OG 16-375

HPA number
HPA 16-666

3401 Water Street, NW
United States

D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Multi-family residence
Five-story roof addition, Alterations
Review Type
Previous Review


Dear Mr. Fuller:

In its meeting of 23 January, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept proposal for a five-story addition and alterations to an existing two-story commercial structure at 3401 Water Street, NW (case number OG 16-375). 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 overall support for the proposed massing of the addition; they noted that it addresses the concerns raised by the Old Georgetown Board for developing this prominent site, regarding its proximity to Key Bridge and view corridors from both Key Bridge and the C&O Canal. They endorsed the report and comments of the Old Georgetown Board, including the guidance to refine the articulation of building enclosure types and balconies, to avoid excessive alteration to the historic configuration of openings in the historic building facades, and to study the design and visual impact of the penthouse and roof terraces. They suggested the installation of green roofs where possible, and they recommended that the proposed treatment of the ground level, including the location of the main entrance, relate to the streetscape projects planned for the immediate area.

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

Scott Fuller, Vice President
IBG Partners
3 New Town Lane
Charleston, SC 29407

cc: Dominic Giordano, BBGM
Andi Adams, Goulston & Storrs

Enclosure: Report of the Old Georgetown Board, 11 January 2017


OG 16-375 (HPA 16-666)
3401 Water Street, NW
(Square 1183, Lot 813)
Multi-Family Residence
Five-story roof addition, Alterations
(Reviewed: Jan 2017, Dec 2016, Oct 2016)

REPORT: The applicant, 3401 Water Street LLC, proposes a five-story addition and alterations to the existing two-story commercial structure, as a multi-family residence. 3401 Water Street consists of a brick eastern portion that was constructed 1939, and a concrete western portion that was constructed 1946, as garages for the Crystal Ice Company. The building has seen considerable alterations over the years, notably to the fenestration, and with the introduction of steel support piers for the Whitehurst Freeway in 1949 that are notched into the Water Street facade. The building sits on a prominent site with the Key Bridge to the west, the C&O Canal to the North, and with the proposed addition it would be visible from along the Potomac.

The proposed scope of work is for an addition that would respond to the bend in the C&O Canal; massing would be broken down through multi-story projecting sections on all four elevations through the use of a paneled cladding system on the projecting sections, while the main block of the addition is proposed to be clad in brick and would step down to the west, with an angled elevation facing Key Bridge. The facade would consist of a series of setback sections with punched vertical windows and both recessed and projecting balconies, with an entrance down to ground level on the 34th Street cul-de-sac. Alterations to the fenestration in the existing structure are proposed; at the first floor, large casement windows and a series of doors are proposed, followed by punched casement windows on the second floor. The scope of the proposed demolition work would include interior partition walls, portions of the concrete slabs, portions of the rear (north) wall, and the entire roof.

Over the course of its review, the Old Georgetown Board (OGB) stated that the prominence of the site warrants a carefully conceived design; noted concern over the impact of the proposed addition on the view corridors from Key Bridge, the C&O Canal, and the Potomac; as well as concern over the proximity and bulk of the proposed addition in relation to Key Bridge.

After evaluating numerous massing studies for the addition, the OGB has no objection to the concept design for the proposed addition, and stated that the applicant had responded to the concerns raised related to the massing, proximity to Key Bridge, and view corridors from both Key Bridge and the C&O Canal. However, the OGB expressed continued concern over the proposed alterations to the fenestration and related demolition to the historic commercial structure, the proposed addition of projecting balconies facing Key Bridge, and the proposed rooftop pool and deck. The OGB recommended further design development of the proposed fenestration, proposed treatment of the southeast corner, and stressed the importance of arriving at a coherent design which could only be accomplished through the careful development of the details and materials.

RECOMMENDATION: No objection to concept design for proposed alterations and five-story addition per supplemental drawings received 15 December 2016, with further refinement of proposed massing, fenestration, and retention of historic fabric. File new design development submission with concept application at DCRA, with working drawings including details and dimensions, for review by the Commission.