920 F Street, NE
Dear Mr. Anderson:
In its public meeting of 15 October conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept submission for the renovation of and additions to the Anne M. Goding Elementary School, located at 920 F Street, NE, for use by the School-Within-School charter program. The Commission approved the concept submission with the following recommendations for the development of the design.
The Commission members endorsed the overall conceptual approach of the project to transform the existing brick-clad structure with discrete interventions such as projecting metal window surrounds, new ground-level openings, and minor additions. They supported the proposal to unify the renovated building by applying whitewash to the exposed red brick walls and using color on the interior surfaces of the new window surrounds. They noted that the depth of the surrounds will increase the illusion that the windows are set within deep recesses, and they commented that this appearance, along with the proportions of the enlarged entrance and the three new window openings, would help to reduce the building’s large scale. However, they questioned the choice of colors proposed for the surrounds; observing that the existing building is an anomaly within its Victorian neighborhood, they said that the use of color would highlight its unconventional character. They therefore requested the development of an option that would employ materials such as wood or metal in their natural state, using intrinsic color as an accent to achieve the same playful design quality; they also requested the preparation of on-site mockups illustrating the proposed window details.
The Commission members commended the proposed landscape, which will include plots for community gardens along the front facade. However, they advised further study of this landscape feature, commenting on the generic character of the proposed garden boxes and their lack of proportional relation to the new windows; they also observed that there would not be sufficient room between the proposed garden boxes and the fence to allow for cultivation. In general, they suggested that the carefully designed forms of the architecture could be extended to inform the design of the surrounding landscape.
The Commission looks forward to the further review of the design, which should include mockups of the windows and an option for the window surrounds using materials without applied color. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Keith A. Anderson, Director
D.C. Department of General Services
2000 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
cc: Salo Levinas, Shinberg Levinas Architects
Nicholas Williams, D.C. Public Schools