4101 Arkansas Avenue, NW
Dear Ms. Gonzalez:
In its meeting of 20 September, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a revised concept design for the proposed renovation of and additions to an existing single-family residence at 4101 Arkansas Avenue, NW, to convert it to a two-family residence (case number SL 18-208). The Commission members present at the meeting recommended approval of the revised concept with the following comments.
The Commission members commended the effort to develop the design, which has strengthened the clarity and hierarchy among the elements of the facades, with a suitably idiosyncratic character for this unusual site. They commented that the relocation of one unit’s entrance to the Taylor Street side better engages the site and helps to resolve the building’s urban role, both at the southwest corner where the site addresses the park and along the adjacent streets. They supported the proposed addition of a low site wall in public space, noting that this wall serves the dual design purpose of visually connecting this property to the similar public space treatment of surrounding properties, while also appropriately grounding the architecture within the landscape.
For the further development of the design, the Commission members recommended careful study of the facade materials and elements—brick, charred wood cladding in various subtle hues, windows, and trellises—in their detailing and in their relation to one another in plane and in volume; they requested that these details be developed in consultation with the staff. They also recommended adding some low, multi-stemmed trees near the corner of Arkansas Avenue and Taylor Street to provide privacy at that exposed corner and to define the space of the site. They commented that the stepping of the fence at the southeastern property line is awkward, and they suggested a more composed elevation for the fence, possibly with some portions replaced by trees or other vegetation to create a more coherent landscape design.
As a quorum was not present for the review of this submission, this recommendation will be placed on the administrative agenda for confirmation at the Commission’s meeting of 18 October. The Commission looks forward to the further review of this small but highly visible project; please coordinate the development of the final design with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
4101 Arkansas Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20011