1311 Maryland Avenue, SW
Dear Mr. Grigg:
In its public meeting of 18 February conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept submission for Portals IV, a new residential building to be located at 1311 Maryland Avenue, SW (case number SL 21-068). The Commission approved the concept and provided the following comments for the development of the design.
The Commission members commended the proposed design for the building, finding that it successfully extends the architectural forms of the two flanking buildings—Portals III, a 1990s office building, and Portals IV, a recently completed residential building—with a new and coherent design that relates well to the neighborhood context and site. They commented that the skillful use of repetition and rhythm in the scale, articulation, and materials of the facades will make this large building a quiet, logical addition to the Portals complex, which it will complete. For the development of the design, they suggested the study of additional detail at the cornice line at the 8th floor, as well as rusticated detailing of the masonry for the full base of the building, similar to the base of Portals V. In addition, for the southeast facade facing the Maryland Avenue circle, they requested presentation of a design option with more articulation, while still serving as a transitional element between Portals III and Portals V; however, they commented that any revisions to this facade should not detract from the architectural emphasis on the building’s entrance. They commended the scale of the windows and use of awnings along this facade, but they expressed regret that retail or restaurant uses are not proposed for this part of the building, which would bring more activity to the circle.
The Commission members expressed general support for the landscape concept, particularly the diagonal linear park leading from the low point on 14th Street up to the circle, with the understanding that the details of the landscape are to be presented in future submissions. As the park design is developed, they suggested consideration of providing a barrier-free pedestrian route to better fulfill the intent of making this an inclusive and useful civic amenity. They also encouraged the development of a linear park along D Street, to be implemented when the existing accessory structures that support operations for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing are removed.
The Commission looks forward to a revised concept submission for this project as the design is developed, prior to permit review. As always, the staff is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Steven Grigg, President
Republic Properties Corporation
1201 Maryland Avenue, SW, Suite 850
Washington, DC 20024
cc: George Dove, WDG Architecture