1625 P Street, NW
Dear Mr. Anderson:
In its meeting of 16 November, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept design for the renovation of Stead Park Recreation Center at 1625 P Street, NW. Noting the early stage of the design process, the Commission did not take an action on the submission and provided comments for further development of the concept.
The Commission members expressed support for the design intent to focus on the historic carriage house, commenting that it should be conceived of as a jewel-like centerpiece that unifies the many elements of the park. They expressed interest in reestablishing the building’s historic pass-through opening at its center, leading directly from the street-fronting play areas to the turf field behind and serving to connect the northern and southern areas of the site. They observed that the north side of the expanded building will serve as an important facade within the park, and they expressed concern that the additions as proposed would overwhelm the small carriage house and obstruct its visibility from the playing field. Therefore, they suggested careful consideration of the program for and massing of the new construction in order to be more compatible with the scale of the park, and they look forward to development of an architectural treatment that is compatible with the carriage house. They expressed support for the concept of green roofs and a rooftop event space, but they observed that the proposed design does not adequately balance these uses; they recommended that one roof area be designed primarily for events, and other roof areas be dedicated to plantings.
Regarding the planning of the overall site, they commented that the design is promising but would benefit from further refinement; they cautioned against overcrowding the site with many separate programmatic areas to the detriment of the park’s overall unity. On the south side, they suggested that any north-south walkway—whether axial or off-center—along the central lawn be enhanced, perhaps with an allée of trees, as the primary connection between the park and the P Street sidewalk; they suggested buffering the small sensory garden along the sidewalk with a low wall or other protective edge in order to develop it as a space for people rather than pets. On the east side, they commented that the children’s playground area should include topographic variation, shade trees, and seating to accommodate family groups, without merely relying on play equipment against a backdrop of greenery to resolve design issues. For the basketball court on the west, they expressed tentative support for the concept of a solar-array roof structure to provide partial shelter, but they suggested further discussions with the court’s prospective users to understand whether this amenity would be desirable; they also raised concern that the scale of the shade structure could result in an unbalanced composition at the front of the park facility.
The Commission looks forward to further review of the design for this community park. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Keith A. Anderson, Director
D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation
1250 U Street, NW, 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20009
cc: Outerbridge Horsey, Outerbridge Horsey Associates