850 D Street, SW
Dear Mr. Cinkala:
In its meeting of 16 June, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the proposed concept design for a new extended–stay hotel at 850 D Street SW (case number SL 11-106) as an addition to the L'Enfant Plaza building complex. The Commission expressed support for the proposal to add a hotel in this location but did not take an action, offering the following comments on the design as presented.
While expressing appreciation for the physical connections proposed between the hotel and L'Enfant Plaza, the Commission members observed that the architectural design of the hotel appeared to have been developed in isolation from both the wider urban context and the immediately surrounding architecture of L'Enfant Plaza and adjacent buildings, including Marcel Breuer's notable Housing and Urban Development headquarters building. Noting that the presentation emphasized this isolation, they recommended that the next presentation include a massing model that illustrates the building in its context. Additional documentation should include site sections, street elevations including neighboring buildings, and distant views such as from the Mall and the 10th Street promenade, to facilitate understanding of the proposed building.
In considering the architecture of the proposal in more detail, the Commission members questioned the intent to create a wholly new style and palette of materials for the addition, recommending that some aspect of the existing buildings be recapitulated in the design, perhaps in the treatment or massing of the building's base. They also suggested that the bifurcated composition of the elevation on D Street be reconsidered as the primary street facade rather than as an end wall, and recommended attention to the function and design implications of vehicular drop–off.
The Commission looks forward to review of a revised concept design. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
The JBG Companies
4445 Willard Avenue, Suite 400
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
cc: Andrew Rollman, SmithGroup
Jennifer Steingasser, DC Office of Planning