Corcoran Gallery of Art
1700 New York Avenue, NW
Dear Mr. Carr:
In its meeting of 18 November, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept proposal for a new eight-story office building at 1700 New York Avenue, NW (case number SL 11-010), to be located on an undeveloped lot adjacent to the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The Commission offered the following comments but did not take an action on the proposed design.
The Commission members emphasized the need to design the best possible building for this important site, which would be visible from President's Park and the National Mall. They expressed concern about the height and massing of the proposed building, commenting that the design would be better if reduced in height by two stories, and they recommended that the penthouse be integrated with the rest of the building in massing and finish treatment. The Commission members also commented on the awkwardness of the proposed building's relation to its context, recommending that the new building be treated as part of an urban ensemble, rather than as a singular object. They said that the articulation of stacked wedge-shaped volumes would need further development in response to the massing of the adjacent buildings and to distant views. For example, they noted that the northeast corner of the proposed building looks out of scale with the well-resolved rooflines of the Corcoran Gallery, and they suggested that the building massing respond to the geometry of the United Unions building at the northwest corner—rather than following the shared property line as currently shown, which results in a crowding of the Unions building.
The Commission of Fine Arts encourages Carr Development, the Corcoran Gallery, and the architect to make superior design a priority for this project, even if this approach necessitates some reduction in building volume. The Commission looks forward to the review of a revised concept design submission and, as always, the staff is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, AIA
Robert Carr, Managing Partner
1776 Eye Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20006
cc: David King, SmithGroup
Frederick Bollerer, Corcoran Gallery & Corcoran School of Art and Design