CFA 15/SEP/16-6


North Capitol Street and Channing Street, NW
Washington, DC
United States

D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
McMillan Community Center
New community and recreation center
Review Type


Dear Mr. Kenner:

In its meeting of 15 September, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept design submission for a new park and community center building on the southern portion of the decommissioned McMillan Sand Filtration Site at North Capitol and Channing Streets, NW. The Commission members present recommended approval of the concept submission with the following comments.

The Commission members expressed enthusiasm for the adaptive reuse of this important landmark and community resource, and they endorsed the plan to preserve a meaningful number of the historically significant sand bins and underground filtration cells present on the site. Regarding the landscape design, they expressed support for the proposed rain garden, recommending that an innovative stormwater management system be employed across the entire site as a modern reinterpretation of its historical use. They recognized the logic behind planting native species thought to have existed on the site before its industrial development, but they suggested that this disturbed site could support a novel ecology of regional plants adaptive to tough urban conditions and non-invasive exotic plants more suitable for its constructed soil profile and Washington’s contemporary climate. For the concrete and steel bridge that spans the primary entrance to the park, they observed that the design of the abutments is unresolved, advising that careful detailing will ensure that this prominent portal into the site is elegant and powerful. Finally, they expressed strong support for the design of the proposed community and recreation center building, commenting that its light, pavilion-like design is appropriate for this park setting.

As a quorum was not present for the review of this submission, this recommendation will be placed on the administrative agenda for confirmation at the Commission’s meeting of 20 October. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Brian T. Kenner
Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 317
Washington, DC 20004

cc: Stephen Penhoet, Perkins Eastman