2715 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Dear Mr. Lanier:
In its meeting of 21 June, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a revised concept proposal for a five-story residential and commercial building at 2715 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (case number OG 18-222). The Commission approved the concept submission, adopting the report of the Old Georgetown Board (enclosed) and providing the following additional comments for the development of the final design.
The Commission members commended the development of the landscape design, which they characterized as unified and seamless, and which creates a green gateway into the historic district. In accordance with the recommendations of the Old Georgetown Board, they supported the substitution of beech trees along M Street, and they recommended that the blackgum trees at the west plaza be planted as large specimens since they are slow-growing. For the design of the plaza itself, they expressed appreciation for the acoustical buffer provided by the proposed perimeter planters, but they asked for more development of the texture and profile of the stone walls; they also raised concern about the character of the stone blocks at the west end of the plaza, requesting that these be developed further to appear less like barriers.
For the design of the building, the Commission members supported the change in the brick color from red to a mid-tone gray; they commented that the building establishes an appropriate scale, with well-composed elevations on all sides. For the use of natural ipé wood on the terraces, they suggested consideration of eliminating the sealant to allow an even, gray weathering; they also expressed support for the rooftop railings as originally proposed and recommended that these could remain at the discretion of the project team.
In its approval of the revised concept, the Commission delegated the final review of this project to the Old Georgetown Board. Please coordinate the next submission with the staff, which is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Anthony Lanier, President
3307 M Street, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20007
cc: Lisa Delplace, Oehme, van Sweden & Associates
Eduardo Souto de Moura, Souto Moura Arquitectos
Salo Levinas, Shinberg/Levinas Architectural Design
Peter May, National Park Service
Encl.: Report of the Old Georgetown Board, 21 June 2018
The applicant, EastBanc, submitted a revised concept (design development) proposal for a five-story mixed-use building situated at the prominent intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and M Street, a gateway site into the Old Georgetown historic district from the main part of the city. The scope of work also includes redesigning the adjacent reservations to the east and west of the site under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.
At the meetings of April 2016, the Old Georgetown Board (OGB) and Commission of Fine Arts approved the design with recommendations for developing the details of the building and site, particularly for the concept of the plaza as a social space, with a more permeable design that encourages pedestrian movement through the site and extends the setting of the building from curb to curb. Subsequently, the building design has been refined without major changes and includes the display of an on-site mockup. At its meeting of 7 June, the OGB approved the architectural changes, including the addition of a small air-lock vestibule at the north elevation and a change in the color of the brick from a red-brown to a medium-gray tone, but requested further refinement of visible building elements at the balconies and terraces, including the reduction of the extent of guardrails, the location of balcony lighting, and the color and texture of the balcony ceilings. In addition, the landscape design for the plaza has been more extensively redesigned with a bolder, more gestural plan that encourages natural movement through the site but separates the sidewalks decisively with planters; the plaza is intended to connect conceptually and visually to the DC-owned triangular parcel to the west currently proposed as a location for a Georgetown gateway marker. The OGB requested study of the ramp to eliminate the need for a guardrail, further information on signage, and a study of the specification of canopy trees for their effect of framing the urban vista.
No objection to revised concept design for a five-story mixed-use building as shown in drawings dated 18 May 2018, with recommendations to reduce the extent of guardrails at green roof areas, to develop the design of the balconies, to eliminate the handrail at the plaza ramp, and to study the specification of street trees. File new submission at DCRA of permit drawings to include wall sections, masonry, lighting, and railing details, and material samples.