SL 09-080

HPA number
HPA 09-291

Embassy of Canada
501 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
United States

D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Embassy of Canada
Security vestibule addition
Review Type


Dear Ms. Wade:

In its meeting of 17 June, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the concept submission for a new entrance vestibule for the Canadian Chancery at 501 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (case number SL 09-080). The Commission approved the concept design and provided the following comments.

The Commission members acknowledged that the proposed design was shaped by rigorous security requirements; they commented that the design team appears to have met these requirements without causing significant harm to the public realm of Pennsylvania Avenue. The Commission members observed that Arthur Erickson's design for the building was expressive of the openness of Canadian culture and of the relationship between Canada and the United States, remarking that this openness would be better served without the addition of a prominent security vestibule; they invited further exploration of any alternative solutions to address the need for a secure entrance on Pennsylvania Avenue.

In their approval of the vestibule design concept, the Commission members noted that the dimensions and spacing of the mullions as proposed give an unintended effect of solidity rather than transparency, particularly in the oblique view along Pennsylvania Avenue. In addition, they suggested that the anticipated replacement of the glass adjacent to the existing exterior stairs be studied in conjunction with the vestibule, as these two portions of the building facade will be viewed together from the street.

The Commission looks forward to reviewing the next submission. As always, the staff is available to assist you.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, AIA

Sally Wade, Consul
Embassy of Canada
501 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

cc: Rafael Scasserra, Gensler