Dear Mr. Cinkala:
In its meeting of 15 March, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a revised concept design for a new office building proposed to be located at the southeastern corner of the L'Enfant Plaza complex (case number SL 12-058, 500 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, also known as 895/875 Frontage Road, SW). Noting the responsiveness of the submission to prior comments, the Commission approved the concept design subject to the following recommendations.
The Commission members commented that the massing of the east side of the building has improved with the increased depth of the inflection which allows for the elimination of the continuous section of spandrel glass; however, they recommended further increasing the dimension of the inflection to a minimum of fifteen feet to mitigate the uncomfortable adjacency with the Department of Housing and Urban Development building. They noted several options for refining the west facade, such as eliminating the inflection or projecting further to the west, in order to improve the overall configuration of the building and its relationship to the context. In accordance with their prior guidance, the Commission members accepted the setbacks proposed for the upper levels of the building's north elevation adjacent to the East Building of L'Enfant Plaza.
Regarding the design of the building's base, the Commission members endorsed the extension of the precast cladding, generally in alignment with the plinth of the existing L'Enfant Plaza complex. They also supported the alternative to extend the metal and glass facade system to the promenade level on the projecting portion of the building's south facade, recommending that the spandrels be adjusted to a uniform vertical dimension. The Commission members expressed willingness to consider a separate submission for demolition of the existing loading dock and construction of the first two levels of the plinth as an interim configuration, provided that the design is consistent with the approved concept and recommended modifications; the review of such an interim proposal was delegated to the staff.
The Commission looks forward to the review of the final plans for this new development. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
The JBG Companies
4445 Willard Avenue, Suite 400
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
cc: Kelly Davis, ZGF Architects
Jennifer Steingasser, D.C. Office of Planning