SL 03-019


The Freedom Forum
555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
United States

D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Freedom Forum/Newseum
New mixed use building to house the Newseum
Review Type
Previous Review


Dear Mr. Page:

During its meeting of 19 December, the Commission was pleased to review the concept for a new mixed-use building designed for the Newseum to be located at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (Lot 826, Square 491/SL 03-019). While the Commission continues to support the dramatic statement of this innovative building, there are some critical issues that must be addressed because of the prominence of the location on our nation's "main street."

Although the Commission appreciates the proportions of this well-rendered building, the members expressed concern with the assertive quality of the third "bar" or layer, particularly in relation to the Canadian Chancery, but recognizes that it is in relative scale with the newly constructed buildings to the west of Sixth Street. Therefore, the overall massing of the building requires further study in order to maintain the appropriate relationships among all the elements in this precinct of Pennsylvania Avenue. Additionally, the First Amendment panel, the translucency of the facade and the quantity/quality of light emitted from the building continue to be of key interest to the Commission, requiring additional study as the project continues to progress. Finally, the existing proposal for the loading dock seems inappropriately wide, particularly with its relationship to the Canadian Embassy, and requires re-examination of its program functions.

The Commission looks forward to continued review of this project. As always, the staff is available should you, or the design team, have questions or need guidance.


Harry G. Robinson III, FAIA

Max Page
Deputy Director and Vice President
The Freedom Forum World Center
1101 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22209

cc: James Polshek, Polshek Partnership Architects
Edward M. Rogers, Nixon Peabody LLP
Judith H. Renfrew, CarrAmerica
Stephen J. Kuhn, CarrAmerica