CFA 15/OCT/20-10


4400 Brooks Street, NE / 1300 44th Street, NE
Washington, DC
United States

D.C. Department of General Services
Henry Smothers Elementary School
Building renovation and additions
Review Type
Previous Review


Dear Mr. Anderson:

In its public meeting of 15 October conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a second concept submission for the renovation of and additions to Smothers Elementary School, located at 44th and Brooks Streets, NE. The Commission approved the concept, providing the following comments for further development of the design.

The Commission members expressed appreciation for the improved documentation of the concept submission, which more clearly establishes the design goals for the project. They also acknowledged the documentation of energy performance features, such as the installation of rooftop photovoltaic arrays, intended to achieve the goal of a net-zero energy performance. For the approach to the proposed main entrance, they supported the project team’s preferred alternative, the “landscape scheme,” commenting that its configuration of stairs and ramps is more appealing and less daunting than the other design that was presented; they suggested that the clarity of the design would be improved if the stairs and ramps were conceived as incisions into a continuous landscape rather than being flanked by two sloped areas with very different plantings. They requested careful study of the viability and durability of the proposed brise-soleil of internally reinforced single-wythe brick, including the construction of a mockup; they encouraged consultation with technical experts in masonry construction.

The Commission looks forward to further review of the project. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the development of the design.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Keith A. Anderson, Director
D.C. Department of General Services
2000 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009

cc: Edgar Moreno, DLR Group
Nicholas Williams, D.C. Public Schools