4500 Van Ness Street, NW
Dear Mr. Weaver:
In its meeting of 17 September, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a fourth concept design submission for a new recreation center and reconfigured playground at Friendship Park, also known as Turtle Park, located at 4500 Van Ness Street, NW. Despite having reservations about the merits of the design, the Commission approved the submission with the following comments, and delegated review of the final design to the staff.
The Commission members expressed reluctance to delay implementation of the project, notwithstanding their concerns about the quality of the design. They acknowledged the complexity of the site and its intense programmatic requirements, and they noted the responsiveness of the landscape design to incorporate some of their comments. Noting that the existing cherry laurel hedge hides the boundary fence, they suggested no further plantings be added to obscure this feature; they expressed concern that the long-term viability of mature existing trees on the site could be compromised by the proposed understory plantings. They commented that the proposed design for the recreation center building remains an awkward composition of conflicting elements—with a sharply angled roof rising high at one end to evoke a feeling of uplift, then abruptly sinking to collide with a solid wall at the other—but cited the stated support by the D.C. Departments of General Services and Parks and Recreation for the Commission's endorsement of the design.
The Commission delegated the review of the final design to the staff, which, as always, is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Christopher Weaver, Acting Director
D.C. Department of General Services
2000 14th Street, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
cc: Edwin Schmidt, Fanning/Howey Associates
John Stokes, D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation