April 6, 2006

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
(File Number 5907)

The Commission commented favorably on a revised design for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, which will be constructed on a triangular-shaped area on the northwest corner of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park.

The memorial continues to feature three of the original central elements: a mountain of despair; a stone of hope; and landscaping. The mountain of despair is a 30-foot-high stone, sliced in half, that will serve as the main entrance to the memorial. The stone of hope will emerge out of the mountain of despair and depict an engraving of Dr. King. Memorial landscaping will include Yoshino Cherry trees, Crape Myrtle trees, Eastern White Pines, and American Elms.

In its revisions, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Project Foundation addressed comments that the Commission had made during its previous review, resulting in a design that better focuses the visitor’s attention on the memorial’s key features. The Commission noted that, in order to retain the visual relationship between the mountain of despair and the stone of hope, the Foundation might consider returning to the former entry design, which allowed for a 12-foot passageway.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


Patent Office Building – Reconstruction of F Street Stairs
(File Number 6479)

The Commission commented favorably on a revised concept design for making landscape and streetscape improvements and reconstructing the F Street stairs of the Smithsonian’s Patent Office Building, bounded by G, F, 7th, and 9th Streets in Northwest Washington.

The Smithsonian’s proposal will return the site to the configuration that existed from the 1870s through the 1930s, prior to the 1935 realignment of F Street. Plans for the reservation include rebuilding the F Street staircase, extending the south lawn, relocating the historic fence to its previous position, planting new trees, and installing new street lights and sidewalks. Because the historic courtyard fountains are in poor condition, the Commission concurred with the Smithsonian’s decision not to reinstall them in the courtyard. Instead, the fountains will be treated as artifacts within the museum’s permanent exhibit on the building’s history.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


Patent Office Building – Development of the Courtyard
(File Number 6479)

The Commission approved preliminary site development plans for the reconstruction of the courtyard landscape at the Smithsonian’s Patent Office Building, except for the catering benches and the configuration of the water scrim.

Design plans for the courtyard consist of white marble planters with seating, a black granite floor, a water scrim running east-west along the courtyard floor, a museum café, and catering benches. The Commission disapproved the catering benches and recommended removing primary catering utilities from the courtyard; and recommended redesigning the water scrim to make it more compatible with the courtyard setting.

Because the historic courtyard fountains are in poor condition, the Commission concurred with the Smithsonian’s decision not to reinstall them in the courtyard. Instead, the fountains will be treated as artifacts within the museum’s permanent exhibit on the building’s history. Prior to submitting final plans for the courtyard landscape, the Smithsonian must develop a plan for including these fountains in the museum exhibit and in related publications.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


Center for Devices and Radiological Health
(File Number 6649)

Except for the proposed security elements, the Commission approved preliminary and final site and building plans for the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, located at FDA’s consolidated campus in White Oak, Maryland. The new six-story office building will be comprised of four wings and an atrium and provide space for approximately 1,277 employees. The Commission requested that GSA submit additional information on landscaping within the building courtyard and provide a perimeter security plan for the entire campus.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


Department of Commerce Building Modernization
(File Number 6648)

With the exception of perimeter security and streetscape elements, the Commission commented favorably on concept site and building plans for Phase I of a modernization project at the Herbert C. Hoover Building, located on 14th and Constitution Avenue, NW. The project includes repairing both the interior and exterior, replacing major site utilities, making enhancements to meet current building standards and programmatic functions. As part of Phase I, the National Aquarium will relocate from the 14th Street side of the building to a location with a dedicated entrance along Constitution Avenue. The Commission recommended deferring the development of perimeter security and streetscape elements until they can be coordinated with more comprehensive efforts for the Federal Triangle.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


Consent Calendar: The Commission voted on Consent Calendar items without staff presentations or public testimony.

Delegated Decisions: Projects for which the Commission delegated decision-making authority to the Chairman, Executive Committee, or Executive Director.