CFA 17/MAR/16-3


3310 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC
United States

D.C. Public Library
Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library
New replacement building
Review Type
Revised concept
Previous Review


Dear Mr. Reyes-Gavilan:

In its meeting of 17 March, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept proposal for the new Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library at 3310 Connecticut Avenue, NW. The Commission members expressed appreciation for the responsiveness of the revised design to their guidance from the previous review and approved the submission with the following comments.

Noting the overall improvement in the design of the building, the Commission members commented that the smaller scale and redesigned front facade of the library along Connecticut Avenue establishes a more appropriate relationship between the building and its context. However, they questioned whether the adjustment to recess the monumental reading room so far behind the primary plane of the north facade compromises the library’s civic presence; they recommended refining this composition of volumes to maintain the clear expression of the library’s central space. They found that the reduction in the number of materials has resulted in a more elegant building, but they recommended further simplification of the exterior design on this relatively small structure, observing an unnecessary complexity in the use of the same material (such as limestone) for both surface and detail.

Concerning the proposed site design, the Commission members requested further documentation of topographic conditions, including spot elevations, and illustrations of how the landscape would meet the sidewalk and the building. In general, they recommended a refinement of the landscape design to include: eliminating the small panels of lawn set within the urban sidewalk; studying the specification and placement of trees along the Macomb Street elevation; and further developing the sunken garden and the adjacent retaining wall along Newark Street.

The Commission requested a revised concept submission with more complete documentation. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Richard Reyes-Gavilan, Executive Director
D.C. Public Library
901 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

cc: Matt Bell, Perkins Eastman