Dear Mr. Finan:
In its meeting of 17 January, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept submission for a new twelve–story office building at 400 6th Street, SW (case number SL 13-029). The Commission approved the general concept for the planning and massing of the proposed building, and requested further development of the exterior design in a revised concept presentation.
In their discussion, the Commission members observed that several of the proposed design approaches seemed promising—particularly the idea of a woven building skin—but found the proposed exterior treatment of the building to be an arbitrary composition of unintegrated facade elements. Instead, they recommended that the differentiation of the facade treatments be informed by actual conditions such as the adjacent context, solar exposures, and programmatic functions. They suggested further exploration of the theme of weaving beyond a superficial texture, perhaps to shape the building itself as a woven volume. They also noted that the variation of the enclosure types could be more subtle, and they recommended the consideration of materials that react to and reflect differing conditions of sunlight in order to enliven the facades. In addition, they recommended that the portion of the facade that is lifted from the base be extended in a higher parapet as well, and they suggested further study of the north–facing building entrance, which would appear dark below the deep overhang of the proposed canopy.
The Commission looks forward to review of the next submission, which they requested include a revised concept proposal for the design of the exterior enclosure. As always, the staff is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Trammell Crow Company
1055 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20007
cc: Jordan Goldstein, Gensler
Norman Glasgow, Jr., Holland & Knight