215 G Street, NE
Dear Mr. Anderson:
In its meeting of 18 July, the Commission of Fine Arts Arts reviewed a revised 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 did not take an action, providing the following comments for the refinement of the design.
The Commission members expressed support for the progress of the design, including the engaging connections that have been developed between the interior and exterior classroom areas. However, they found that the new additions’ numerous cladding materials lack the conceptual clarity found on the adjoining historic buildings, which have distinctly primary and secondary materials that clearly articulate the massing and building details. Accordingly, they advised establishing a stronger hierarchy of cladding materials for the new additions, especially for the north elevation of the western addition; refinements should include simplifying the palette of materials, and relating these to the major and minor elements of the massing. They expressed support for the western addition’s projecting porch in relation to the form of the historic buildings, but suggested further study of its proportions; they also suggested consideration of red brick for the base of the new additions, rather than the dark gray brick as presented.
Regarding the site design, the Commission members expressed strong support for the adjustments to the main entrance plaza, as well as for moving the western addition toward the property line along 2nd Street, which will bring more light and air into the new courtyard. However, they continued to question the size, configuration, and programming proposed for the parking lot directly adjacent to the play area, noting that children would feel confined by the fencing separating the two areas. They reiterated their recommendation to reduce the number of parking spaces and to use topography to provide a more appropriate barrier between playing children and the parked cars; they emphasized that these modifications would be critical to providing an outdoor environment compatible with the Montessori educational program.
The Commission looks forward to the next review of the design in a revised concept submission. As always, the staff 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: Ronnie McGhee, R. McGhee & Associates
David Bagnoli, Studio MB
Bryan Hanes, Studio Bryan Hanes