Reno Rose School
4820 Howard Street, NW
Dear Mr. Hanlon:
In its meeting of 17 November, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the concept design for the rehabilitation of and addition to the Reno Rose School located at 4820 Howard Street, NW, to incorporate the building into the adjacent Alice Deal Middle School complex. The Commission approved the concept design with the following comments and recommendations.
The Commission members expressed appreciation for the presentation of historic information on the Reno School and supported the overall planning proposed for the project. However, they raised strong concerns about the design of the addition's west facade facing the playing fields–likely the side of the building most often seen by the students–particularly as it contributes to the larger composition of historic buildings and previous additions to the Deal complex. Commenting on the emphatic and inappropriate massiveness of the two–story framed classroom elements, they recommended that this elevation be revised in its scale and articulation to be more harmonious with the existing architectural context. They suggested that the design of the addition could instead express the continuity of internal circulation with the adjacent complex, without necessarily extending the axiality of the historic school building to the new west facade. Noting the goal of creating an addition that supports both the historic Reno School building and the Deal complex as a whole, they cited the success of the more asymmetrical and relatively delicate design of the daycare portion of the proposed addition as a possible compositional approach.
The Commission is highly supportive of the District of Columbia Public School's initiative to preserve the historic Reno School as part of the Alice Deal Middle School and looks forward to further review as the design is developed. As always, the staff is available to assist with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Brian Hanlon, Interim Executive Director
D.C. Department of General Services
2400 East Capitol Street
Washington, DC 20003
cc: Ronnie McGhee, R. McGhee & Associates