CFA 15/FEB/18-6


1700 Rhode Island Avenue, NE
Washington, DC
United States

D.C. Department of General Services
Ward 5 Short-term Family Housing
Building renovation and six-story addition
Review Type
Previous Review


Dear Ms. Gillis:

In its meeting of 15 February, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept design for the proposed Ward 5 short-term family housing facility, to be located at 1700 Rhode Island Avenue, NE. The Commission approved the concept design with the following recommendations for the development of the project, and delegated the review of the final submission to the staff.

Expressing appreciation for the responsiveness to their previous advice, the Commission members recommended further simplifying the landscape design, with attention to creating a residential rather than institutional character for the facility, and providing more contiguous open space along Rhode Island Avenue for the residents and neighbors. They recommended reducing the number and types of fences and site walls, for example by replacing the proposed seat wall at the play area with benches. They also suggested replacing the proposed perennial bed in public space with a simpler landscape of drought-tolerant native plantings or lawn, with benches for public seating.

The Commission members observed that the historic building is handsome, and they recommended that it be perceived as the focus of the site. Noting the quiet, stately, and uniform character of the other multi-story residential buildings in the neighborhood, they suggested a more restrained palette of exterior materials and colors for the addition. They recommended that the addition’s facades be primarily brick in a color that closely matches the historic building, with at most one accent color that presents less contrast with the rest of the material palette.

Please coordinate the delegated final review with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Greer Johnson Gillis, Director
D.C. Department of General Services
2000 14th Street, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20009

cc: Ronnie McGhee, R. McGhee & Associates
Ryan Moody, Moody Graham Landscape Architecture
Laura Zeilinger, Director, D.C. Department of Human Services
Eric Shaw, Director, D.C. Office of Planning