3800 Reservoir Road, NW
Dear Mr. Morey:
In its meeting of 15 September, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept proposal for a new hospital building and extensive site improvements at the north end of the Georgetown University campus (case number OG 16-110). The Commission approved the concept submission, adopting the report of the Old Georgetown Board (enclosed), and provided several recommendations for the development of the design.
The Commission members expressed support for the overall concept of an elongated building on a north-south alignment to provide a more ordered eastern face to the existing complex of hospital buildings, as well as the proposal to construct extensive green landscapes above subterranean parking. They recognized the importance of the open space along the east side of the new building as a major campus access route from Reservoir Road, and they commented that its relationship to the adjacent arcade of the new building should be reinforced with a tree canopy that corresponds to the arcade’s ceiling plane. Accordingly, they recommended large shade trees instead of the proposed ornamental cherry trees, citing the improved pedestrian comfort and noting that ample soil depth for these larger trees must be provided above the below-grade parking structure. At the point of conflict between the primary north-south pedestrian route and the vehicular access drive near Reservoir Road, they recommended emphasizing diagonal connections between the Reservoir Road sidewalk and the north-south walk, and possibly eliminating the northernmost segment of the walk as a vestige of earlier diagrammatic planning for pedestrian circulation.
The Commission and the Old Georgetown Board look forward to further review of this project as the design is developed. Please coordinate the next submission with the staff, which is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Robin A. Morey
Vice President, Planning and Facilities Management
New South, Lower Level
Washington, DC 20057
cc: Shalom Baranes, Shalom Baranes Associates
Regina Knox Woods, MedStarHealth
Encl: Report of the Old Georgetown Board, 15 September 2016
OG 16-110 (HPA 16-182)
3800 Reservoir Road, NW
(Square 1321, Lots 824-826, 833)
MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
New hospital building, Site work
(Reviewed: Sep 2016, Jul 2016, Jun 2016, Feb 2016)
REPORT: The applicant, Georgetown University for MedStar Health, has proposed a six-story building that would be located at the eastern end of the medical complex, in what is currently a parking lot. The building would be approximately 574’ long by 110’ wide, and 119’ tall (including penthouse). The underground portion of the structure includes the entrance, service, and parking. Landscaped plazas would be located above the three-level structure and would incorporate the area currently occupied by the Kober-Cogan building (1959) which would be demolished. The project is seen as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide a northern gateway to the campus.
Over the course of its review, the Old Georgetown Board (OGB) questioned the site plan with its crossing of pedestrian and vehicular traffic patterns as a result of the placement of the garage ramp. After evaluating numerous configurations for the garage access, the OGB has no objection to the concept design for the proposed forecourt with a ramp parallel to Reservoir Road and a pedestrian entry plaza to the east and stairs to the west. However, the OGB questions the placement of the steps for seating that would overlook a significant traffic artery and recommends further development of a landscape solution. The OGB also cautions about appurtenances in the open lawn—garage exhaust and emergency stairs, traffic signs, site furniture, etc.—and recommends keeping their design simple to reduce visual clutter.
The Board members questioned the mass and elevation treatment of the immense building. The northern end of the east elevation would relate to the scale of St. Mary’s Hall situated across the green plaza, but the remainder of the elevation has undergone various design treatments. At the September 2016 meeting, the OGB did not support the proposed division of the façade into three similar bays. Instead, the OGB recommended development of the previous design reviewed at the July 2016 meeting in which a terracotta fin-wall system would offer differentiation and relative simplicity. In addition, the OGB recommended further development of the relationship of the building to the landscape, and that the color of the fritted glass at the north end tie the building together.
RECOMMENDATION: No objection to concept design for proposed six-story building, underground parking garage, site work, and landscaping per supplemental drawings received 7 September 2016 which indicate ramp to garage along Reservoir Road PROVIDED a landscape design is developed for entrance plaza, and east elevation of building is developed based on design with terracotta fin-wall system as shown in drawings received 16 June 2016. File new submission at DCRA of design development drawings including architectural details, wall sections, landscape plan, lighting, signs, and street furniture with concept application for review by the Commission of Fine Arts.