5200 2nd Street, NW
Dear Mr. Hanlon:
In its meeting of 16 October, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a new concept design for the addition of a gymnasium to the renovated former Rudolph Elementary School, located at 5200 2nd Street, NW, for the Washington Latin Public Charter School. The Commission approved the concept, delegating the final review of the project to the staff with the following comments.
The Commission members acknowledged the financial constraints that led to the drastic redesign of the gymnasium addition after the previous concept was reviewed and approved in October 2012 as part of an overall renovation for the school facility. While they accepted the general planning, massing, and modern character as the latest of several additions to the Colonial Revival school, they commented that the new design is much compromised in comparison to the original scheme, and it now appears unacceptably utilitarian and reminiscent of a storage building. To address this, they recommended a substantial reworking of the elevations, particularly with windows that engage with the interior programming and give more than a blank facade to the surrounding context. They cautioned against the single vertical window in the gymnasium, which may produce excessive internal glare, and instead recommended more fenestration—perhaps in a clerestory condition—that will light the interior more evenly. They also recommended that fenestration be added to the north elevation to animate the building along the street; they requested that mechanical equipment screening also be reconfigured to integrate it with the overall design.
In its delegation of the review and approval of the final design to the staff, the Commission approved the project provided these recommendations are addressed as it is further developed. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Brian Hanlon, Director
D.C. Department of General Services
2000 14th Street, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
cc: Erika Lehman, Perkins Eastman
Martha C. Cutts, Washington Latin Public Charter School