1201 Alabama Avenue, SE (at 12th Street)
Dear Mr. Falcicchio:
In its public meeting of 21 May conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept design for a new six-story office building on the historic St Elizabeths East Campus, to be located on Parcel 17 at 1201 Alabama Avenue, SE. The Commission approved the concept, providing the following comments for the development of the design.
The Commission members expressed support for the proposed building, including its curtainwall design, a grid of terracotta panels overlaying metal mullions and vision glass. However, they questioned the use of green as the primary color, noting that this color is seen only on minor trim details on the historic buildings of the St. Elizabeths campus; they instead suggested consideration of a traditional earthen color for the terracotta, which would help relate the new building to the red brick context of the campus. They also suggested extending this terracotta enclosure system up to the sixth floor, as well as onto the curving elevation along Sycamore Drive, in order to unify the building.
Regarding the site design, the Commission members noted the large scale of the proposed project inserted between two differing residential contexts, and they expressed support for the mid-block park that would provide a pedestrian connection between Alabama Avenue and Sycamore Drive. Citing the wide setback along Alabama Avenue, they advised planting a staggered double row of trees along the sidewalk, continuous across the entrance to the mid-block park, to bring additional shade to this public sidewalk with a southern exposure. For the north side, they recommended adding more plantings at the entrance to the park; they suggested repositioning the proposed overhead lighting to the middle of the park instead of at the north end, as well as providing more seating in the middle, to help create an attractive, comfortable space for people to occupy.
The Commission looks forward to the review of a final design, requesting that it include physical material samples; please coordinate the material samples with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
John Falcicchio, Acting Deputy Mayor
D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 317
Washington, DC 20004
cc: Michael Winstanley, Winstanley Architects
Jeff Lee, Lee and Associates