500 North Capitol Street, NW
Dear Mr. Otteni:
In its meeting of 21 October, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed two concept alternatives for additions and facade alterations to the office building at 500 North Capitol Street, NW: Scheme A (case number SL 11-004) for extensive modifications to the building, including a complete recladding and an additional story; and Scheme B (case number SL 11-005) for less extensive modifications. The Commission approved the concept design for Scheme A and did not take an action on Scheme B, offering the following comments on both schemes.
In their discussion of Scheme A, the Commission members supported the concept of enclosing the recessed areas at the ground floor and the 8th floor as well as the addition of a 9th floor; they commented favorably on the curtainwall design and the reconfiguration of the building's base. However, they suggested further study of the proportions and composition of the proposed facade, particularly in how the curtainwall types create the impression of articulating the building volume. They also recommended that the landscape design be simplified and more clearly related to the streetscapes of the immediate context.
While the Commission members generally supported Scheme B, including the volumetric changes to the recessed ground and upper levels, as a reasonable proposal to renovate the building efficiently, they commented that the design of the window replacements and selective insertions of new curtainwall elements raised questions about whether these changes would be worthwhile to pursue. They requested that this alternative be resubmitted to address the unresolved design of the enclosure systems as a whole, possibly to introduce more differentiation between the new and existing enclosure systems—whether in color and material, in the profiles of frame and spandrel elements, or in the proportions of the replacement windows.
The Commission looks forward to the review of the next submission for Scheme A and recommended that Scheme B, if pursued, be revised for further concept review in consultation with the staff, which as always is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, AIA
Boston Properties, Suite 300
505 9th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004
cc: Jeff Barber, Gensler
Anne Adams, Goulston & Storrs