St. Elizabeths West Campus, 2701 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE
Dear Ms. Wright:
In its public meeting of 17 June conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a final design submission for a new ten-story office building on the St. Elizabeths West Campus for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Commission approved the submission, conditional upon the completion of the review process for the following details, which they delegated to the staff.
In their discussion, some of the Commission members questioned the stylistic character of the proposal for a federal facility, but the majority supported the new building’s massing and architecture, commenting that it would be an appropriate addition to this National Historic Landmark campus. They expressed appreciation for the thoughtful landscape design of the ravine and its pedestrian walkway, particularly the seating areas at the turns of the walk, which they said would provide places of respite and shade. However, they identified several design issues requiring further refinement and documentation in order to complete the final design approval, including the following architectural and site design elements. Specifically, they recommended further study of the terra cotta panels intended to achieve a level of variation similar to that of the historic brick seen throughout the campus, possibly varying the hue as well as the texture of the panels if necessary; they recommended using mockups to evaluate the visual effect of different patterns. They requested further development and documentation of the intended roof profile and related appurtenances such as solar panels, plantings, penthouses, and parapets. For the proposed ravine landscape, they suggested providing spaces for wheelchair users alongside some of the seating areas, particularly at the bottom of the walk; they also recommended careful study of the trees proposed to be adjacent to walkways to ensure their long-term viability, and they requested documentation of the proposed lighting plan.
The Commission looks forward to the completion of this phase of development on the historic St. Elizabeths West Campus. To complete the final review, please coordinate an evaluation of any mockups and other requested documentation with the staff, which is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Mina Wright, Director
Office of Planning & Design Quality
General Services Administration, National Capital Region
1800 F Street, NW, Suite 4400
Washington, DC 20405
cc: Toby Hasselgren, ZGF
Hallie Boyce, OLIN