Scott Road, NW
Dear Mr. McManus:
In its meeting of 18 March, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the concept design submission for a new facility to replace the Scott Building on the historic campus of the Armed Forces Retirement Home on North Capitol Street. The Commission endorsed the proposal to replace the existing Scott Building with a building of more appropriate scale but did not take an action, requesting that the Armed Forces Retirement Home return with a revised concept design.
In their discussion, the Commission members noted the multiple planning and design issues influencing this proposal: the varying scale and character of nearby buildings; the framing of the partially defined central quadrangle; the importance of views from this elevated location, particularly the historic view from the Lincoln Cottage toward central Washington; the north-south axis which organizes the historic campus; and the east-west pedestrian movement between this building and the adjacent residential building. The Commission members encouraged further exploration of these issues in developing the design, which they concluded does not yet provide a satisfactory solution. In particular, they endorsed the creation of an open space west of the building that would emphasize the panoramic southward view but questioned the location of the loading dock immediately below; they supported the modest scale of the proposed building and varied massing of the south facade but suggested further exploration of breaking the building into smaller elements. They were unanimous in their assessment that the proposed north entrance appears grandiose in relation to the building's function, context, and anticipated usage patterns; they recommended further consideration of expressing the campus axes in the form and organization of the building, as well as creating a less institutional character for this historic and residential setting.
In general, the Commission members encouraged further study of the site design for all the program elements. Regarding the proposed cooling-tower enclosure, they supported the preferred location farther from Sheridan Hall but recommended that its orientation be further studied in relation to the context. The Commission also recommended that the materials of this structure be similar to those used for other buildings on campus.
The Commission looks forward to reviewing a revised concept design for this building. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, AIA
Steven McManus, Deputy COO/CFO
Armed Forces Retirement Home
3700 North Capitol Street, NW
P.O. Box 1305
Washington, DC 20011-8400
cc: Frank DiMella, DiMella Shaffer Architects