1 Pecan Street SE
Dear Mr. Falcicchio:
In its public meeting of 15 July conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept submission for a new hospital building and parking garage to be located on Parcel 2 along Pecan Street on the St. Elizabeths East Campus, a National Historic Landmark. The Commission approved the general concept and requested the submission of a revised concept that responds to the following comments.
The Commission members expressed support for the massing of the proposed hospital design, composed of a two-story base supporting a taller volume containing patient rooms, which they said conveys an appropriate sense of weight and solidity within the context of the historic site. They commended the humane emphasis on the patient experience in the design of the building, citing the expansive views for patients that will be provided by angled windows set within substantial articulated brick window enclosures. However, they commented that the lighter color of much of the two-story base would visually separate the two main parts of the building; they suggested using brick-colored panels on the base to unify the whole composition. They expressed a preference for the three-story option for the upper volume, observing that it appears more compact and grounded than the four-story option; they also expressed a strong preference for the alternative that would consolidate the rooftop mechanical enclosure into a single large rectangle across the eastern volume, with shallow step-backs, as a more efficient and less conspicuous solution.
For the design of the site, the Commission members encouraged the creation of landscape areas that will provide respite for patients and form part of a continuous green corridor along this edge of the St. Elizabeths campus. However, they commented that the landscape design as presented is schematic and unresolved; they emphasized that the entire site needs to be developed as a public landscape with the same level of care and attention to detail as the design for the building— including the areas facing the men’s shelter on the north, Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue on the west, and the ravine on the east, with particular attention to screening the new building’s utilitarian areas and to protecting the natural habitat along the ravine.
The Commission looks forward to further review of a revised concept design addressing these issues; please coordinate with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you in the development of the design.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 317
Washington, DC 20004
cc: William Hellmuth, HOK
Don Hoover, Oculus