3999 8th Street, SE
Dear Mr. Anderson:
In its public meeting of 19 November conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a proposed final design for the new community recreation center building at 3999 8th Street, SE, part of the redevelopment of the Ferebee-Hope Elementary School site. The Commission did not take an action and provided the following comments.
The Commission members expressed appreciation for the contribution that the new recreation center will make to its community, but they criticized the documentation for its lack of graphic and conceptual clarity. They commented that the composition of the revised building design appears too busy, particularly on its front facade, unresolved in its massing and resembling a random collage of different materials without a clear compositional strategy. While acknowledging the exterior expression of the swimming pool enclosure, they noted that the large gymnasium has not been given a similar identity, and they expressed support for the use of fritted glass to relieve the building’s boxy volumes. They commented that the frame-like metal cornice line is too strongly articulated, and they questioned if the entrance canopy should extend across the gymnasium facade as proposed. For the next submission, they recommended developing a simpler, clearer strategy that uses a hierarchy of primary and secondary materials to express the building’s program and articulate its massing.
The Commission strongly encourages the project team to work with the staff on the development of the design for the community recreation center. 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
Washington, DC 20009
cc: John Burke, Studio Twenty-Seven Architecture
Eliel Alfon, Hughes Group Architects
Kevin Mehm, KIPP DC