St. Elizabeths Hospital, West Campus
2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE
Dear Ms. Wright:
In its meeting of 17 November, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a new concept for the adaptive reuse of and addition to Building 49 at the St. Elizabeths West Campus to accommodate ancillary functions of the Department of Homeland Security headquarters. The Commission approved the concept with several recommendations for further study and development of the design.
The Commission members strongly supported the proposed treatment of the addition as a landscape solution, while noting that a potential future addition above the proposed gymnasium would have a significant effect on the appearance of the overall building complex. They suggested that these impacts could be tempered by further study of the structural system and disposition of program spaces to maintain daylight where appropriate for below–grade interior spaces and to allow the massing of any future addition to step back from the lower walls.
In general, the Commission members commented that the stone walls containing the addition's program should be studied further in their scale, detailing, and compositional relationships; they recommended the possible introduction of articulation of the walls related to the existing building as well as a more visible and welcoming treatment of the entrance. They questioned the design of the short curved site wall across the street from the proposed addition, recommending that the wall's height be minimized and its ends tapered. In addition, they requested further study of the emergency egress stair proposed to be added to the exterior of the historic building.
The Commission looks forward to further review of the design. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Mina Wright, Director
Office of Planning and Design Quality
U.S. General Services Administration, National Capital Region
301 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20407–0001
cc: Thomas Mozina, Perkins+Will