Anacostia Naval Station
Thomas Road and Brookley Avenue, SW
Dear Captain Hemstreet:
In its meeting of 21 January, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the concept design for the new administrative facility and warehouse located at Thomas Road and Brookley Avenue, SW, within the Anacostia Naval Station. The Commission did not take an action on the proposed concept but encouraged the general approach of designing the six-story windowless structure within the context of the military post and adjacent federal properties such as the St. Elizabeths West Campus and Shepherd Parkway.
In their discussion, the Commission members acknowledged the considerable constraints involved in finding an appropriate architectural treatment for the program but expressed concern about the height of the building in a sensitive and visible location. They noted the building's inevitable prominence due to its site and size, and therefore recommended a bolder treatment of its facades; they observed that the submitted design has the appearance of a conventional building that is merely missing its windows. Commenting that the proposal does not carry the composition of elements far enough in creating an abstract assembly of volumetric forms, they encouraged further articulation of the building exterior by introducing more contrast of material, pattern, and color of the cladding systems. They noted the unique design opportunity presented by such a large windowless structure and cited historic precedents such as the Larkin Building in Buffalo by Frank Lloyd Wright.
In conclusion, the Commission members encouraged the designers and project managers to continue the exploration of options for resolving the massing and cladding of the building. The Commission looks forward to reviewing a revised concept design. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
Thomas E. Luebke, AIA
Captain H. R. Hemstreet, Commanding Officer
Naval Facilities Engineering Command—Washington
1314 Harwood Street, SE
Washington, DC 20374
cc: David E. Nestleroth, AECOM