St. Elizabeths West Campus, 2701 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE
Dear Ms. Wright:
In its public meeting of 15 October conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the concept design for a new ten-story office building on the St. Elizabeths West Campus for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Commission approved the concept with the following comments.
The Commission members expressed support for the design, commenting that the building’s skillful massing and imaginative siting within the complex topography of the Richardson Quadrangle plateau and the ravine at its northern edge successfully accommodates the 600,000-square-foot program without hiding the building or overpowering the sensitive context of this National Historic Landmark campus. In their discussion, they observed that the new building’s modern architectural language corresponds with the recent development on the campus and establishes an appropriate relationship with the adjacent historic industrial buildings. However, they strongly recommended selecting high-quality materials that would give the building a character commensurate with its location and role as a federal facility, and advised against specifying a panelized facade system. They praised the landscape design and its topographic inventiveness, and they suggested that the new walking path within the ravine could have a more curvilinear shape to better relate to the campus’s existing walkways and drives; they also asked for more information on the proposed character for the meadow areas within the ravine. Finally, they commented that the exemplary research informing the rich, contextual material palette shared by the landscape and building should serve as a model for future projects on this historic campus.
For its next review, the Commission requested axonometric plans illustrating the relationships between the building’s interiors and the related exterior landscape, as well as drawings of the building facades facing the courtyard. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Mina Wright, Director
Office of Planning & Design Quality
General Services Administration, National Capital Region
1800 F Street, NW, Suite 4400
Washington, DC 20405
cc: Toby Hasselgren, ZGF
Hallie Boyce, OLIN