Sycamore Drive (formally Dogwood Street) and Oak Street, SE
Dear Mr. Kenner:
In its meeting of 16 November, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a second revised concept design for the adaptive reuse of the former Continuing Treatment complex on the St. Elizabeths East Campus. Expressing strong support for the transformation of the vacant institutional buildings into affordable housing, the Commission approved the design with the following comments and delegated the review of the final design to the staff.
In their discussion, the Commission members found the proposed revisions to be generally responsive to their previous comments regarding the design of the buildings and landscape. Acknowledging the many stakeholders involved in the process, they suggested that the design of the entry pavilions could be further refined. While supporting the incorporation of a brick base related to those on the historic buildings, they advised careful attention to maintaining a clear differentiation between new and old as the design is developed; they also recommended reducing the scale of the overhangs on the pavilion roofs.
The Commission members praised the development of the design of the internal courtyards, citing the increase in useable space and the diversity of amenities now apparent in each landscape. They emphasized that the design should give priority to the safety and comfort of people of all ages while ensuring that vehicles remain unobtrusive. They continued to question the need for the gates proposed to enclose the courtyards, and they expressed hope that these elements can someday be eliminated from the project.
The Commission requested that the final design submission provide documentation of the details of the proposal, including landscape materials and plantings, as well as architectural details such as the returns between the entry pavilions and the existing buildings. For the resolution of the remaining design issues identified in the review, please consult with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.
/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: Maria Casarella, Cunningham Quill Architects
Kara Lanahan, Oehme, van Sweden
Laura Hughes, EHT Traceries