SL 24-075

HPA number
HPA 24-162

6809 16th Street, NW
United States

D.C. Department of Buildings
Former Walter Reed Medical Center, Parcel Z
New construction - 37 townhouses
Review Type
Submitted Documents


Dear Ms. Davis:

In its public meeting of 15 February conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept submission for the construction of 37 townhouses to be located on Parcel Z at the southwest corner of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center at 6809 16th Street, NW (case number SL 24-075). The Commission members present supported the project’s general planning and design approach but did not recommend an action, providing the following comments for the development of the design.

The Commission members expressed appreciation for the use of established architectural precedents for this redevelopment effort, and for the care taken to address the differing conditions of slope and street frontage. However, observing that row houses typically have a taller front facing the street with a lower rear massing at the alley, they commented that the proposed lower front facade with a higher massing at the rear appears oddly reversed. Therefore, they strongly recommended revising the massing to locate the taller facades along Main Drive and Aspen Street—an adjustment that would provide a consistent scale along all street frontages and would better respond to the character, hierarchy, and organization of the Walter Reed campus. They also raised concerns regarding the narrowness of the central mews, which appear to limit the light and privacy available for the two interior rows of houses that would face it; they recommended further study of this spatial configuration and the associated landscape design. For the building materials, they recommended replacing the black cementitious cladding on the stepped-back upper floors with brick to be consistent with the rest of the facades, or perhaps using a lighter-colored material on the rear.

As a quorum was not present for the review, these comments will be placed on the administrative agenda for confirmation at the Commission’s next meeting. For revisions in response to this guidance, and for the refinement of design elements such as cornices and party wall parapets, please consult with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.

/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Vicki Davis, Managing Partner
Urban Atlantic
7735 Old Georgetown Road, Suite 600
Bethesda, MD 20814

cc: Geri Yantis, Sutton Yantis Associates Architects
Tim Sievers, NV Homes
Emily Eig, EHT Traceries