Intelsat Global Service Corporation Headquarters, International Center
4000 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Dear Ms. Mavritte:
In its meeting of 17 July, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a proposal for alterations to the northeast entrance and plaza of the office building formerly occupied by Intelsat at Connecticut Avenue and Van Ness Street, NW, within the International Center. The Commission approved the concept submission with several recommendations for further development of the design.
The Commission members supported the intention to provide greater emphasis to the northeast corner as part of its transformation into a primary entrance for the building complex, finding that creating a terrace area facing Connecticut Avenue has the potential to create a stronger relationship with the surrounding wooded landscape. They noted the "exuberant minimalism" of the building's noteworthy modern design and suggested reducing the number of new elements at the entrance itself—currently proposed to include fins, a granite portal, integrated lighting, and a projecting canopy articulated with skeletal ribs—in order to fit more comfortably with the existing architecture. For the proposed site alterations, they expressed support for the strategy of reconfiguring the entrance plaza to address issues of topography and accessibility while introducing more plantings and a water feature. However, they questioned the relationship of the proposed radial configuration of the entrance plaza to the strong octagonal geometry of the existing building: while acknowledging the advantages of introducing paired walks instead of a single centralized approach to the entrance, they expressed concern that the conceptual strength of juxtaposing the highly ordered architecture with the woodland setting would be weakened by the introduction of an entirely new radial geometry. They recommended further exploration and documentation of alternative configurations as part of the continuing review process.
The Commission looks forward to the revitalization of this architecturally significant work of architect John Andrews as it is refashioned into a multi–tenant office building within the International Center complex. As always, the staff is available to assist you with further development of the project.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Office of Real Property Management
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20520
cc: Michael Considine, CB Richard Ellis
John O'Dowd, VOA Associates
Jeff Lee, Lee and Associates