Watterston House (National Indian Gaming Association)
224 2nd Street SE, (Square 762, Lot 07)
Dear Mr. Van Norman:
In its meeting of 19 February, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the concept design for additions to and renovation of the National Indian Gaming Association's headquarters in the historic Watterston House at 224 Second Street, SE. While approving the general concept for the location and massing of the addition, the Commission requested that the applicant submit a revised concept to address the following comments.
In considering the applicant's proposal, which would approximately double the building area on the property, the Commission members commented that the three-story addition should be respectful in character and subsidiary in its perceived scale to the historic residence. They supported the strategy of locating the addition at the rear of the property—where it is least visible from the street—to incorporate existing garage structures and new underground parking. However, the Commission members raised concerns about the expression of the addition's architecture, which they suggested was neither stylistically sympathetic to the Federal-era structure nor a successfully integrated design derived from Native American building traditions as intended by the architect. Specifically, theynoted that the circular form in the first floor plan was not developed in the programming and design of the upper floors or extended into the garden; they also suggested that simpler and established ways of articulating the addition in relation to the historic building and garden be studied.
In their discussion, the Commission members noted that the character of the property is defined by the relationship of the historic buildings to the surrounding open space. They commented that the front yard forms part of the street edge and should be designed to respond to the conditions of the urban frontage, rather than be treated as an extension of the private space of the side yard with its curvilinear path. They also recommended that the side yard be designed as a complete space unto itself, perhaps as a garden room or integrated into the design as an extension of the interior, rather than as the leftover space defined by the surrounding structures.
The Commission looks forward to seeing the further development of the design for the addition and alterations to the property in the next submission. As always, the staff is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, AIA
Mark Van Norman, Executive Director
National Indian Gaming Association
224 Second Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
cc: Rich Markus, Rich Markus Architects