301 Franklin Street, NE
Dear Ms. Gillis:
In its meeting of 17 November, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a second concept submission for the replacement of the Edgewood Recreation Center at 301 Franklin Street, NE. The Commission endorsed the general design approach but did not take an action, providing comments for the development of the design in a revised concept submission.
The Commission members expressed appreciation for the improved documentation of the proposal in comparison to the first submission, and they emphasized that the project will be a great neighborhood park in the city. They noted the expansive views available from the upper areas of the site and suggested careful study of the panoramic sightlines, possibly including design features that would celebrate rather than constrain the views. While they supported the site design strategy of using curvilinear forms as a reference to the tributary of Tiber Creek that historically flowed through this area, they commented that the use of circle motifs in the site plan appears excessive, and the configuration of ramps and paths is overly complex. Observing that the design accommodates the site’s steep topography with an architectural treatment of the landscape, they questioned in particular the design of the splash park, a walled area located at the convergence of several circulation routes; they commented that its angular geometry seems inconsistent with the overall site design, and its many concrete ramp walls could create an unpleasant space.
The Commission members commented that the roof terrace area designated as an urban farm, as well as the community garden spaces to the east, may be poorly sited and may receive insufficient sunlight; they suggested the consideration of alternative locations. They also recommended that more shade trees be planted at the west side of the building along the curving terrace edge facing the playing fields. For the recreation center building itself, they questioned whether the proposed brown color of the exterior panels would be appropriate for the extensive facades of the large gymnasium volume, and they suggested investigation of alternatives.
The Commission looks forward to further review of this project. As always, the staff is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Greer Johnson Gillis, Interim Director
D.C. Department of General Services
2000 14th Street, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
cc: Susan Hickey, Moody Nolan
Holt Jordan, Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture