Woodrow Wilson High School
3950 Chesapeake Street, NW
Dear Mr. Lew:
In its meeting of 19 November, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the proposed concept design for the modernization of Woodrow Wilson High School located at 3950 Chesapeake Street, NW. The Commission commended the design team on the logic of the overall project planning and expressed a preference for retaining the historic fabric to the greatest extent possible while meeting the programmatic purpose of the facility. The Commission approved the concept design with the following comments.
The Commission members expressed concern about the unresolved design of the new main entrance—particularly the descending approach, the landscape, and the canopy—which they characterized as weak. They recommended that the strips of planting be reconfigured as a cohesive landscape to simplify the composition and to elevate the entrance experience, suggesting that the level change could be accommodated within an enclosed entrance structure. They acknowledged the challenges presented by the many levels of the existing building and site but strongly supported working with the historic fabric of the building and modifying the ground plane to improve circulation flow. In addition, the Commission recommended the further study of the building exterior, noting that the extensive additions, re-cladding, and creation of new openings in the historic fabric offer the opportunity for a consistent approach to proportions, articulation, and detailing among the various building components.
The Commission looks forward to reviewing the design development of the exterior of the building in forthcoming submission. As always, the staff is available to assist you with future submissions.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, AIA
Allen Lew, Executive Director
Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization
2400 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
cc: Chris Graae, Cox Graae+Spack Architects