Old Convention Center Site Redevelopment
Area bounded by New York Avenue, 9th, H, and 11th streets, NW
Dear Mr. Albert:
The Commission of Fine Arts was pleased to comment on the progress of the schematic design for the old convention center site redevelopment at the meeting of 19 April. The Commission members expressed appreciation for the effort to reintroduce a vibrant urban character on this parcel; they reaffirmed their support stated in the last review of the master plan in June 2006 for the general strategy to reintroduce historic streets and alleys and to avoid the impression of a mega-block development. The Commission complimented the development and design team for the quality of the architecture and modulation of the public spaces.
The Commission members supported the developer’s intention to break down the project into smaller pieces rather than to brand the project as a whole. However, they expressed concern about subdividing the building elements to such a degree that the variety of architectural surfaces appear merely applied and not integral to the design concept. The Commission members commented that the use of wood in the facades as a major cladding element is not typical for this scale of urban structure on the external streets but might be appropriate on the internal street elevations. Finally, they recommended that the sections and elevations of the internal streets be carefully studied due to the extremely narrow 24-foot width proposed. They asked that more information be provided, particularly wall sections, to understand better the intention of the proposed building skins with overhanging glass sunshading devices.
The Commission appreciates the opportunity to comment on the project and looks forward to further presentations on the architectural concept as well as the formal review of the landscape elements at its May 2007 meeting. As always, the staff is available to assist you and the design team in coordinating future submissions.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, AIA
Neil O. Albert, Acting Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 317
Washington, DC 20004
cc: Konrad Schlater, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
Harriet Tregoning, D.C. Office of Planning
Armstrong Yakubu, Foster and Partners
Robert Sponseller, Shalom Baranes Associates