Dear Mr. Hoskins:
In its meeting of 16 May, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the final design for a new mixed-use building proposed by EastBanc and the D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development to be located on Square 50 at 23rd and M Streets, NW. The Commission supported the proposal but identified one area for further development, delegating the review and approval of the final submission to the staff.
The Commission members expressed concern about the modifications to the previously approved concept design of the 23rd Street facade, observing that the proposed dark masonry wall at the lower two floors has a deadening effect on the streetscape. They recommended that this portion of the facade be reworked to include more generous window openings, noting the many possible alternative treatments which would provide a reasonable level of visual privacy for the firefighters while still allowing daylight into the interior spaces and views from them to the street. In addition, the Commission noted with regret that the site design had been modified from the approved concept, particularly in the reshaping of the planting beds along 23rd Street. While acknowledging that these changes had been made to conform with the District of Columbia's public space guidelines, the Commission members characterized the revised planting beds as awkward in relation to the building's multiple entrances.
Please coordinate the submission of a revised final design for review by the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Victor L. Hoskins
Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 317
Washington, DC 20004
cc: Anthony Lanier, EastBanc
Enrique Norten, TEN Arquitectos