Dear Ms. Cahill:
In its meeting of 19 April, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the proposed final design for the processing components of the new bio–solids management facility at the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant in southwest Washington, D.C. The Commission approved the proposal with the following comments and recommendations.
Noting the sculptural character of a 2005 proposal for the digester tanks, the Commission members expressed regret at this project's less successful approach to making the facility a more visible and expressive part of the city's infrastructure. While approving the form proposed for the tanks, they suggested a bolder surface color and possibly an exterior graphic treatment, which they said could help to inform the public about how this important civic facility operates; they also suggested the opportunity to develop DC Water's website further to communicate this message. They requested the opportunity for further review of the proposed color and, if pursued, a separate submission for graphics or signage as an enhancement project. They also commented that the highway frontage of Blue Plains–while not a part of this submission–appears haphazard, suggesting that it could be improved with additional landscaping to help control and frame views into the facility from the adjacent Interstate 295.
The Commission members expressed appreciation for the detailed presentation and look forward to the submission of the final exterior treatment for the digester tanks, including any proposal for graphics or signage. As always, the staff is available to assist with future submissions.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Katherine Cahill, Principal Counsel
Office of the General Counsel
5000 Overlook Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20032
cc: David Schwartz, CDM Smith
Andi Adams, Goulston & Storrs