Dear Mr. Seaman:
In its meeting of 19 April, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept proposal for a residential building and a church at 6th and M Streets and Maine Avenue, SW, on a site designated as Parcel 11 of The Wharf redevelopment plan for the Southwest waterfront (case number SL 12-070). The Commission approved the concept design of the residential building but did not take an action on the design of the church, requesting a new concept submission for this portion of the project.
The Commission members observed that the design of the residential building has improved, particularly in the calmer material palette and simplified architectural elements. Noting that the rising grade of Water Street results in several ground–floor exterior entrances being lower than the sidewalk, they recommended further study and documentation of how the building design resolves these conditions.
The Commission members emphasized that the church, although small, should be the more prominent building of the two because of its public stature in the community. Finding that the architectural relationship between the two buildings remains unresolved, they strongly recommended the preparation of a physical model of both buildings in order to study the appearance and relationships of the various elements–particularly the expression of the glazed sanctuary and its enclosure system, the relation of the carillon tower and cross to the composition as a whole, and the treatment of the facades where the two buildings meet. They observed that the tower seems to be associated with the residential building rather than the church, in part because its form and color appear too similar to the facade elements of its neighbor. They also questioned the use of the proposed colored glass panels, noting the undemonstrated qualities and undocumented details of the material for this application, presented as the building's most prominent architectural element.
Please coordinate the next submission with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
PN Hoffman & Associates
4725 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20016
cc: Michael Foster, MTFA Architecture
Federico Soifer, SK&I Architectural Design Group