215 G Street, NE
Dear Mr. Anderson:
In its meeting of 18 April, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept submission for the renovation of and additions to the Capitol Hill Montessori School (formerly Logan Elementary School) at 215 G Street, NE. The Commission approved the general concept with the following recommendations for the development of the design.
The Commission members expressed support for the overall configuration and massing of the new additions, which include two rear pavilions appended to the south of the existing school and a larger addition to the west. However, they questioned the use of two separate architectural vocabularies for the building additions—panelized red brick for the rear additions, and a more contemporary enclosure system of metal and glass for the western addition—and they advised using a common aesthetic instead. Although they said that either aesthetic is conceptually feasible and would accommodate the Montessori pedagogical program, they commented that the western addition as proposed would have an industrial appearance, while the rear brick pavilions would more successfully reinterpret the architecture of the historic school. They also recommended moving the western addition toward the property line along 2nd Street to increase the width of the courtyard space between the new and existing buildings.
Regarding the site design, the Commission members expressed appreciation for the resourceful use of the limited open space. Noting that the historic main entrance plaza would be one of the largest open spaces on the campus, they recommended further developing its design to create an accommodating place with a clear spatial hierarchy; this could include adding seating or stairs along the edge of the plaza. In order to improve the safety and welcoming character of the play area adjacent to the parking lot, they recommended reducing the number of parking spaces and using topography to enclose the space rather than relying on an unappealing fence or a series of discrete earthen mounds.
The Commission looks forward to further review of this project. Please coordinate the next submission with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Keith A. Anderson, Director
D.C. Department of General Services
2000 14th Street, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
cc: David Bagnoli, Studio MB
Ronnie McGhee, R. McGhee & Associates
Bryan Hanes, Studio Bryan Hanes