SL 15-174

HPA number
HPA 15-374

1503-1505 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
United States

Museum of the American Educator (Riggs Bank Building)
Addition & renovations
Review Type
Revised concept
Previous Review


Dear Mr. Lesser:

In its meeting of 15 October, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a revised concept design for the renovation of and addition to the former Riggs Bank Building at 1503 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, for use as the Museum of the American Educator (case number SL 15-174). The Commission approved this revised concept design with the condition that it not include a railing or barrier for the roof area overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Commission members expressed appreciation for the responsiveness to their comments in the review of May 2015, including the revisions to retain architectural detail at the new secondary entrance on Pennsylvania Avenue. They also supported the reduced massing and increased setbacks of the rooftop addition made in response to the advice of the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board. However, they again expressed concern that any safety railing or protective barrier for the roof area along Pennsylvania Avenue may have a visual impact greater than the addition itself. Noting the sensitive location of this building overlooking the White House grounds and the inaugural parade route, they directed that this design be referred to the U.S. Secret Service to determine whether a protective anti-ballistic barrier would be required; any barrier—even if only for maintenance access—is specifically not included in this approval and must be resubmitted for review.  

The Commission looks forward to the resolution of this important element of the  design. As always, the staff is available to assist you.


Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Lawrence Lesser
Senior Vice President
Milken Family Foundation
1250 Fourth Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401-1353

cc: Shalom Baranes, Shalom Baranes Associates
David Maloney, D.C. Historic Preservation Office
Joseph Dipietro, U.S. Secret Service