Dear Mr. Hanlon:
In its meeting of 20 September, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed and approved the concept design submission for an addition to and renovation of the Phoebe Hearst Elementary School, located at 3950 37th Street, NW, with comments for further refinement of the proposal.
The Commission members supported the simplicity of the design, which allows the historic building to remain a strong presence in the expanded school facility. However, they questioned the stylistic contrast of the proposed addition with the historic building and the neighborhood; they suggested the consideration of more compatible features, such as sloping roofs and the use of brick in the facades, and further simplification of the variety of window types. In the planning of the building, they suggested the consolidation of the west and south entrance lobbies as a single interior space; for the historic entrance, they recommended retaining the existing exterior stairs. Finally, they recommended further study of the gap below the cantilevered north side of the proposed addition, which is a potentially problematic area for maintenance and safety.
The Commission looks forward to further review of the project as the design is developed. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Brian Hanlon, Director
D.C. Department of General Services
2000 14th Street, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
cc: Charles D. Mikell, D.C. Department of General Services
Ronnie McGhee, R. McGhee & Associates