Dear Mr. Hanlon:
In its meeting of 17 April, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept design for the proposed renovation of the former elementary school at 34th and Dix Streets, NE, to serve as the River Terrace Special Education Center. The Commission expressed appreciation for the changes made since the previous review to simplify the front facades of the building additions and approved the proposal with the following recommendations.
As the site design is developed, the Commission members recommended creating a more defined edge to better establish the school's institutional presence, particularly along the west side of the property, whether in the form of fences, gates, trees, or other landscaping. They recommended the addition of a more closely spaced row of street trees for shade along the parking lot and continuing to the southwest corner of the property; additional trees could also be deployed in the center of the parking lot to enhance the entrance experience. Runoff from the parking and building could ideally be collected in a rain garden at the southwest corner of the property since it is the lowest point in the school yard and would be easily accessible as a teaching garden and public amenity—and could create a more appropriate functional and formal connection to the wider Anacostia River landscape.
The Commission delegated the review of a final design that responds to these comments; please coordinate the review of the final submission with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Brian Hanlon, Director
D.C. Department of General Services
2000 14th Street, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
cc: Eupert Braithwaite, D.C. Department of General Services
Melvin L. Mitchell, Bryant Mitchell
Ed Schmidt, Fanning Howey