850 D Street, SW
Dear Mr. Cinkala:
In its meeting of 21 July, 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 appreciation for the additional context information provided as requested in the last month's review, and approved the concept with several recommendations for further development.
The Commission members again observed that the proposed building would form a part of the larger composition of L'Enfant Plaza, which is defined by a plinth with buildings rising above, of which the office–hotel East Building is the tallest and the primary focus. They made several suggestions for better integrating the hotel building with the rest of the complex, particularly in the articulation of the base as an extension of the plinth to carry visually the weight of the tower above. Commenting that the proposed doubled horizontal bands of masonry at the base undermines this desired visual effect by appearing to float, the Commission members recommended a more unified treatment of the base, either by integrating all the proposed columns and bands as a more substantial volume with defined corners, or by eliminating the upper band and perhaps replacing it with a lighter treatment of a different material and profile. They supported the inclusion of the shallow vertical recess on the D Street facade and the horizontal roof accent element above the western half of the building.
In their discussion, the Commission members suggested further study of the appropriate massing of the proposed hotel, particularly in relation to the East Building. They noted that none of the secondary buildings of L'Enfant Plaza–of which the hotel would be one–approaches the East Building so closely nor at the same height, with the result that the proposed hotel appears to crowd this central building, particularly at its projecting upper levels. They suggested that the southernmost portion of the proposed hotel, already distinguished in material from the rest of the tower, be lowered by several floors to decrease this uncomfortably close adjacency.
The Commission welcomes the addition of a hotel to the Southwest federal district and looks forward to the review of the developed 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