University of the District of Columbia
4200 Connecticut Avenue at Van Ness Street, NW
Dear Ms. Jumper:
In its meeting of 19 May, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the University of the District of Columbia's revised Van Ness Campus draft master plan and a revised concept design for a new student center. The Commission approved both revised submissions and offered the following comments.
The Commission members expressed appreciation for the analysis of the campus and its context in the draft master plan and suggested that the desired character of the campus architecture and exterior spaces be further defined. The master plan should also include provisions to guide any future additions to existing buildings as the university's needs evolve.
For the proposed new student center, the Commission members noted the responsiveness to their previous comments and made additional recommendations to refine the project. Commenting that the top of the clock tower is unresolved, they suggested that the clock could be emphasized more as a public feature. They also recommended that the portal at the top of the main exterior staircase leading to Dennard Plaza be a larger opening and articulate more generously the main entrance passage into the heart of the campus.
In general, the Commission members expressed concern regarding the relationship of the new architecture to the existing buildings. For example, they questioned the proposed brick base, which they said seems unrelated to the palette of the existing campus; they suggested using another material that would better relate to the colors and the architectural concrete of the other campus buildings. They also suggested studying further the portions of the new building directly adjacent to the existing structures, which they described as having an awkward relationship in the proposed design.
The Commission looks forward to seeing the next phase of both projects. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submissions.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Vice President of Facilities and Real Estate
The University of the District of Columbia
4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Building 39, Room 301-P
Washington, DC 20008
cc: Douglas McCoach, RTKL
Roland G. Lemke, Cannon Design
Michael Marshall, Marshall Moya Architects