3030 G Street, SE
Dear Mr. Anderson:
In its public meeting of 21 January conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept design submission for the replacement of the Joy Evans Therapeutic Recreation Center, located at 3030 G Street, SE. The Commission did not take an action, instead providing the following comments for the development of the design.
The Commission members expressed support for the proposal to replace the existing recreation center building with a new, contemporary facility, but they found that the design does not achieve the intentions of the project as presented. They commented that biophilic design principles—presented as integral components of the design—are not realized in the building architecture; they cited the insufficient connection to natural landscapes, the lack of detail at multiple scales, and the use of artificial cladding materials. They expressed appreciation for the generally calm character of the building design, but they raised concerns about the heavy and irregular roof form, citing its lack of an evident stormwater management system, as well as about the folded planes that meet the ground, which might appear arbitrary and could obscure the entrances.
Regarding the site design, the Commission members commented that it appears fragmented and over-programmed, lacking an overall concept, and they strongly advised reducing the number of program elements to simplify and bring coherence to the plan. In addition, they commented that the landscape lacks an authentic experience of nature, and they recommended striving for a more natural character, similar to the adjacent federal parkland; they also suggested developing intentional views from the building to natural areas of the landscape—all of which would help realize the aspirations of biophilic design in support of the therapeutic program.
For the further development of the building and landscape design, the Commission requested that the project team consult with the staff which, as always, 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: Matt Davitt, DLR Group
Brent Sisco, D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation