St. Elizabeths East Campus, 2700 Martin Luther King Jr Ave, SE (east of the Barn and Stables complex)
Dear Mr. Anderson:
In its meeting of 16 January, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a revised concept design for a new multi-story building for the St. Elizabeths Single Men’s Shelter, to be located on the historic East Campus of St. Elizabeths Hospital at 2700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SE. The Commission provided the following comments for the development of the design.
The Commission members expressed appreciation for the revisions to the site design and the massing of the new building, commenting that these have improved since the previous review. They supported the revision to use brick as the primary exterior material, but they questioned the multiplicity of colors, particularly the strong contrast of the pale gray masonry of the upper stories with the red brick base; they recommended careful consideration of alternative color treatments, suggesting that a range of red brick would better relate this building to the context of historic buildings on the St. Elizabeths campus. They also discouraged the use of bright colors to highlight the mechanical equipment enclosures, which they said might appear cartoonish. They acknowledged the design intent to differentiate the separate programmatic areas that are contained within the building, but they suggested that this could be achieved through careful site planning, particularly along the entrance plaza and canopy; they suggested that thoughtful development of the entry sequence would be beneficial for the building’s residents and for the anticipated future conversion of parts of the building to a different residential program. For the site plan, they suggested further effort to reduce the extent of paving, along with improved use of plantings to shape space rather than simply to create borders; they suggested consideration of sumac to define the edges of the meadow space.
The Commission looks forward to further review of this important project. Please consult with the staff as the design is developed for the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Keith A. Anderson, Director
D.C. Department of General Services
2000 14th Street, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
cc: Carl Skooglund, Wiencek + Associates