3700 O Street, NW
Dear Ms. Tiberi:
In its public meeting of 15 September conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept design for the demolition of two buildings and the construction of two replacement residence halls at Henle Village, a dormitory complex located on the campus of Georgetown University at 3700 O Street, NW (case number OG 22-189). The Commission adopted the report of the Old Georgetown Board (OGB) and approved the concept design with the following comments.
The Commission members expressed support for the general massing, character, and materiality of the proposed residence halls, which would further the goals of providing additional on-campus housing and reinforcing a north–south student life pedestrian corridor. Consistent with the OGB report, they expressed support for the details proposed for several of the facades, such as bays, finials, and loggias, and they suggested introducing similar elements on the east facade, facing the Georgetown Visitation School’s playing field and 35th Street beyond, in order to create a more integrated design and improve the building’s public presence. In addition, they found that the width and depth of the courtyard between the proposed dormitories may restrict daylight for the residential units facing onto it and the landscape within; they suggested refining the design of the upper elevations at the courtyard to maximize solar access, and they requested renderings illustrating the proposed proportions and character of the courtyard.
The Commission and the Old Georgetown Board look forward to further review of this project at the design development phase. Please coordinate the next submission with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Carla Tiberi, University Landscape Architect and Assistant Director of Capital Projects
Planning and Facilities Management
3700 O Street, NW
Washington, DC 20057
cc: Kevin Smith, Robert A. M. Stern Architects
Jonathan Mellon, Goulston & Storrs
Encl.: Report of the Old Georgetown Board, 15 Sept. 2022
OG 22-189 (HPA 22-320)
3700 O Street, NW
(Square 1321, Lot 833)
Demolish two Henle Village buildings for construction of two new residence buildings Concept
(Reviewed in concept as OG 22-189: Jun 2022)
REPORT: In June 2022, the Old Georgetown Board reviewed an initial proposal that included demolition of all existing Henle buildings, to be replaced by a pair of 7-story dormitories above a base with common and support areas. The Board was supportive of the proposed scale, massing, and overall footprint and layout, but raised concerns that the buildings did not relate enough to the Gothic Revival spirit of the Georgetown University campus architecture. The Board encouraged the applicant to refine the design to be less generic in character, incorporating elements that convey the architectural language of the campus. Specific areas of concern were the towers and entrances, particularly at the highly prominent southwest corner, where the Board noted the lack of architectural expression to announce the entrance into the complex. The Board requested that the applicant include more detail about site and landscape plans, as well as the stairway up to the courtyard, and that a landscape architect would be engaged early in the process. The Board also asked that the existing buildings be documented in detail since they would be demolished as a result of this project.
The applicant returned to the September OGB meeting with a substantially revised design, drawing more directly on architectural precedents seen on the campus, with minor changes to the plan, including the retention of the smallest of the existing Henle buildings. The Board continued to support the project overall and recommended concept approval for the design, with its more contextual architectural expression evident in the entrance tower design, the fenestration design, the projecting bays, and the articulation of the top of the building; they also strongly supported retaining one of the existing Henle buildings and the heritage trees. The Board recommended that the applicant return for review in design development, requesting that the east elevation be further developed to relate more to the rest of the building, with more of the same architectural character incorporated into the design for all four elevations. The Board also asked that the stone at the main entrances be better incorporated into the design, particularly at the north elevation.
RECOMMENDATION: NO OBJECTION to concept design for demolition of two existing buildings located in Henle Village, retention of one existing Henle building, and construction of two new buildings, per supplemental drawings received 11 August 2022, PROVIDED the architectural character of the project as a whole is incorporated into the design of the east elevation and the stone at the main entrances is better incorporated into the design. File design-development submission at DCRA with detailed and dimensioned drawings, including documentation for treatment of Henle A and information about the architect for the existing Henle Village, for review by the Commission.