The meeting was convened at 10:02 a.m. in the Commission of Fine Arts offices in the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001.
Hon. Donald A. Capoccia, Vice Chairman
Hon. Pamela Nelson
Hon. Earl A. Powell, III
Mr. Charles H. Atherton, Secretary
Mr. Frederick Lindstrom, Assistant Secretary
Ms. Kristina Alg
Ms. Sue Kohler
Mr. Jose Martinez-Canino
Ms. Susan Raposa
National Capital Planning Commission Staff present:
Ms. Christine Saum
At the opening of the meeting, the Assistant Secretary said that in the absence of a full quorum, the three members present would review proposals and make recommendations. These recommendations would be formally confirmed at the 15 January 2004 meeting by the full quorum of the Commission.
A. Approval of minutes of the 20 November 2003 meeting. The minutes of the 20 November 2003 were approved.
B. Dates of next meetings, approved as:
15 January 2004
19 February 2004
18 March 2004
C. Report on the U.S. Court of Military Appeals proposal for the installation of security bollards. Ms. Alg recalled to the Commission that they had deferred their decision on the proposed installation of bollards at the U. S. Military Court of Appeals until the National Capital Planning Commission gave their recommendation. She said that NCPC's recommendation was to use temporary measures that may include Jersey barriers or planters in the curb lane, provided that the District of Columbia Department of Transportation approves those measures within thirty days. In the absence of that approval, the bollards, as originally presented, could be installed. In other words, NCPC has approved the bollards, if no other alternative was accepted. Ms. Alg noted that the Court was willing to alter their perimeter security measures in accordance with the master plan that was currently in development. Mr. Powell also noted the Court's willingness to be flexible. The Vice Chairman that the Commission would approve the approve the proposal with the conditions discussed at the November and December Commission of Fine Arts meetings.
II. SUBMISSIONS AND REVIEWS
A. Federal Highway Administration
CFA 18/DEC/03-1, Pennsylvania Avenue, between 15th and 17th Streets, NW, and Jackson and Madison Places. Revised material samples. Final. (Previous: CFA 16/OCT/03-1). The Assistant Secretary first recapped the Commission’s previous approval of the selection of the various kinds of granites for the sidewalks, edging, and the roadway in front of the major buildings at the 15th and 17th Street intersections. The two items that were not approved were the aggregate paving material for the section of the Avenue directly in front of the White House, and the aggregate blocks that would be used in the area of the guard houses on Jackson and Madison places. He introduced landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh to make a further presentation on this part of the project.
Mr. Van Valkenburgh used a PowerPoint presentation to show just where the aggregate blocks would be used on Jackson and Madison places and how they would meet the curbs and the bases of the guard houses, something that had not been clearly shown before. He pointed out that the 6 by 6 inch blocks would be used only where the roadway would be narrowed on both sides of the street in the guard house area, and in this area only where the pavement was raised to curb (sidewalk) height around the guard houses and directly across from them, not in the roadway. The pavers would be very similar visually to the aggregate paving to be used in the roadway, but they would be slightly darker in color so that they would relate better to the granite bases of the guard houses. In answer to a question, Mr. Van Valkenburgh said it would not be possible to pour the aggregate paving to be used on the rest of the roadways in these small areas because of the nature of the rolling process and the presence of the rows of bollards.
Mr. Van Valkenburgh then showed actual samples of both the aggregate pavers and the roadway material, with several color variations. There was a long discussion about the various properties of the relatively new type of asphalt pavement (and paving blocks)–the color mix of the aggregates, the type of binder, the durability, resistance to stains, and the possible shiny appearance of the surface. In regard to the latter, Mr. Van Valkenburgh said it appeared shiny only when viewed from distances less than 6 feet. The color remained of some concern, especially to Mrs. Nelson; it was not as dark as the samples submitted in October, but she was not entirely sure that it was exactly right for what was one of the most important stretches of pavement in the country. She had some concern that it might be too bright, although Mr. Van Valkenburgh said it would appear lighter in broad daylight, and it would also fade with time.
In the end, Mr. Powell observed that many, many attempts had been made to get the color just right, and he thought the sample chosen would go well with the other materials it would abut, and was as good as they were going to get.
Before asking for a motion, the Vice-Chairman called on two members of the public who had asked to speak. The first was Robert Hershey, past president of the District of Columbia Society of Professional Engineers. He felt that the material had not been sufficiently tested or used over any significant period of time, that there was no need to rush into installing it before further investigations were made, and that there was really no need to tear up perfectly good, historic paving and replace it with an unproven substance. He noted also that although consultative parties such as his society were supposed to be brought in on Highway Administration meetings, his society had been invited only once, in October, and had not been contacted since, and had not had a chance to look at the materials. His statement is attached as Exhibit . Mr. Van Valkenburgh commented in reply that the proposed pavement was fully compliant with all federal and D.C. requirements for strength and durability, adding that there was no less stability of color in this pavement than in any other bituminous paving.
The next speaker was George Oberlander, representing the National Coalition to Save Our Mall. He repeated the Coalition’s previous statement, made in October, objecting to turning Pennsylvania Avenue into a plaza rather than a street, and referred to a statement from the Coalition which had been placed in the members’ folders. That statement is attached as Exhibit .
The Vice-Chairman then asked for a motion. Mr. Powell agreed to make one, saying first that he commended the architect and the Federal Highway Administration on the fine job they had done in researching and selecting the paving material, which he thought was very handsome; he then moved that both the pavement for the roadways and the paving blocks for the guard house areas on Jackson and Madison places be approved. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Nelson and unanimously approved.
B. General Services Administration
1. CFA 18/DEC/03-2, E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse, Constitution Avenue and 3rd Street, NW. Perimeter security barriers. Final. (Previous: CFA 18/MAY/00-3). Ms. Alg introduced Michael McGill of GSA to introduce the proposal for perimeter security at E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse. Mr. McGill said that the annex to the courthouse, approved by both the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission, was under construction. While NCPC had approved the proposal for the courthouse annex, they had deferred approval of perimeter security, because they were then in the process of developing their Urban Design and Security Plan. He said because the construction had progressed to the point where the installation of perimeter security elements needed to occur, GSA was returning with a revised plan. He introduced Michael Crakel of Michael Graves and Associates to make the presentation.
Mr. Crakel prefaced his presentation with some brief background information. He said that it was the fall of 1999 when NCPC deferred taking action on the bollards proposed for the courthouse, and that a decision on the configuration of the bollards should depend upon the context in which they were to be placed. Since the project presented to NCPC in 1999 was approved for siting and massing within the context of the Mall, Federal Triangle, the Capitol and downtown, Mr. Crakel said that the security elements should be commensurate with that understanding. The security elements should also relate to the existing building.
Based on the guidelines issued by NCPC for security elements, Mr. Crakel said the there would be three different treatments of the bollards, in terms of how they would enclose the building on C Street, 3rd Street and around the rotunda at the intersection of Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues. The bollards would all be concrete-filled steel pipe, clad with glass fiber reinforced concrete to match the Indiana limestone of the Prettyman Courthouse. They would be topped with a satin finished nickel cap. The bollards would be arranged to conform to the shape of the building with a setback of 24 inches from the curb, in accordance with District Department of Transportation regulations. Plain bollards would be interspersed with illuminated bollards at the entry points and there would be retractable bollards at the entrances to the loading dock and garage. The retractable bollards would have a stainless steel finish. Existing trees and lampposts would be incorporated into the perimeter security. The bollards in front of the trees would be linked by chains to create a visual barrier, and free-standing bollards would flank the chained bollards. Lampposts would be brought in line with the bollards, also to create a visual barrier. The idea was to vary the arrangement of the bollards in order to avoid a continuous, monotonous row. Mrs. Nelson observed that in Mr. Crackel’s rendering the chains linking the bollards looked very light, and she thought they should be heavier. Mr. Crackel agreed that would be better, as it would make this part of the installation more distinct from the free-standing bollards.
The Vice Chairman asked if anyone from NCPC wished to comment. Christine Saum, senior urban designer with NCPC said this proposal was under review, and that their evaluation was not yet complete. She said that the proposal would be reviewed in accordance with NCPC's Urban Design and Security Plan at their January meeting. The Vice Chairman suggested that the Commission defer its action until after NCPC's review, and the members present agreed. The Vice Chairman thanked Mr. Crakel for his presentation.
2. CFA 18/DEC/03-3, Mary E. Switzer Building. 330 C Street, SW. Alterations and additions for modernization. Design. Ms. Alg introduced Michael McGill of GSA to introduce the modernization project proposed for the Mary E. Switzer building. Mr. McGill said that the Switzer building, located in Southwest Washington, was one of a pair of buildings constructed in the 1930s. The Cohen building was the other. He said that most of the renovations to the Switzer building would be interior, and that the existing mechanical penthouse would be converted to an additional floor. Mr. McGill introduced Jim Kienle, lead design principal for HNTB, to make the presentation.
Mr. Kienle said that the restoration portion of the project would occur from the fifth floor down, and would include window improvement, masonry repointing and landscape enhancement. The principal new work would occur above the parapet line at the sixth floor, namely, that the existing penthouse would be converted to usable office space and a seventh floor would be added to house upgraded mechanical equipment. Punched windows of a similar scale found elsewhere on the building, would be added to the sixth floor, as well as three skylights. The alignment of the fenestration would be consistent with the two axes about the main entries to the building. The skylights would be separated on the roof by the two new limestone and brick penthouse elements. Vertical limestone elements, carried from the seventh floor into the sixth, would frame the atrium spaces that would occur on the sixth floor, with the atriums matching the skylighted spaces.
At the request of Ms. Nelson, Mr. Kienle briefly discussed the vegetative roof. In an effort to earn energy and environmental Silver Rated LEED certification, the roof would consist of vegetative matter. Other efforts would include the introduction of insulating glass and internal mechanical functions. Retaining bicycle racks outside, as an encouragement of alternative transportation, would also earn LEED points.
The presentation was well received by the Commission, and the Vice Chairman commended the design team on their efforts to remain true to the nature of the building with their use of punched windows and choice of materials. Although perimeter security was not part of this presentation, the Commission advised integrating security elements with landscape elements when developing a landscape plan. Since there was plenty of stand-off space, the Commission felt that a landscape solution, as opposed to bollards or planters, would be possible. With that, the Commission gave the applicants concept approval, and thanked them for their presentation.
C. District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority
1. CFA 18/DEC/03-4, Main Pumping Station and O Street Sewer Pumping Stations, Southeast Federal Center, 4th Street, SE. Alterations and additions. Concept. The Assistant Secretary noted that this submission actually included two projects. One was for an equipment enclosure to surround new equipment at the historic Main Pumping Station for the District. He recalled that the members had seen this 1905 Beaux-Arts building when they visited the Southeast Federal Center in November. The second project was for a reskinning of a 1960s pumping station nearby on O Street. He introduced Bruce Beall from WASA to begin the presentation.
Mr. Beall said they would be rehabilitating all eight of the stations involved in pumping sanitary sewage down to Blue Plains and restore them to their rated capacities. The two just described by Mr. Lindstrom were considered as one construction project carried out by one contractor. Other than a 1930s project in the main station to install electric motors and screens to remove solid material, neither facility had had a major rehabilitation. Mr. Beall said the process of removing the solid material from the screens had always been largely manual, and part of the proposed new construction would automate it; a new addition was required for the main station because there was not room inside the 1905 building to accommodate the new equipment. He added that the rehabilitation of both stations was not intended to last more than ten years, or until a decision was made as to how they would be incorporated into a long-term plan. Mr. Beall then introduced architect Marshall Purnell to describe how he would carry out the rehabilitation of each facility.
Beginning with the main station, Mr. Purnell said this temporary rehabilitation should be looked at as a “do no harm” project, until a decision had been made to invest permanently in the site. He described the building as one of the finest Beaux-Arts structures in the city. He said it was basically one large room for the pumps, which were mostly below the ground, with office and shop spaces at the ends. He noted that the original wood windows remaining would be reglazed, but metal replacement windows would remain until the final restoration some years hence. The current project would include restoration of the deteriorated cornice, repointing of the brick, and cleaning of the building. The proposed addition would screen the new equipment but would not really be attached to the old building. He said they had decided that in appearance it should not be too contemporary and should borrow some of the more simple detailing, including arched elements to delineate the bays, and materials from the old building, mainly brick and limestone for the base. The brick would be red, like the original building, but slightly lighter in color to differentiate it. There would also be two roll-up doors for access.
Turning to the O Street building, Mr. Purnell said the decision to rehabilitate the exterior had been based on the new plans for the Southeast Federal Center and the proposed River Walk. He described the present appearance as that of a typical 1960s utilitarian, industrial structure and said the proposal was to open it up with more glass, some clear and some frosted, and reskin it with metal panels and a darker brick more compatible in color with that of the nearby 1905 station to tie the two together but maintain the difference in architectural style.
Michael McGill, from GSA, asked to comment. He said he had not been briefed on this project but had some concerns, considering the new mixed-use development that was planned for the adjacent area. First, he wondered why the new equipment and its enclosure had to be placed on the most prominent side of the old Main Pumping Station instead of on the side facing the O Street station. Secondly, he presumed that in order for trucks to access the doors, they would have to use New Jersey Avenue, the main access to the whole Southeast Federal Center. Thirdly, he was concerned as to what extent the sound of the conveyor belt and the smell of the solid waste being brought out would pervade the site.
The Vice-Chairman commented that the Commission had not yet had a chance to review the project planned for the adjacent area, but on the face of what had been presented, it seemed to be a sensitive approach; and if in ten years time there was no need for this addition it could be removed with no damage to the historic building. Mrs. Nelson asked what the reasoning was behind placing the addition where it was shown; Mr. Beall said the sewers where the screening equipment was housed were all in that part of the building, and if they tried to move everything to another location, it would totally disrupt and perhaps destroy the interior of the building, besides being prohibitively expensive. In regard to the use of New Jersey Avenue, he said there were other access roads in the area that the trucks would use. Lastly, as to the sounds and smells generated by the project, he referred Mr. McGill to Pat Daniels, the GSA project manager, with whom they had been in almost constant contact, and he said he would be happy to give additional briefings to anyone else in GSA.
A motion was then made by Mrs. Nelson to approve the concept design; it was seconded and approved unanimously.
2. CFA 18/DEC/03-5, East Side Pumping Station. Anacostia Park, east of D.C. General Hospital. New sewer pumping station. Design. The Assistant Secretary introduced Barry Lucas from WASA to begin the presentation. Mr. Lucas said this was another one of the eight stations to be rehabilitated or replaced. This station differed from others in that it was a sub-surface installation, in a 100-year flood plain area. It was built in the 1960s and no longer met most of the codes now in place. A new above-ground structure would be built to house electrical equipment such as transformers and motor control centers, as well as other improvements including compactors, washers, etc. and an odor control facility. It would be an unmanned station, in that there would be no offices; the staff would come and go as necessary to take care of any operations necessary. In answer to a question from Mrs. Nelson, he said the nearest neighbor would be D.C. General Hospital; he noted also that the actual residential neighborhood was on the other side of Massachusetts Avenue and 19th Street, some distance away. He said there was a draft Environmental Assessment being put together and it would be available for comment for thirty days, commenting also that they had been working closely with the D.C. Office of Planning on the project, as well as the Park Service. Victor Wilburn, the architect for the new facility, was then introduced.
Mr. Wilburn first showed a plan, pointing out the location of the various functions, and noting that they had to be physically separated from each other; this had design consequences, since each area then had to have two means of egress, which meant a rather large number of doors visible on the exterior. He had dealt with this in a way to give scale to the building, using a 7-foot-high contrasting color band as a first point of reference (with another higher up) and dividing the facades into a series of vertical panels, thus allowing the doors to appear any place they were needed; he said he had played down their appearance as they were for emergency use only and not for the use of the general public. Another requirement was for oversized doors for use when equipment had to be removed. In case the two-story-high screening equipment had to be removed there were openings in the roof, so that it could be removed by a crane.
Mr. Wilburn then discussed the park-like setting for the building, showing a site plan and noting first the existing facility and saying that the new building would be erected directly in front of it. Because of its setting, Mr. Wilburn said there would be no chain link fences and no exposed equipment on the exterior. A landscape plan was also shown. The material for the building would be precast panels in a warm color, to recall the concrete used for RFK Stadium; the brick banding would recall the brick of D.C. General Hospital.
There were no objections to Mr. Wilburn’s design, and it was unanimously approved.
D. District of Columbia Department of Transportation
1. CFA 18/DEC/03-6, Georgetown Historic District, Way-finding sign program. Revised concept. (Previous: CFA 16/OCT/03-15). Mr. Martinez introduced the next project as being submitted by the District of Columbia Department of Transportation. He said that the Commission had reviewed the proposal for way-finding signs in Georgetown in October, and referred the members to the letter sent to the applicants detailing the Commission's recommendations. The Old Georgetown Board reviewed the revised proposal and had no objection to the direction of the project. Their only comment was a request to DDOT to consider using existing lampposts at the intersection of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, rather than add more signposts. Mr. Martinez then introduced Karyn Good, communication specialist with DDOT. She in turn introduced Jill Dowling and Adrienne McCray of Lee & Associates.
Ms. Good said that DDOT was recommending extra signposts at the intersection of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, but that rather than install a sign on every corner, signs would be installed in two locations. The first would be on the northwest corner and the second would be on the southeast corner. These would be 90-degree angle signs that would have directions on each side. Ms. Good said that the reason for recommending additional posts rather than using existing posts, was that there were many traffic signs on the existing posts already. She said, however, that DDOT would be willing to explore the possibility of using the existing posts further, and that if they could find a satisfactory way of using the existing posts, they would do so.
Moving from the gateway signs to the blade signs, Ms. Dowling said the space between the blade signs would be reduced, so that individual signs could be accommodated, for the sake of directional clarity. This would reduce the amount of signage, but remain identifiable as a system by using separate blades. The material proposed was black porcelain enamel with white text, which was recommended by the Commission and agreeable to both the Board and the ANC. It was undecided whether the signs would be attached to the posts with a single or double band, but the bands would be black in any case, in order to blend in.
The Vice Chairman said the Commission was willing to approve the proposal, provided that the corners of the M Street and Wisconsin Avenue intersections were addressed. Ms. Good reiterated that DDOT would do all they could to use the existing posts.
2. CFA 18/DEC/03-7, Georgetown Business District, Wisconsin Avenue, NW. Streetscape Improvement Project. Phase II. Revised design. (Previous: CFA 20/MAR/03-6). Mr. Martinez recalled to the Commission that they had last reviewed the Wisconsin Avenue Streetscape project in March 2003, and that in recent years they had also reviewed a streetscape project for M Street. He said that as the M Street project progressed, the community raised several issues, and that DDOT has been working with the community and the Old Georgetown Board to resolve them. He noted that many of the lessons learned in the course of the M Street project would be applied to Wisconsin Avenue. Mr. Martinez said that the Board's recommendations included using a variety of brick paving patterns in the sidewalks, lowering the heights of the lampposts as much as possible and using existing posts rather than adding new ones as much as possible. Karyn Good from DDOT made the presentation.
Ms. Good began by saying that four different brick patterns would be used at various points on Wisconsin Avenue. The idea was to create a patchwork effect, reminiscent of an aged surface. DDOT was recommending using 16 foot lights, but the use of 14 foot lights was also being considered. The lights would stand at least 65 feet apart and no light would be located in front of a business entrance. With agreement from the ANC, Ms. Good said that DDOT would mark the sidewalk with a circle or an "x" to indicate where the lights would be placed, for the benefit of business owners on the street. As was done with M Street, Ms. Good said, healthy trees on Wisconsin Avenue would be left alone and trees would be planted where possible. In the course of utility work, particularly in the removal of cables and duct lines, more spaces may be found that will be able to accommodate trees. Ms. Good said that DDOT would continue to work with the Casey Tree Foundation to find trees that would have the best rate of survival. Based on the M Street experience, the use of bluestone in the paving would be reduced. Since Wisconsin Avenue slopes, care will given to the installation of the lampposts to prevent exposure of the bases.
Ms. Nelson had a concern about the proposed brick patterns. She said that the use of four different patterns in an attempt to replicate organic change in the street surface could look too artificial. Ms Good clarified that DDOT's intention was more to match the existing condition than to artificially create an organic change that occurs over time. Mr. Martinez added that the Board wanted to avoid a single brick pattern, especially in sloping areas where pedestrians ascend, in order to not have the appearance of a new pedestrian mall.
Mr. Martinez noted for the record that DDOT was to be commended for their close consultation with the community and with the Old Georgetown Board as the streetscape projects developed. Ms. Good added that DDOT would gladly provide the Board and Commission with regular updates. Ms. Nelson made a motion that final approval be given, with regular updates from DDOT. The motion was carried.
E. District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
1. Old Georgetown Act
a. O.G. 04-31, 901 30th Street, NW, New mixed-use building. Revised concept for north building and landscape concept. (Previous: O.G. 03-133, CFA 22 Apr. 2003). In his introduction, Mr. Martinez said the development known as Harborside would consist of the Swedish Chancery and a building to its north, referred to as the North Building. The two buildings would be unified with a common parking area below. Also on the site was the GSA coal house, which would be demolished and replaced with an underground garage and a park at grade. Referring to the report of the Old Georgetown Board, Mr. Martinez said the Board was pleased with the direction of the design, and that they had recommended that the design direction being pursued on the front facade be considered on the other facades as well. He introduced Arthur Cotton Moore, the project architect, to present the design development scheme. Mr. Moore then introduced Roger Courtenay from EDAW, to present the landscape plan.
Mr. Courtenay began by showing a site plan and then he detailed four objectives addressed in the landscape plan. The first was to provide the proper setting for the House of Sweden, with respect to the Potomac River. Keeping close to the spirit of the competition entry, Mr. Courtenay said the idea was to be sensitive to the original concept of ramps and stairs on 30th Street, the meadow and lawn that would open directly toward the Potomac and the water feature and planter steps that would step down toward Rock Creek. The second objective was to complement Washington Harbor. The paving of 30th Street would be completed and landscape forms that echo design motifs in Washington Harbor would be developed. The existing promenade on the waterfront would be extended to link with the bridge behind Thompson's Boathouse and toward Kennedy Center. An overlook over Rock Creek would repeat the circular motif at the end of the park above he proposed garage at the north end of the site. The third objective was the integration of the end of Washington Harbor to the future Georgetown Riverfront Park. A pathway would link along Rock Creek down to the promenade of the proposed park. The final objective was to provide an appropriate setting on Rock Creek. The shoreline would be stabilized and those restored areas would be revegetated. A walkway system would be developed to provide pedestrian access along Rock Creek.
Other elements, Mr. Courtenay said, would include seating and lighting. An elliptical planter system, reminiscent of Washington Harbor, would provide for planting between the two buildings and water features would recall Washington Harbor as well.
Ms. Nelson asked if the themed Swedish gardens presented previously would be implemented. Mr. Courtenay replied that implementing that original concept would be problematic in terms of the plant species. A paved terrace originally intended for the south side might give the perception that the terrace was not on publicly accessible land, when it fact, it was National Park Service land. Mr. Courtenay said that the National Park Service and the Swedish design team were both comfortable with the south terrace becoming green space. The Vice Chairman asked if the extended plinth on which the House of Sweden was to sit was still part of the program, and the Mr. Courtenay replied that it was not. Mr. Moore added that the plinth was actually reduced, resulting in a podium effect, even as the building would be articulated from the land. The Vice Chairman asked if any temporary structures were being considered for the meadow. Mr. Courtenay said the meadow would be used as open space, in which to watch boat races, for example, and that no structures were being considered for it. Ms. Nelson asked about water features, and Mr. Moore answered that the House of Sweden would have a reflecting pond within a garden under the building.
The Vice Chairman invited a representative from the National Park Service to comment, and John Parsons said that the Park Service completely supported the proposal. The Commission reiterated the comments of the Old Georgetown Board that the Corps of Engineers work with the Park Service and the applicant to develop the walkway and a fitting bank for Rock Creek. With a request to return with plant species and material selections, the Commission gave concept approval to the landscape plan.
Mr. Moore stated that the project had received a general concept approval during its last review and that they were providing an alternative option with a revised design, also for concept review. Moving to the design development elements, Mr. Moore began by noting that there was a minor change to the House of Sweden; a trapezoidal-shaped window on the north side was changed to a square-shaped window. Using presentation boards, Mr. Moore highlighted the proposed changes to the west elevation of the north building facing on 30th Street, showing the previously approved scheme alongside the revised scheme. A series of diagonal steel trusses would be added to the upper level, or cantilevered portion of the facade. These trusses would be arranged in groups of three steel bars, installed on the cantilever in two inverted "V" forms. The bars would meet at the tops of the inverted "V" and separate slightly as they descended down the facade. Vertical steel supports along the facade of the cantilever would be brought from the back to the front, making them more visible. The foregrounding of vertical steel supports would be repeated on the north and south elevations also.
The Vice Chairman asked Mr. Moore to address the suggestion that the truss be incorporated on the other facades. Mr. Moore replied that a truss on the other facades would essentially be a "fake truss" and that bringing forward the vertical elements on the flanking north and south facades would create a sense of continuity. This effect would be similar to the belting effect that the House of Sweden achieved with its balconies. Ms. Nelson said that she thought the two buildings were relating very well to each other, especially on the east elevation. While she appreciated the purpose and intent of the revised elements, she suggested that they appeared "applied" and the design should strive to appear more integrated. The Vice Chairman agreed, and said that great strides had been made in the design.
For the sake of expediency, Mr. Moore asked the Commission if future developments could be reviewed with Commission staff, prior to being presented to the full Commission. The Chairman said he had no objection. Mr. Martinez stated that he would encourage the applicants to present design details as they developed, rather than all at once at the final stage, in order to allow enough time for staff review. The option of the revised design for the north building also received concept approval for development.
(The agenda order was changed, and the George Washington University residence hall, II.E.2.a, was discussed next.)
b. Appendix I. Mr. Martinez said that there were changes to the Old Georgetown appendix since the draft was circulated, except that some supplemental drawings were received and added to the record. Approval for the Old Georgetown appendix was deferred until the January meeting when a full quorum of the Commission would be present.
2. Shipstead-Luce Act
a. S.L. 03-138, 2025 F Street, NW, (Square 103), George Washington University. New residence hall (dormitory). Revised concept. (Previous: S.L. 03-138, CFA 16 Oct. 03). Ms. Alg recalled to the Commission that when they last reviewed this project in October, it was approved, with reservations, at a height of 120 feet. Since then, a request to the Zoning Commission from the University to rezone to a commercial from a residential zone was made and denied. Because of this, the University was returning with a revised concept for a 90 foot high building. She said that the University was still pursuing a PUD, and that the PUD review in February would include changes which would allow them to avoid requirements of a rear yard setback, lot occupancy, penthouse requirements and courtyard requirements. Ms. Alg then introduced Elizabeth Long of Ayers, Saint Gross Architects to make the presentation.
Ms. Long said that in redesigning the building for a height of 90 feet as opposed to 120 feet, the plans and footprint stayed essentially the same. Using boards that showed 3D models of the proposed building, and concentrating mainly on the F Street facade, Ms. Long highlighted elements in the revised design that would stay the same and elements that would change. It would still be a masonry building with a combination of brick and precast elements. The three-story bay projections which would flank the entrance at ground level would remain. The main difference was that the building would have 10 stories as opposed to 14, a loss of 150 beds. Because of the reduction of height, what was previously a vertical facade would now be a nearly square proportion. Ms. Long said that a light awning projection, made of metal and glass, would appear over the recessed entrance to provide shelter and to animate the facade at street level. Moving to the cornice line at the top of the facade, Ms. Long indicated a pair of vertical architectural embellishments, that lined up the bay projections below. These embellishments would be projections similar to those at the cornice line of the bays. Projecting out less than a foot, they would help to enhance the vertical read of the building and also help to screen the penthouse from the street.
The window treatment on the side elevation, Ms. Long said, was challenging, because the alignment of the desks and beds in the rooms that face the side would not lend itself to windows. There were also privacy considerations as well as a greenhouse effect concern, since the windows would face west and south. To mitigate this, there would be a center window at the end of the corridor and additional windows at the top floor. Ms. Long said that this side facade was still being considered, and that the hope was that a non-punctured or penetrated facade could be developed to contrast with the heavy fenestration in other areas.
The Commission agreed that the side elevation would be problematic, and suggested some possible solutions. One suggestion was for a cast stone element, as wide as the windows, to add verticality, and another was for the placement of windows between the cast stone bands that wrapped around from the F Street facade. They also suggested that care be taken with the decorative elements. With that, the Commission gave concept approval and said they would await the results of the PUD review.
b. Appendix II. Ms. Alg said that there were minor changes to the Shipstead-Luce appendix since the draft was circulated. Additional information was received for the first three items. With the new information, there was no objection to the first two items and the third was postponed at the request of the applicant. Approval for the Shipstead-Luce appendix was deferred until the January meeting when a full quorum of the Commission would be present.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:52 p.m. Signed,
Charles H. Atherton