801 Mount Vernon Place, NW (Mount Vernon Square at Massachusetts and New York Avenues)
Dear Mr. O’Dell:
In its meeting of 18 May, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept proposal for the rehabilitation and exterior restoration of the historic Carnegie Library, located in Mount Vernon Square. The Commission approved the proposal with the strong recommendation to improve the entire site at the same time as the building undergoes rehabilitation.
The Commission members commended the proposal for its thoughtful approach to restoring and revitalizing the landmark Beaux-Arts library building for use as an Apple store, offices for Events DC, and the continued home of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. They urged that the proposed design perpetuate the character of a public building—particularly in the building’s approaches, front entrance, and central lobby—and they emphasized the importance of the landscape setting of Mount Vernon Square as an essential component of the building’s history and a significant open space in the city for visitors to enjoy. Acknowledging the complex jurisdictional authorities that encompass the square and the library, they requested that the project team work closely with the District of Columbia Government, the National Park Service, and Events DC and its other partners to develop a comprehensive improvement plan that includes the landscape of the square as well as the building. In addition to supporting the goals and programs of the building’s future tenants, the rehabilitation of this landscape would also add a noteworthy and welcome public benefit to the project.
The Commission looks forward to reviewing a revised concept submission, which should include the landscape plan and any proposed signs. As always, the staff is available to assist you with development of the design and the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Gregory A. O’Dell, President & CEO
801 Mount Vernon Place, NW
Washington, DC 20001
cc: Hany Hassan, Beyer Blinder Belle
Mike Brown, Apple
Peter May, National Park Service