Dear Reverend Clark:
In its meeting of 21 June, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept proposal for a church at 600 M Street, SW (case number SL 12-100), on a site designated as Parcel 11a of the proposed Southwest Waterfront development, also known as The Wharf. The Commission members present recommended a general approval of the concept design; as there was not a quorum for the review of the project, this recommendation will be placed on the agenda for confirmation at the Commission's meeting of 19 July.
The Commission members expressed appreciation for the preparation of the physical model, which they said was extremely useful in understanding the proposed design, particularly the sweeping gesture of glass which encloses the sanctuary and continues over the roof of the project. They advised that the highest corner above the sanctuary should be emphasized as the focus of the entire project, perhaps as the location of the church's exterior cross; likewise, the layout of the sanctuary could be rotated to correspond to the strong diagonal geometry of the form. They also suggested that the extension of the glass on the roof could be made even larger to strengthen the appearance of the church in relation to the residential building behind it. They continued to express concern about the scale of the tower at the western corner of the building, noting that it appears to be part of the residential building instead of the church; they recommended that this element be eliminated.
The Commission members noted that their recommendation will be made to the full Commission at the next meeting for its consideration; they requested that the applicant return at this time with a design presentation incorporating responses to their advice. Please coordinate the next submission with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
The Reverend Martha Clark
St. Augustine's Episcopal Church
600 M Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024
cc: Michael Foster, MTFA Architecture
Shawn Seaman, Hoffman-Madison Waterfront