801 Mount Vernon Place, NW (Mount Vernon Sq. at Massachusetts and New York Avenues)
Dear Mr. O’Dell:
In its meeting of 21 March, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a final design submission for alterations to the streetscape and building exterior of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, occupying the blocks to the north of Mount Vernon Square. The Commission approved the design, conditional on the resolution of the issues identified below.
The Commission members commended the design of the site and building modifications as inventive and artistic, while noting that the proposed interventions will require a substantial ongoing investment in maintenance and programming. They advised that the design should anticipate the possibility that long-term tenants will not be found for all the proposed retail spaces, and they strongly recommended that these spaces be designed to be attractive and useful contributors to street life even when not occupied by lease tenants. They supported public access to the proposed roof terrace and suggested that the wall-mounted sculpture to be located above the terrace access stair could incorporate light. They recommended that the signage and wayfinding program be more clear, and they requested the submission of comprehensive information about this program for final review by the staff.
The Commission looks forward to review of the Metro station entrance—the second phase of the proposed work—and to the completion of this ambitious program of improvements to the public experience of the convention center. Please coordinate with the staff in the resolution of the design details for the completion of the final review.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Gregory O’Dell, Chief Executive Officer
801 Mount Vernon Place, NW
Washington, DC 20001
cc: Yuval Zohar, OMA
Hallie Boyce, OLIN