1051 29th Street, NW
Dear Mr. Levy:
In its meeting of 20 September, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a revised concept design for a new multi-unit residential building and associated landscape at the site of the historic West Heating Plant at 1051 29th Street, NW (case number OG 17-317). Expressing appreciation for the additional documentation and the responsiveness to the concerns raised in the previous review, the Commission approved the submission with the following comments.
The Commission members expressed strong support for replacing the West Heating Plant with a new residential project that would evoke qualities of the historic industrial building, and for rehabilitating its site with a new urban park. They commended the design’s approach of extending a preservation sensibility beyond the retention of historic building material to the expression of other defining qualities—such as mass, structural character, and industrial heritage. They recommended applying the same approach to the park by emphasizing a bold scale and industrial materiality, possibly incorporating the site’s remnant technological objects without sentimentalizing them. They also suggested introducing movement to elements of the landscape, such as the trellis, similar to the movement of the proposed window screens of the new residential building. Additional improvements to the park’s design could include providing for pedestrian movement across the linear water features and using a non-metallic material for the bench seats to be comfortable throughout the year. Finally, they observed that the large beam along 29th Street unifies the entire site and building, and they recommended further study of the tectonic articulation of this element.
As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Richard H. Levy, Managing Principal
The Levy Group, LLC
1321 ½ Wisconsin Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20007
cc: David Adjaye, Adjaye Associates
Laurie Olin, OLIN
Nnenna Lynch, The Georgetown Company