April 1, 2004

Judiciary Square

In August 2003, the Commission requested that the D.C. Courts and the National Law Enforcement Museum agree on the design of the plaza area located between the proposed new entrance to the Old D.C. Courthouse and the proposed museum pavilions. Despite the Commission’s order and Congress’ direction, the two parties were not able to agree on a design. The Commission determined that the Court’s interim plan was most compatible with the historic character and setting of Judiciary Square, and best conformed with the legislation and with the principles of the draft master plan for the square..


Old District of Columbia Courthouse
(File Number 6453)

The Commission approved the design concept for the addition to and renovation of the Old D.C. Courthouse, located between Indiana Avenue and E Street, and 4th and 5th Streets, NW. The primary exterior alteration will be the construction of a new main entrance pavilion, facing Judiciary Square. This entrance will house security screening machines and provide accessible entry for all visitors. The pavilion will be composed of transparent glass with steel elements, and rise over 43 feet high. In front of the pavilion, the Court proposes a paved plaza with narrow grassy lawns, two L-shaped water pools, steps leading to the pavilion level, and a pair of handicapped ramps. Other exterior work includes the construction of a loading dock, and the cleaning, repair, and preservation of the historic building.

In its approval, the Commission made several recommendations for improving the pavilion and landscaping and further working with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The Commission also asked the Courts to explore the feasibility of allowing the museum underground access to the Courthouse’s service entry from 4th Street.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


National Law Enforcement Museum
(File Number 6321)

The Commission directed the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund to resubmit a more fully developed design concept for the entrance to the below-ground museum and the open plaza. In further developing the design, the Commission directed the museum to revise the massing and height of the entrance pavilions and to simplify the plaza design, making it more in keeping with the plaza’s character as a green precinct and an open space. The Commission requested details on the paving materials for the lower plaza and the elevations and sections of the skylights and ramps that connect the lower and upper plaza. The Commission further requested a circulation plan and the preparation of an environmental assessment. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund must work with the D.C. Courts in the preparation of revised plans and in the development of a perimeter security plan.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial
(File Number 6179)

The Commission approved the design concept for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, to be located on a two-acre site on Washington Avenue and Second Street, SW. The memorial will be defined by a central fire element as a sign of hope and endurance. A grove of trees, fronted by a reflecting pool, will frame and reflect a view of the U.S. Capitol dome; and stone and glass walls will be used to define paths within the memorial space. The stone walls, known as “Walls of Loss,” will be composed of white marble or white granite and inscribed with stories of bravery and sacrifice; and the glass walls, known as “Walls of Light,” will be laminated with varying levels of transparency and reflectivity. In its approval, the Commission recommended refining the openings in the stone walls; studying the circulation patterns and adjusting them if necessary; and further studying the height of the walls.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


Saint Coletta of Greater Washington, Inc.
(File Number 6437)

The Commission approved preliminary and final site and building plans for Saint Coletta of Greater Washington, Inc., to be located on 19th Street and Independence Avenue, SE. With a staff of 200, the school will serve 225 mentally disabled and autistic children and 25 adults. The project includes a school building with an attached gymnasium, outdoor classroom areas, surface parking for disabled staff and visitors, and a circulation drive for school buses.

Designed by Michael Graves Associates, the building is intended to reflect Capitol Hill’s colorful painted brick rowhouses and create a playful environmental for the students. As a means of providing both security and visual screening, the school will be separated from the sidewalk along 19th Street by a 6-foot 7-inch cast iron and concrete wall, covered with evergreen and flowering vines. In its approval, the Commission recommended using a low wall and landscaping to visually screen the disabled parking area from the sidewalk along Independence Avenue, SE.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


Environmental and Historic Preservation Policies and Procedures
(File Number 0735)

The Commission adopted the revised National Capital Planning Commission Environmental and Historic Preservation Policies and Procedures, which describes how the Commission considers the environmental and historic aspects of proposed actions, including commemorative works. The document was last updated in 1982 and, in preparing the 2004 version, the Commission consulted with the Council on Environmental Quality and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

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.