District of Columbia Old City Hall
Judiciary Square, between D and E streets, NW
Dear Mr. McGill:
During its meeting of 15 April, the Commission reviewed and approved the revised concept for additions and renovations to the District of Columbia Old Courthouse, on Judiciary Square between D and E Streets, with some additional recommendations for study as the project develops. The revised design is very successful, creating a contemporary, accessible entrance while respecting the hierarchical relationship and historic character of the existing building. However, a simpler approach to the landscape design is suggested, including the removal of plants and trees adjacent to the building. The proposed bench should continue along three sides of the plazas. The inclusion of the water elements needs further study due to their seasonal quality. In the procession to the entrance, the steps should be as generous as possible while still enabling a correspondingly gracious accessible entry sequence. The design for the open space to north of the entrance stairs, including the proposed slope of 3.7 percent, continues to be reasonable and acceptable.
The Commission continues to advocate a coordinated design solution for both the Old Courthouse and the National Law Enforcement Museum and suggests that the collaboration extend to the design of a combined loading dock for both facilities, which might also allow for the relocation of mechanical equipment and a further reduction in the size of the museum pavilions. The Commission looks forward to further review of this project as it develops. As always, the staff is available should you require guidance.
Charles H. Atherton
Special Assistant for Regional Coordination
General Services Administration
301 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20407-0001
cc: John Belle, Beyer Blinder Belle
Hany Hassan, Beyer Blinder Belle