CFA 15/JAN/04-5


People's Republic of China. International Center. Lot 11, 12 & 13), Van Ness Street, NW
United States

U.S. Department of State
Embassy of the People's Republic of China, International Chancery Center (Lot 11, 12 & 13), Van Ness Street, NW
New chancery building. Concept


Dear Ms. Mavritte:

During its 15 January meeting, the Commission reviewed the concept design for a new chancery building for the People's Republic of China to be located on Lot 12 in the International Center on Van Ness Street, NW. The members unaninmously approved the concept submission and were pleased with the bold and dynamic configuration of the building. However, there were several issues raised during the discussion that warrant additional study.

The first was a concern with the"building's north elevation facing Van Ness Street. The members felt.that this side of the building needs to be very carefully studied so that there is a richness to the detailing, particularly with the large expanses of flat wall. This side of the chancery will be the most visible to the public as they enter or cross through the International Center. The Commission encourages the design team to explore ways in which to add additional layers of detail to the building's walls and grounds. One item on the north elevation the members foUnd to be enticing, but perhaps needing additional study, was the ''keyhole" opening in the wall of the garden opposite the entry pavilion. As presented, it was thought that its surround might be a bit too thin and appeared fragile, and the members questioned the character of the view that it framed. This signature feature will require thoughtful detailing to be successful.

A landscape plan that is very carefully composed can greatly help to enliven the streetscape along Van Ness Street. The requisite security fence should also be carefully considered in this plan so that it is visually interesting, complements the building, and enhances the landscape.

The Commission looks forward to the review of the design as it progresses. The staff is available to assist as needed.



Charles H. Atherton Secretary

Ms. Donna Mavritte
Project Manager
Office of Real Property Management
International Chancery Center
United States Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520