SL 09-115


United Unions Building
1750 New York Avenue, NW
United States

D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
United Unions Building
Additions and alterations
Review Type
Revised concept
Previous Review


Dear Mr. McHugh:

In its meeting of 15 October, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed three revised concept design options for additions and alterations to the United Unions Building at 1750 New York Avenue, NW. While supporting the concept of small additions to the building and encouraging the project goals of adding a restaurant and improving the visibility of the building entrance, the Commission questioned the proposed character of the additions and landscape, and requested further development of the design in a revised concept submission.

The Commission members acknowledged the further exploration of folded metal forms but found the results unconvincing, concluding that the solution should be architectural rather than sculptural in character. In their discussion, they suggested that simpler forms and materials, possibly lighter and more delicate in character, would be more complementary to the architecture of the existing building. The Commission members also noted that the building sits on a prominent site surrounded by a diverse context of large-scale institutional buildings and parks; they suggested further study of the reciprocal urban effects between the context and the project, and requested that the adjacent conditions be documented in future submissions. They also requested further development of the site and landscape design—informed by the context and integrated with the architecture—which they saw as critical to the success of the project. Finally, they expressed support for the use of steel mesh rather than glass canopies for the restaurant's outdoor dining area and encouraged the use of a single art installation on the terrace that would be clearly distinct from the more architectural interventions.

The Commission looks forward to a revised concept submission that addresses these concerns. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, AIA

Ed McHugh
United Unions, Inc.
1750 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006<

cc: P. Robert George, United Unions
Anik K. Jhaveri, Mancini Duffy