3300 to 3500 blocks of Connecticut Avenue, NW (between Macomb and Porter Streets)
Dear Mr. Dormsjo:
In its meeting of 18 May, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a second concept submission for modifications to the streetscape and intersections of Connecticut Avenue, NW, between Macomb and Porter Streets. Observing only minimal changes in the design from its previous review, the Commission did not take an action, instead making the following recommendations for the development of a new submission.
The Commission members continued to express support for the overall streetscape improvement project, but they commented that the proposal was difficult to evaluate because of poor conceptual clarity and inadequate presentation materials. They raised concerns that the design continues to lack a coherent streetscape strategy, and they encouraged the project team to explore a solution that is not simply an aggregation of standard or upgraded DDOT streetscape elements, but rather one with a clear conceptual idea that informs every aspect of the design. The thoughtful translation of this idea through fundamental design choices—such as the porosity and texture of the ground, and the relationship between tree boxes and the sidewalk—could create a unified character and sense of place. They cautioned that this character would not be brought about through the widespread use of granite or the dispersal of a single element such as an Art Deco-inspired bollard; they suggested that the programmatic requirement of stormwater management could serve as a conceptual underpinning to bring more coherence to the design.
For the next submission, the Commission members requested diagrams of the ground plane with overlays of the proposed paving, landscape plantings, and furnishings, as well as sections and axonometric drawings of critical areas to better present the intended character and sense of place. They recommended consultation with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Leif A. Dormsjo, Director
D.C. Department of Transportation
55 M Street, SE, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20003
cc: Oliver Boehm, Volkert, Inc.