SL 22-105

HPA number
HPA 22-337

1735 New York Avenue, NW
United States

D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
American Institute of Architects National Headquarters
Building and site renovation
Review Type
Previous Review


Dear Mr. Ayers:

In its public meeting of 16 June conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a second concept submission for the renovation of and alterations to the American Institute of Architects national headquarters and site at 1735 New York Avenue, NW (case number SL 22-105). Expressing appreciation for the responsiveness to its previous advice, the Commission approved the concept with the following comments and recommendations for the development of the design.

The Commission members observed that the revised design proposes a simpler, more logical circulation route through the property, with better connections between landscape spaces; they commended the boldness of the planting plan, which has the strength to unify the space between the site’s two buildings. They also expressed support for the revised site material palette, noting that the color similarity between the red sandstone, salvaged brick, and wood will result in a more cohesive and less obtrusive landscape design; they recommended consideration of recycled ipê wood for its hardiness and warm natural color. However, they reiterated their previous concern that the zigzag sloped walkway may still not be wide enough for comfortable routine use; they recommended that the sloped walkway be designed to be experienced as a primary entrance to the site, with a more welcoming starting point at New York Avenue and with a similar generosity of scale and treatment as the front entrance steps, perhaps varying in width along its length.

Recognizing that the design approach for the trellis at the upper plaza now relates better to the proposed solar shading structure on the building, the Commission members raised concern that the trellis appears flat and lacks the visual strength necessary to command the space between the massive existing headquarters building and the Octagon House. They recommended that its structure of lattices floating above minimal posts be made more dynamic and gestural in order to increase the presence of the trellis and its similarity to the solar shading panels on the headquarters building. For these panels on the building, they recommended further exploration of a stronger, more vivid expression for the panels themselves, which they requested be studied in mockups.

The Commission requested the review of this project during the design development phase. Please coordinate the next submission with the staff, which as always is available to assist you with the development of the design.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Stephen Ayers
American Institute of Architects
1735 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006

cc: Conor Dunn, EHDD Architecture
Walter Hood, Hood Design Studio