Federal Office Building #8 (former Food and Drug Administration)
2nd and C Streets, SW
Dear Mr. McGill:
In its meeting of 21 January, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the final plans for the modernization and renovation of Federal Office Building #8 (FOB 8), located at 2nd and C Streets, SW, including the addition of a security entrance pavilion, new site landscaping, and perimeter security features. The members of the Commission expressed appreciation for the detailed and thorough presentation of the project; they welcomed the proposed comprehensive urban improvement plan to rehabilitate public spaces in the 3rd and C Streets neighborhood, in which FOB 8 will be the first project. The Commission approved the design for the site and building subject to the resolution of several design issues that are delegated to the Commission staff for final approval.
In its review of the design for the site landscaping and perimeter security, the Commission approved Option #2 featuring a dark color for the curb-side metal bollards set on a flush curb around the tree boxes and without a horizontal top rail, in contrast to the light-colored assembly of bollards, rail, and masonry base associated with the building yard. For the design of the plaza, the Commission members questioned the selection of the bright-green recycled-glass paving material for the decorative banding in the plaza, recommending that the cooler gray-green material be used for all of the plaza accents. They expressed concern about the details of these decorative bands as they intersect the curb defining the lawn areas; they also noted that the details of the plaza lighting system were not included in the presentation, and delegated the final review and approval of these last items to the Commission staff.
In their consideration of the final plans for the building modernization, the Commission members commended the tremendous transformation of the former laboratory building into a modern office facility. While they supported the subtle treatment of the glass spandrel panels to appear seamless with the clear-glass windows, they raised concerns regarding the areas of floor-to-ceiling glass—which, while creating a much more open effect, may eventually reveal unsightly items such as boxes, paper, wires, and the backs of furniture. They suggested that possible ways to screen the lower portion of the windows should be studied, such as by adding a ceramic frit to the glass, to hide these items when viewed from outside.
The Commission looks forward to the transformation of this building and the surrounding area and to the review of future projects that are generated by the 3rd and C Street improvement initiative. Please coordinate the submission of the delegated items with the Commission staff, which as always is available to assist you.
Thomas E. Luebke, AIA
Special Assistant for Regional Coordination
National Capital Region
U.S. General Services Administration
301 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20407-0001
cc: Dennis B. Carmichael, AECOM
Joseph A. Boggs, Boggs & Partners Architects