1331 Maryland Avenue, SW
Dear Mr. Grigg:
In its meeting of 22 January, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a second concept design for a new 15-story residential building at The Portals, located at 1331 Maryland Avenue, SW (case number SL 15-050). While finding the revised design to be considerably improved, the Commission made several recommendations for the development of the design and did not take a formal action on the concept submission.
The Commission members expressed appreciation for the design team's responsiveness to their previous recommendations, commenting that the character of the new proposal was would be generally appropriate within this highly prominent context as a gateway into the city. However, due to the omission of documentation of the building's penthouses, they were unable to evaluate conclusively the proposal in its full anticipated height and complexity of massing at the top. As these elements of the building will be seen against the sky and will contribute to the visual impression of the building, they should be designed and documented. They expressed some concern that the height as shown is already questionable, and that additional height up to 20 feet with penthouses of unknown shape and design may be inappropriate for the context.
For the base of the building, the Commission members requested further development of the architectural and landscape treatment, particularly as it turns the corner from 14th Street to the lower grade along the railroad. For this area, they recommended that the two small landscape areas flanking the service drive be treated conceptually as a single space with a robust landscape design. Noting the challenge of the concept for extensive plantings on the building's terraces and roofscapes, they suggested that the landscape architect study these features carefully to ensure their viability.
The Commission looks forward to review of the next submission. As always, the staff is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
1280 Maryland Avenue, SW, Suite 280
Washington, DC 20007
cc: Paul Whalen, Robert A.M. Stern Architects