5401 South Dakota Avenue, NE
Dear Mr. Reyes-Gavilan:
In its meeting of 16 January, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept proposal for the replacement of the Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library, located at 5401 South Dakota Avenue, NE. The Commission approved the concept and provided the following comments for the development of the design.
The Commission members expressed support for the proposal, commending the D.C. Public Library for its continuing commitment to design excellence for its facilities. In their discussion, they found that the proposed perforated aluminum facade screen is essential to the overall design concept, and they advised giving priority to retaining this feature during the development of the project. Noting a lack of clarity in the presentation of the many materials and details of the building’s exterior, they requested additional documentation of the perforated screen and its connection to the curtainwall system, as well as the typical details for the various components of the facades.
In their support for the proposed landscape design, the Commission members identified several areas that would benefit from further study. Noting that the abstract trees depicted on the facade screen are intended to be reminiscent of the landscape across the street that will soon be lost to a new mixed-use development, they suggested extending this concept into the actual landscape of the library by planting additional trees on the site. In addition, they suggested that the proposed parking lot be reconceived to be a part of the landscape, rather than keeping it as standard pavement, and they questioned its placement on the site; they suggested that it could be pervious and be reconfigured to allow for the possible extension of the building’s facade further along the South Dakota Avenue frontage, as well as for the inclusion of additional plantings, such as shade trees, near this corner. Citing the generally poor performance of Bradford pear trees, they questioned the retention of the existing pear tree near the site’s southeast corner as the basis of the building and site planning. Expressing strong support for the proposed outdoor seating area, they suggested including a canopy and planting more trees to provide shade for this space. They also suggested refining and simplifying the proposed material palette to bring additional continuity to the ground plane and furnishings.
The Commission looks forward to the review of the next submission, which should include the requested documentation of building details, as well as improvements to the site incorporating the planned locations of new street trees. As always, the staff is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Richard Reyes-Gavilan, Executive Director
D.C. Public Library
901 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
cc: Peter Cook, HGA
Jeff Lee, Lee & Associates