CFA 18/MAY/06-6


Lafayette Building (Export-Import Bank Building)
811 Vermont Avenue, NW
United States

U.S. General Services Administration
Lafayette Building (Export-Import Bank Building)
Building modernization, alterations, perimeter security barriers, and streetscape improvements
Review Type


Dear Mr. McGill:

In the meeting of 18 May, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the concept plans for the proposed modernization of the Lafayette Building at 811 Vermont Avenue, NW. The Commission had no objection to the majority of the items in the concept proposal for the building's improvement, including the repair and restoration of the exterior stone facade, the new rooftop mechanical equipment, and either replacement or repair of the windows which depends on the final recommendation of the ongoing window performance evaluation.

For the proposed security barriers around the building, the Commission members suggested that the composition of elements creating the barrier should be given additional study and that the design of the bollards needed more refinement. They suggested that the number and type of elements used in the barrier needed more variety and that the composition and placement of these elements, particularly at the building's main entrance on Vermont Avenue, would be critical to the success of this security installation. For the building's 15th Street frontage, the members found the scheme that placed the barrier line in the middle of the sidewalk preferable to the scheme that located the barrier near the curb, commenting that this center location has greater potential to enhance the streetscape and to create spaces for pedestrian and retail amenities. In addition, the Commission encouraged the General Service Administration to retain the retail tenant spaces which are very important to the vitality of the street and to the character of this unique historic building.

The Commission looks forward to continuing the review of this project and additional future plans for the building's rehabilitation as they are developed. As always, the staff is available to assist you and the design team to help coordinate subsequent submissions.


/s/Thomas Luebke, AIA

Michael McGill
Special Assistant for Regional Coordination
U.S. General Services Administration
National Capital Region
301 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20407-0001

cc: Robert V. Perry, AIA, DMJM Design
Jeff Lee, Lee and Associates, Inc.