. Secretary Luebke introduced the design alternatives for a Congressional Gold Medal honoring Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. Emmett Till was killed at age 14 in Mississippi in 1955; his murder became a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movements. Mamie Till-Mobley was instrumental in bringing Emmett's murder to the attention of the public, and she spent the following decades promoting a cultural program and pursuing justice in his honor; she died in 2003.

Mr. Luebke said the authorizing legislation calls for creating a single gold medal to be given to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which may display it in the museum or lend it elsewhere. The Mint is also authorized to sell bronze duplicates of the medal. He asked April Stafford, Chief of the Office of Design Management at the Mint, to present the design alternatives.

Ms. Stafford noted that the Mint has developed the designs for this medal in consultation with Dr. Sheila Chamberlain of the Emmett Till Justice Campaign; Dr. Chamberlain is also a member of Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley’s family. Ms. Stafford said the design for this medal will likely require further development, and she asked the Commission to assist by suggesting potential design adjustments or new imagery that the Mint should explore.

Ms. Stafford presented eight alternatives for the obverse design, noting that Dr. Chamberlain and the CCAC agree in supporting obverse #2 with mother and son embraced by a pair of wings. She said Dr. Chamberlain requested refining the portrait of Emmett Till to show him with a fuller face instead of the slightly younger appearance that is depicted, and including his middle name of Louis.

Ms. Stafford presented eight alternatives for the reverse design. She said Dr. Chamberlain’s preference is reverse #6, which depicts Mamie Till-Mobley’s hands framing Emmett’s casket, along with support for the concept of stacked books in reverse #4 but not its execution. The CCAC has identified reverse #3 portraying Mamie Till-Mobley mourning the loss of her son, who is shown in silhouette behind her, as an option that may deserve further exploration. However, Dr. Chamberlain’s response was that Mamie Till-Mobley “was not a crier, she was a fighter,” and the posture of seated mourning is therefore not appropriate; she supported exploring further refinement of this design with the artist. Ms. Stafford concluded by noting the CCAC’s suggestion to include the inscription “Act of Congress 2023” on either the obverse or reverse, in cooperation with the artists of the selected designs.

Vice Chair Edwards invited questions and comments from the Commission members. Mr. Moore said he agrees with the liaison and the CCAC in supporting obverse #2 as the most promising of the presented obverse alternatives. He also agreed that the portrait of Emmett Till in this alternative is not successful and should be revised; he emphasized the importance of accurately conveying Emmett Till’s well-known likeness, and he suggested closer study of the widely available photographs.

Mr. Moore expressed support for reverse #3 as a powerful way to communicate the loss of Emmett Till along with the abstract presentation of the phrase “Let the World See” on the right side of the composition. He agreed that the pose of Mamie Till-Mobley should be reconsidered in this design. He said that refinement of reverse #3 would be better than pursuing the other two reverse designs that were presented as preferences; the extensive changes described for reverse #4 would result in a very different design, and the image in reverse #6 of hands cradling a casket is unusual, with the casket itself being unrecognizable.

Mr. Moore concluded with a broader comment, for this medal and the Mint’s other submissions on the agenda, that the design alternatives should be more compelling and of higher quality.

Ms. Delplace said she agrees with the comments for obverse #2 and reverse #3. She said reverse #3 is a strong composition, but it needs further refinement. For example, she said the apparent intent is to depict Emmett’s hands touching his mother in a gesture of embrace or comfort, which could be conveyed by showing his hands resting on her shoulders, but his hands instead appear to be around her neck. She summarized that reverse #3 is a strong and simple image, but the subtleties of the design need to be studied closely. She added that the combination of obverse #2 and reverse #3 would be a good pairing if the imagery can be improved for both of these designs.

Mr. Cook expressed support for the comments provided; he said the medal’s subject is a powerful, moving story that must be conveyed with sensitivity and grace. He said that none of the presented designs inspires a sense that the story is being told correctly.

Vice Chair Edwards said she agrees with the comments of the other Commission members, and she summarized the consensus that the Commission does not want to approve any of the submitted designs. Secretary Luebke noted the Mint’s request for general guidance instead of a specific approval; he observed that the Commission’s comments align well with those of the CCAC and, to some extent, those of Dr. Chamberlain. Ms. Stafford confirmed that the Mint and Dr. Chamberlain have agreed to seek the advice of the Commission and the CCAC at this stage in order to develop a more refined set of design alternatives, which the Mint intends to submit for the Commission’s further review. The discussion concluded without a formal action.

2. CFA 18/APR/24-4, 2025 250th Anniversary of the United States Marine Corps Commemorative Coin Program. Designs for obverse and reverse for gold, silver, and clad coins. Final. Secretary Luebke introduced the design alternatives for a set of three coins commemorating the establishment of the U.S. Marine Corps. These non-circulating coins would be available for purchase from the Mint, and the designs include the standard required inscriptions for coinage. He asked April Stafford, Chief of the Office of Design Management at the Mint, to present the design alternatives.

Ms. Stafford said the designs have been developed in consultation with representatives of the U.S. Marine Corps Heritage Foundation; their preferences match those of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), which reviewed the designs earlier this week. She presented nine obverse and eight reverse designs for the gold coin; eighteen obverse and eleven reverse designs for the silver coin; and eight obverse and nine reverse designs for the clad coin. The preferences for the three obverses are alternative #G-O-09 for the gold coin; alternative #C-O-03 for the silver coin, originally developed as an obverse design for the clad coin; and alternative #S-O-05B for the clad coin, originally developed as an obverse design for the silver coin. For the reverse, the usual practice for a three-coin program is to select three different designs; however, the preference is for all three coins to use alternative #S-R-05, originally developed as a reverse design for the silver coin.

Ms. Stafford described several modifications to the preferred designs that have been requested by the U.S. Marine Corps Heritage Foundation representatives and the CCAC. Alternative #G-O-09 features a Marine Corps color guard; the request is to include a woman as part of the color guard. Alternative #C-O-03 depicts the flag-raising at Iwo Jima; the request is to include more detailing for the uniforms and equipment. She noted that alternative #S-R-05, as a common reverse, would be adjusted to include the different denomination for each of the three coins. She also noted that the presentation’s composite slide of preferences erroneously shows alternative #S-O-05 for the clad coin’s obverse, but the intended preference is alternative #S-O-05B, which is a simpler version of the composition that omits the background helicopter and ship, repositions the date range, and omits the hair bun from the Marine in the foreground.

Vice Chair Edwards invited questions and comments from the Commission members. Mr. Moore said he generally supports the presented preferences, and he expressed appreciation for the preference to use a single reverse design for all three coins; he suggested that this solution be considered for other multi-coin programs in the future. He observed that alternative #S-O-05B features a contrast of representative Marines from 1775 and 2025, each dressed in the uniform of the period; he asked if the details of the uniforms have been researched for accuracy. Ms. Stafford said this question was also raised by the CCAC, and the Mint has been pleased to work with the extensive staff of historians at the U.S. Marine Corps as well as the U.S. Marine Corps Heritage Foundation.

Mr. Moore noted that one of the suggested modifications is to include a woman in the Marine Corps color guard, and he asked why the opposite approach is preferred for alternative #S-O-05B, which removes the hair bun seen in #S-O-05 so that the foreground Marine would not be readily identifiable as a woman. Ms. Stafford said this question has been discussed with the representatives and with the CCAC; the intent is to select designs that would allow all Marines to feel represented. She added that this choice could still be reconsidered. Mr. Moore reiterated his support for the presented preferences and modifications.

Ms. Delplace suggested comparing the preferred alternative #C-O-03 with alternative #S-O-03A, which similarly depicts the flag-raising at Iwo Jima. Ms. Stafford said this image is used as a central element for many of the design alternatives, and the choice among them has been discussed extensively. One important issue that arose is the desirability of seeing the entirety of the American flag within the composition, which led to the preference for alternative #C-O-03. Ms. Delplace commented that alternative #S-O-03A nonetheless has the advantage of more space in the composition as well as an interesting balance between the text “United States Marine Corps” and the group of Marines; she said these subtle details can make a great coin. She also expressed frustration at the difficulty of making side-by-side comparisons of alternatives within the format of the presentation slides, hindering the ability of the Commission members to provide detailed design advice. She concluded that she agrees with Mr. Moore in supporting the presented preferences and modifications.

Ms. Stafford responded that the difficulty of the presentation format could potentially be addressed by grouping similar designs together for comparison. For example, the alternatives featuring the Iwo Jima flag-raising could have been presented together, and the numerous reverse designs featuring a shared motif of the eagle, globe, and anchor could similarly have been grouped for comparison. Another response could be to cull some of the alternatives that were not supported by the CCAC or other reviewers, resulting in a more streamlined presentation to the Commission. She added that the design alternatives for this Marine Corps program share many common elements, but some multi-coin programs have a stronger distinction between the design themes for the different coins. She said the Mint staff will give more consideration to the best presentation method for future submissions, and she acknowledged that the alternatives for the three-coin sets can be especially complicated to organize. She said her own presentation could also move through the designs more slowly, but she is mindful of the many other projects on the Commission meeting agenda. Ms. Delplace expressed appreciation for the consideration of the Commission’s schedule, and she said the suggested responses could address her concern with the presentation format.

Dr. Edwards provided an additional comment concerning alternative #S-O-05B, the preferred design for the clad coin’s obverse. This relatively simple composition places the inscription “1775–2025” above the “USMC” inscription, with the letter “C” partially obscured by the gun scope; she suggested repositioning these text inscriptions slightly higher to eliminate this overlap, resulting in a stronger composition.

Mr. Moore offered a motion to recommend the presented preferences—#G-O-09 for the gold obverse, #C-O-03 for the silver obverse, #S-O-05B for the clad obverse, and #S-R-05 for all three reverses—with the presented modifications and the additional comments provided by the Commission. Upon a second by Ms. Delplace, the Commission adopted this action. Mr. Cook abstained from the vote, citing his absence during some of the discussion.

3. CFA 18/APR/24-5, 2025 American Liberty 24K Gold Coin and Silver Medal. Designs for obverse and reverse. Final. (Previous: 17/FEB/22-3, for 2023) Secretary Luebke introduced the design alternatives for the 2025 issue of a gold coin and silver medal in the continuing American Liberty series, which presents contemporary interpretations of the concept of American Liberty. The Mint will produce these high-value coins and medals for sale to collectors and investors. In the submission, each alternative is illustrated with both the coin and medal format, which are nearly identical except for the additional inscriptions required for coins. He asked April Stafford, Chief of the Office of Design Management at the Mint, to present the design alternatives.

Ms. Stafford noted that the submission includes a large number of alternatives, which results from the recently expanded membership of the Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program. The addition of approximately two dozen new artists has broadened the range of “artistic voices” available to the Mint, with the goal of developing design alternatives that better represent the nation. She said the American Liberty program’s themes—a representation of the concept of liberty on the obverse and the American eagle on the reverse—provide a good opportunity to apply the talents of these artists. She added that the Mint hopes the Commission will be able to recommend a specific obverse and reverse that the Mint can forward to the Secretary of the Treasury for approval.

Ms. Stafford presented 28 alternatives for the obverse and 22 alternatives for the reverse. She said that typically, the gold coin and silver medal for each biennial issue in this series have identical designs, other than the additional inscriptions for the coin; the intent is that collectors of the less costly silver medal will be acquiring the same design that is used for the much more expensive gold coin. However, in its meeting earlier this week, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) recommended differing obverse designs for the coin and medal—obverse #12 for the gold coin, and obverse #02 for the silver medal—along with reverse #12A for both the coin and medal. She said the same artist designed reverse #12A and obverse #12, which features a sunflower and a bee. She described obverse #02 as a stylized reimagining of the Statue of Liberty in a street art or graffiti style; the CCAC said a new reverse could be developed to pair with obverse #02 if the Mint’s production schedule allows, but the CCAC did not support the artist’s intended pairing with reverse #02. The CCAC also suggested that obverse #12 could be used with reverse #12A for both the coin and medal if the Mint prefers not to use separate obverse designs. In addition, the CCAC expressed strong interest in obverse #22, featuring a woman carrying an American flag and leading a young girl carrying a torch; the CCAC recommended developing this concept for the forthcoming redesign of the circulating half-dollar coin, which in 2026 will have the theme of looking ahead to the nation’s next 250 years, possibly using an intergenerational motif. She said the Mint intends to submit the half-dollar redesign for the Commission’s review in the coming months.

Vice Chair Edwards invited questions and comments from the Commission members. Mr. Cook asked for clarification of the intended symbolism for obverse #12. Ms. Stafford said the American Liberty program calls for the artists to develop modern depictions of liberty; the sunflower and bee are intended to symbolize the stewardship necessary to maintain liberty, conveying that liberty is an active pursuit that requires tending. Mr. Cook said the conceptual intent is challenging, but the design is beautiful.

Mr. Moore emphasized his broad support for the Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program; he said the Commission appreciates the wider range of artists and artistic expression that results from this important program. However, he said that the Commission and staff should have a further discussion with the Mint staff about the process for this program and for developing designs, including the selection process and the framing of the design assignments. He said the nation’s range and depth of artistic talent are not adequately represented in the quality of the submissions. He described this program’s coins and medals as small monuments that people have in their pockets or on their shelves, and he said the submission demonstrates that the process is not yet fully successful in developing designs for the Commission’s review.

Ms. Stafford responded that the Mint welcomes such a discussion, which she said would be very helpful. She added that the new chair of the CCAC shares this concern, and the Mint considers both of these federal groups to be critical for pursuing artistic excellence and determining the Mint’s design recommendations to the Secretary of the Treasury. She emphasized that many artists have recently joined the Artistic Infusion Program, and more time may be needed to cultivate their contributions for the creation of designs.

For today’s American Liberty submission, Mr. Moore offered support for obverse #12 and reverse #12A, describing them as compelling designs; he likened the symbolism to the beautiful motif of the bristlecone pine used for an earlier issue in this series. However, he expressed regret that other equally compelling designs have not been developed that could facilitate a better discussion. He praised the intricacy and detail of the linework for the sunflower on obverse #12, but he said the font is a dissonant element that should be studied further. He also observed that the stylized composition of the reverse #12A gives the appearance of the eagle being decapitated, torn at the arc of the wing across the center. He concluded that reverse #12A is unsuccessful in depicting a powerful eagle; notwithstanding the desirability of pairing it with the comparable detailing and natural patterns of obverse #12, the reverse would need extensive work to resolve the design. He added that the font on reverse #12A needs further study.

Mr. Moore said the graffiti aesthetic of obverse #02 is an interesting concept but is not successful as presented; he said this design is not as well resolved as the sunflower composition of obverse #12, and he suggested further work with the graffiti concept. He added that the other presented designs are less strong.

Ms. Delplace agreed with the comments provided, including the potential for the graffiti artist’s aesthetic as a novel and supportable design approach, although the submitted design in this style is unsatisfactory. She joined in supporting the sunflower design of obverse #12. She described reverse #12A as a jarring composition despite the beautiful detailing of the eagle’s feathers. She instead suggested consideration of reverse #15, depicting an eagle in flight; she said the wing detailing is comparably beautiful and would be a good pairing with obverse #12. She also agreed that the text fonts need further study and should be coordinated for the obverse and reverse. Dr. Edwards says she agrees with these comments, including the support for reverse #15 as preferable to reverse #12A.

Secretary Luebke asked for clarification of the Commission’s guidance on the text treatment. Mr. Moore said the lettering on obverse #12 should be less bold and chunky, and should instead share the sense of fine detailing that is seen in the sunflower. He joined in supporting reverse #15, commenting that its linework and detailing would pair well with obverse #12, which has a similar design language.

Mr. Cook observed that several letters in the “Liberty” inscription appear to be centered on the overlapping petals of the sunflower; he questioned whether this apparent centering is an intended effect, and he suggested further study of this relationship as the font is being reconsidered. He joined in supporting reverse #15; he described both reverse #12A and #15 as strong designs, and he agreed with Ms. Delplace’s comment that sunflower textures of obverse #12 would pair well with the eagle feather textures of reverse #15.

Secretary Luebke noted the consensus to recommend reverse #15 instead of a revised version of reverse #12A, and to support obverse #12 while encouraging development of the graffiti aesthetic in obverse #2 for a future program. Ms. Delplace said that the one presented example of the graffiti aesthetic is too crude to refine for the current submission, but perhaps the future process could allow for multiple artists to develop designs with this aesthetic, giving the Commission a better range of graffiti-style alternatives to consider.

Vice Chair Edwards suggested taking an action to confirm the consensus of the Commission. Upon a motion by Mr. Moore with second by Mr. Cook, the Commission recommended obverse #12 and reverse #15 with the comments provided.

Mr. Moore noted that the Mint’s intended redesign of circulating coinage for the 2026 Semiquincentennial is an important project that provides the opportunity to address the issues that have been raised concerning the selection of artists. Ms. Stafford agreed, noting that the redesigns for 2026 are a large project for the Mint. She offered to provide a briefing to the Commission on the authorizing legislation and the Mint’s intended approach to this project; she said the Commission’s comments at an early stage would be very helpful and impactful.

4. CFA 18/APR/24-6, 2026 Native American $1 Coin. Designs for reverse. Final. (Previous: 16/NOV/23-8, for 2025) Secretary Luebke introduced the design alternatives for the reverse of the 2026 issue of the Native American One Dollar Coin, an ongoing series that began in 2009 with a new reverse design each year; the continuing obverse features a portrait of Sacagawea with her infant son. He noted that coins in this series are classified as circulating coins, although the production in recent years has been limited to quantities for the numismatic market. The subject for the 2026 reverse will be the members of the Oneida Native Americans who aided the Continental Army at Valley Forge during the American Revolution by providing food. He asked April Stafford, chief of the Mint’s Office of Design Management, to present the design alternatives.

Ms. Stafford said this coin series honors Native Americans and celebrates the important contributions made by Indian tribes and individual Native Americans to the development of U.S. history. She noted that the upcoming coin’s Revolutionary War theme is especially appropriate for issuance in 2026, which will be the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence; other coins to be issued in 2026 will also address the broad theme of the Semiquincentennial.

Ms. Stafford said that an Oneida woman, Polly Cooper, accompanied a group of Oneida warriors in traveling hundreds of miles on foot to bring bushels of white corn to feed the starving troops at Valley Forge. According to oral tradition, Ms. Cooper remained at Valley Forge and taught the soldiers how to prepare the corn so it would not be harmful to consume. She said the design alternatives have been developed in consultation with the Oneida Nation and the Oneida Indian Nation, along with the legislatively required consultation with House and Senate groups as well as the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the National Congress of American Indians. The consultation process has resulted in numerous preferences as well as suggestions for design revisions; the alternatives will therefore likely require further development, and she asked the Commission to assist by suggesting potential design adjustments or new imagery that the Mint should explore. She said the Mint intends to prepare a smaller set of refined alternatives as a follow-up submission for the Commission’s review.

Ms. Stafford presented fourteen alternative designs for the reverse, and she listed the preferences of the various groups that have been consulted: alternative #01 with revisions to the text to improve legibility, a preference of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the National Congress of American Indians; alternative #02, a preference of the Congressional Native American Caucus of the House of Representatives; alternative #03, which is the only preference of the representatives from the Oneida Nation and the Oneida Indian Nation, as well as a preference of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs; alternative #06, a preference of the National Congress of American Indians; and alternative #07, a preference of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the Congressional Native American Caucus. She noted that alternatives #1, #3, #6, and #7 were cited favorably by the Oneida Nation subject-matter expert for the strength of their depiction of the theme.

Ms. Stafford said the Oneida groups support alternative #03 because it depicts Polly Cooper with General George Washington, conveying the magnitude of the assistance provided by the Oneidas. This design also references a prominently displayed statue at the National Museum of the American Indian that depicts Polly Cooper, George Washington, and Chief Shenandoah. She said that the requested revisions to alternative #03 are to move Ms. Cooper higher in the composition and to have her, not General Washington, holding the ear of corn; the result would be to rebalance the dynamic of the scene, with a changed role and expression for General Washington.

Vice Chair Edwards invited questions and comments from the Commission members. Mr. Cook offered support for alternative #3 with the suggested revisions that were presented; Mr. Moore said he agrees with this recommendation. Observing that General Washington’s appearance is familiar to the public while Ms. Cooper’s is not, he asked if consideration has been given to identifying her by name on the coin; he said that without such an identification, the coin might seem to depict an anonymous Oneida woman instead of a specific person who made a specific historical contribution. Ms. Stafford said this question has been considered; one issue is how to strike a balance between telling the story of the Oneida contribution and the more particular story of Ms. Cooper. Additionally, the role of Ms. Cooper is understood through oral tradition, while the broader contribution of the Oneidas is historically certain. She offered to discuss this question further with the subject-matter experts, and she noted that Ms. Cooper and the oral tradition would be referenced in the Mint’s explanatory materials that accompany the coin. Mr. Moore acknowledged these concerns.

Noting the presentation’s reference to adjusting the power dynamic of people’s positions in alternative #3, he said the same issue is a concern in alternative #1 with the small background figures of Chief Shenandoah and General Washington at the center of the composition. He emphasized that the issue is not just detailing but involves the hierarchy and relationship being depicted, which should be carefully considered. He observed that similar issues arose in New York City with a statue grouping centered on Theodore Roosevelt at the American Museum of Natural History, resulting in the recent removal of the statue from the museum grounds; the New York example demonstrates the public awareness and concern with such issues. For alternative #1, he also questioned the appropriateness of showing the accumulation of snow on the “$1” text.

Mr. Cook observed that the depictions of Ms. Cooper vary greatly among the alternatives, possibly depicting her at different ages; he asked if the portraits are based on any information about her appearance. Ms. Stafford responded that this issue was discussed at the CCAC meeting and with the Oneida representatives, who said Ms. Cooper would have been in her 60s at the time of the Valley Forge encampment; the Mint would therefore adjust any of the portraits that depict her at a much younger age. Mr. Cook said the composition of alternative #6 is innovative and graphically intriguing, with a portrait of Ms. Cooper that differs from those in the other alternatives. However, he said the profile portrait and the background eagle seem to be in conflict with each other in this design.

Ms. Delplace expressed support for the comments provided. Acknowledging the complexity of the story being conveyed, she commented that most of the alternatives are overly concerned with telling every piece of the story, which results in confusing designs. For example, alternative #1 seems to be depicting an unclear combination of falling snow and corn kernels in the foreground as well as tiny cabins of the Valley Forge encampment in the background. She said these excessive details detract from the strength of the coin’s primary subject, which is the offering of food. Alternative #3 squeezes the cabins into the bottom of the design and adds a starburst behind the ear of corn at the top of the composition. She said that if alternative #3 is revised to address the height imbalance of the people, the design could also be revised to have a very simple emphasis on the importance of the interaction between nations, omitting the extraneous design elements. She added that the larger story could be told in another venue, such as the National Museum of the American Indian. She summarized that the designs should be simplified to be more understandable, focusing on the importance of the primary historical story.

Mr. Cook observed that alternative #7 is more successful in eliminating extraneous detailing to focus clearly on the historical theme, but he said that even with this clarity, he does not favor this design. Ms. Delplace agreed that alternative #7 stood out for close consideration, but the disconnected treatment of the body is problematic; the design also does not depict the interaction of the Native Americans with the Continental Army, which is the interesting story to be told. Mr. Moore agreed that the coin should depict the interaction, and he said the design could be especially powerful with a side-by-side composition that conveys the cooperation that was foundational to the nation’s creation, not merely a historical addendum. Mr. Cook and Dr. Edwards agreed with this guidance.

Secretary Luebke noted the Mint’s request for general guidance instead of a specific approval. Ms. Stafford said the Commission’s comments have been very helpful, and the Mint intends to return with a smaller, more refined set of alternatives. The discussion concluded without a formal action.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:56 p.m.

Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA