CFA 19/OCT/23-4


Washington, DC
United States

D.C. Department of General Services
Crummell Community Center
Renovations and additions to building and landscape
Review Type
Submitted Documents


Dear Mr. Hunter:

In its public meeting of 19 October conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept design for the new Crummell Community Center, to be located at 1900 Gallaudet Street, NE, in the Ivy City neighborhood. The Commission did not take an action and provided the following comments for the development of the design.

The Commission members expressed strong support for the initiative to reinvest in this long-neglected property by restoring the historic Crummell School, constructing an addition for multipurpose program spaces, and creating an active new landscape. While they supported the general configuration of pavilions clustered around the existing building, they commented that the design of the pavilions appears to overwhelm the historic school rather than being subordinate to it,⁠ as intended by the project team. Therefore, they suggested lowering the height of the connecting central lobby to establish a stronger pavilion character for the new volumes and to provide visual and spatial relief between the old and new. They further recommended modulating the material and color palette to be more muted in relation to the historic school. For the articulation of the new facades, they acknowledged the importance of providing daylight, but they recommended a more intentional design that uses a more solid building envelope to address solar heat gain, finding that a system of continuous glazing that requires applied fins may not result in the most efficient environmental performance.

For the design of the site, the Commission members identified a lack of coordination between the interior and exterior program areas as well as between the individual landscape elements; they cited the awkward adjacencies of the playground with the parking lot and of the meditation garden with busy Okie Street. They therefore recommended further study of these program adjacencies, with the goal of integrating the building and site elements. They also suggested adding plantings at the new pavilions, especially where proposed interior uses result in expanses of blank exterior walls.

The Commission looks forward to further review of this important new community facility. Please consult with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you with the next submission.

/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Delano Hunter, Acting Director
D.C. Department of General Services
3924 Minnesota Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20019

cc: Suman Sorg, Sorg Design
Bruno Carvalho, Carvalho & Good