Dear Ms. Tosini:
In its meeting of 16 January, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept design for proposed building alterations of and additions to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau headquarters, located at 1700 G Street, NW. The Commission expressed appreciation for the simplification of the project following the previous review and approved the proposal with several recommendations for its further development.
In their discussion of the architectural design, the Commission members commented that the revised proposal is more respectful of the building's historic features, and they supported the refinements to the characteristic elements of this significant modernist design. They noted that the reconfigured distribution of the program spaces results in an improved workplace quality; they expressed support for the relocation of the daycare facility to first floor and rooftop spaces, commenting that the enclosure surrounding the rooftop play area should be carefully designed to minimize its visual impact while defining a safe and attractive outdoor environment for children.
The Commission members supported the revised treatment of the courtyard to reveal the historic character of the landscape, with varied spaces to accommodate a range of users. They observed that the existing courtyard has a complex paving pattern that forms a finely detailed carpet for the site's public space; they recommended that a similar character be given to the paving design for the renovated plaza. They discouraged the proposed use of glass for the courtyard railings, commenting that this design may not convey an appropriate civic character for the space and may be difficult to maintain. They also suggested eliminating the row of trees in front of the pergola, allowing the proposed bosque to be more legible as a discrete element within the courtyard composition. They supported the proposal to display artifacts of the Riggs Bank building that had once occupied this site, and they recommended that these artifacts be aggregated to provide a more effective display. Finally, they recommended that the projection of the bollards into public space sidewalks at the courtyard entrance passages be minimized.
The Commission looks forward to further review as the design is developed. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Chief Administrative Officer
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
1700 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20552
cc: Rod Garrett, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Thomas Balsley, Thomas Balsley Associates