1201 Alabama Avenue, SE (at 12th Street)
Dear Mr. Falcicchio:
In its public meeting of 17 September conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a revised concept design for a new six-story office building on the historic St. Elizabeths East Campus, to be located on Parcel 17 at 1201 Alabama Avenue, SE. The Commission approved the revised concept, providing the following comments for the development of the design.
The Commission members endorsed the revisions to the building design, including the proposed cladding material of brown metal panels in lieu of the green terra cotta proposed previously. For the landscape design, they expressed support for the new configuration of the mid-block park, now proposed as a large central lawn area ringed by a paved service drive and pedestrian walks. Commenting that the park would serve as an important amenity for the neighborhood to the south, they suggested further study of the critical threshold along Alabama Avenue and careful design of the character of this important public landscape. This design development should include: crowning the central lawn to make this area feel more prominent; strengthening the lawn’s edges to define it as a distinct place with a sense of enclosure, such as with curbs, shrubs, or a denser planting of trees; subordinating the service drive by reducing its width, possibly feathering its edges into the adjacent walks and planted areas; and studying the use of differentiated paving materials to emphasize pedestrians over vehicles. They also advised placing restrictions on the times of use for the loading docks, which face directly onto the central landscape.
The Commission requested further review of this project in a design development submission, which should include refinement and documentation of the park design and the surrounding building facades. Please coordinate with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
John Falcicchio, Deputy Mayor
D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 317
Washington, DC 20004
cc: Michael Winstanley, Winstanley Architects
Jeff Lee, Lee and Associates