533 48th Place, NE
Dear Mr. Anderson:
In its public meeting of 21 July conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept design for alterations to the building and site of the Lorraine H. Whitlock Elementary School, formerly known as the Maude E. Aiton Elementary School, located at 533 48th Place, NE. The Commission approved the concept submission with the following comments to guide the development of the design.
The Commission members expressed strong support for the stated goal of integrating nature into the design of the building and site. Specifically, they found that the landscape design responds sensitively to the existing conditions—an irregularly shaped parcel sloping down to a greenway and bike trail along the Watts Branch streambed to the north—with a progression of landscape spaces oriented toward the greenway. Understanding the strength of this landscape, they advised that the design of the addition emphasize its relationship to this surrounding natural context, particularly along the north facade, and they recommended that the design of the addition be simplified. In particular, they advised reducing the variety of fenestration and horizontal regulating lines, and they recommended that the material of the addition be primarily a uniform brick without the proposed sections of ground-face concrete block and metal panel. They commented that the consistent use of brick would elegantly unify the non-orthogonal form of the addition with the existing school building, while allowing the existing feature wall of stone adjoining the main entrance to stand out as a contrasting gesture. In the refinement of the elevations, they also recommended avoiding extensive areas of glass, which may be prone to bird strikes.
Noting the range of outstanding design issues, the Commission requested the opportunity to review a revised concept submission at the design development phase. Please continue to 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, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
cc: David Bagnoli, StudioMB
Adrienne McCray, Lee & Associates
Renee Pean, D.C. Public Schools