The meeting was convened in the Commission of Fine Arts offices in the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001, at 9:08 a.m.
Hon. Earl A. Powell, Chairman
Hon. Edward Dunson
Hon. Liza Gilbert
Hon. Alex Krieger
Hon. Mia Lehrer
Thomas E. Luebke, Secretary
Frederick J. Lindstrom, Assistant Secretary
A. Appointment of Mary Katherine Lanzillotta, FAIA and the reappointment of H. Alan Brangman, AIA to the Old Georgetown Board. Mr. Luebke asked the Commission to approve two appointments to the Old Georgetown Board, whose members serve staggered three-year terms. He recommended the reappointment of H. Alan Brangman for a second three-year term from September 2016 through July 2019. He noted Mr. Brangman's service on the Board since 2013, his current position as a vice president at the University of Delaware, his past work as university architect for Georgetown University, and his participation as a peer reviewer for the U.S. General Services Administration.
Mr. Luebke noted the recent resignation of Stephen Muse from the Board, and he presented the nomination of Mary Katherine Lanzillotta to serve the remaining two years of Mr. Muse's term through July 2018. He summarized Ms. Lanzillotta's work as an architect and partner at Hartman-Cox Architects, including responsibility for managing complex institutional and preservation-related projects in Washington and nationwide. He cited several of her local renovation and restoration projects: the Smithsonian's Old Patent Office Building, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, and the National Gallery of Art. He also noted her involvement with the Washington chapter of the American Institute of Architects, serving as chapter president, and with the Washington Architectural Foundation as founder of the Architecture in the Schools program.
Mr. Luebke requested a vote for both Old Georgetown Board nominations. Upon a motion by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the two appointments.
B. Approval of the minutes of the 16 June meeting. Secretary Luebke reported that the minutes of the June meeting were circulated to the Commission members in advance. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the minutes. Mr. Luebke said that the minutes will be made available on the Commission's website.
C. Dates of next meetings. Mr. Luebke presented the regularly scheduled dates for upcoming Commission meetings, as previously published: 15 September, 20 October, and 17 November 2016. He noted that meetings are not scheduled in August and December.
D. Proposed 2017 schedule of meetings and submission deadlines for the Commission and Old Georgetown Board. Mr. Luebke presented the proposed schedule of meetings and submission deadlines for calendar year 2017. The Commission meeting dates would typically be the third Thursday of each month except August and December; a Wednesday meeting date is scheduled for 20 September 2017 to avoid conflicting with the Rosh Hashanah holiday. The meetings of the Old Georgetown Board would be on the first Thursday of each month except August. Chairman Powell noted the consensus of the Commission to accept this schedule; Mr. Luebke said that no formal action is needed.
E. Elect three Commission members to serve on the design competition jury for the 2018 Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Program. Mr. Luebke noted the Commission's initial discussion at the June 2016 meeting on the election of three Commission members to serve on the U.S. Mint's design competition jury for the Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Program, as required by the program's authorizing legislation. He requested the Commission's action to facilitate the Mint's schedule, and he noted that Mr. Dunson, Ms. Gilbert, and Ms. Meyer have agreed to serve on this jury. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission elected these three members to serve on the jury. Mr. Luebke expressed appreciation for their additional contribution to the Commission's work.
II. Submissions and Reviews
Mr. Luebke introduced the three appendices for Commission action. Drafts of the appendices had been circulated to the Commission members in advance of the meeting.
Appendix I – Government Submissions Consent Calendar: Mr. Lindstrom said that the only change to the draft appendix is to add a favorable recommendation for the D.C. government's revised concept submission for the small triangular park reservation at 13th and Quincy Streets and Kansas Avenue, NW (case number CFA 16/JUL/16-v). He said that the staff has been working with the project team, and the resulting design responds to the Commission's guidance from the June 2016 review. He added that the recommendation also includes delegating review of the final design to the staff, in order to facilitate the project schedule. Upon a motion by Ms. Gilbert with second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the revised Government Submissions Consent Calendar.
Appendix II – Shipstead-Luce Act Submissions: Ms. Batcheler reported several changes to the draft appendix. Two projects have been removed to allow time for additional design revisions (case numbers SL 16-130 and 16-146). The recommendation for one project (SL 16-134) has been changed to be favorable. Another project (SL 16-138) has been recategorized from a permit submission to a concept submission, with a favorable recommendation that also includes authorization for the staff to review a future permit submission in order to allow the project to move forward before September; she noted that the staff is requesting some design modifications while generally supporting this proposal to connect two apartment buildings at 1433 and 1435 Spring Road, NW. Two favorable recommendations are subject to further revisions and the receipt of supplemental materials (SL 16-142 and 16-144), and she requested authorization to finalize these recommendations as the issues are resolved. Mr. Luebke noted the complexity of this month's Shipstead-Luce Act submissions and the effort to move projects forward in the absence of an August meeting of the Commission. Upon a motion by Mr. Powell with second by Mr. Dunson, the Commission approved the revised appendix.
Appendix III – Old Georgetown Act Submissions: Mr. Martinez reported that the only revisions to the draft appendix are minor wording changes and updates to note the receipt of supplemental materials, all of which have now been received. Upon a motion by Mr. Krieger, the Commission approved the revised appendix.
B. National Capital Planning Commission
CFA 21/JUL/16-1, J. Edgar Hoover Building (Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters), 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (Squares 378 and 379). Draft of Square Guidelines for the Pennsylvania Avenue Plan. Information presentation. Secretary Luebke introduced the information presentation on draft Square Guidelines for the site currently occupied by the J. Edgar Hoover headquarters building of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Development of the guidelines is part of the initiative by the General Services Administration (GSA) to exchange the site, Squares 378 and 379 at the 900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, for the construction of a new FBI headquarters building at another site in the Washington region. He said that the existing FBI site lies within the jurisdiction area of the 1974 Pennsylvania Avenue Plan; the FBI building preceded this plan, which guided the redevelopment of the avenue and its landscape design, implemented from the late 1970s through the mid-1990s. The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) is currently working with stakeholders and the public to draft the square guidelines to direct private redevelopment on these two squares. Major issues include whether to reestablish D Street, a L'Enfant Plan street that formerly existed between 9th and 10th Streets; a possible change in the building setback along Pennsylvania Avenue with a resulting change in the existing modern streetscape that was designed by Dan Kiley; and guidelines for the height and volume of new development. He introduced the NCPC project team: Elizabeth Miller, the director of physical planning activities, and Diane Sullivan, the director of urban design and plan review.
Ms. Sullivan said that the area along Pennsylvania Avenue had become so deteriorated by the mid-20th century that in 1972, Congress established the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation (PADC) to direct millions of dollars in public and private investment into redevelopment of the avenue; PADC developed the 1974 Pennsylvania Avenue Plan and Square Guidelines to guide these investments. The J. Edgar Hoover building, which was completed in 1974, is located in approximately the center of the area planned by PADC and of the segment of Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and U.S. Capitol; the site comprises the combination of two squares, 378 to the north and 379 to the south.
Ms. Sullivan said that although PADC was dissolved in 1996, its plan and documents remain in effect and will guide the redevelopment of the site. The 1974 plan includes goals, objectives, and a development framework for the area, with guidelines for squares within the PADC boundary. She described the square guidelines as detailed urban planning and design requirements and recommendations, which function like zoning regulations and help to implement the 1974 plan. Square guidelines can include such topics as build-to lines, minimum and maximum building heights, land uses, pedestrian features, and special design requirements. Subsequent to PADC's dissolution, NCPC, the General Services Administration (GSA), and the National Park Service (NPS) share responsibility to propose changes to the 1974 plan and to develop square guidelines, which were not created for squares with federal buildings because it was not anticipated that any of these sites would change to private development. She added that D.C. zoning regulations apply to the site and can be more detailed than the square guidelines, but the zoning must be consistent with the square guidelines. The review processes of the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board and the Commission of Fine Arts still apply; future private-sector construction on the FBI site will come back to the Commission of Fine Arts under the Shipstead-Luce Act. She anticipated that NCPC will review a draft of the square guidelines in October 2016 before presenting them to the Commission of Fine Arts, and NCPC intends to consider the final square guidelines in December.
Ms. Sullivan said that the FBI site is highly visible, with a frontage of over 500 feet on Pennsylvania Avenue. The site connects the downtown area with the monumental core, and new development here must preserve the civic and ceremonial function of Pennsylvania Avenue. She described three intended results for the square guidelines: to allow high-density mixed-use development on the site, with a maximum allowable height of 160 feet as uniquely permitted along Pennsylvania Avenue in this area; to provide guidance on circulation; and to maintain the landscape and viewshed, which elevates the importance of Pennsylvania Avenue above other D.C. streets. Because the guidelines are being proposed before a development team has been selected and many years before construction will occur, they will not include a specific parcelization plan or development program.
Ms. Sullivan said that her presentation will focus on circulation, building height, and build-to lines. Because of its large size, the parcel will likely require internal circulation. The existing FBI building occupies an area comparable in size to the three entire blocks to the east. She said that both the federal and D.C. elements of the comprehensive plan include policies that call for the restoration of L'Enfant Plan streets if they have been disrupted or closed; because of this, D Street would be restored through the site, creating a triangular parcel to the south and a large rectangular parcel to the north.
Ms. Sullivan outlined how circulation and public space could be addressed in the design of the two squares. Activity and public space could be concentrated on the interior of the site, resulting in less public space on Pennsylvania Avenue. Alternatively, activity and public space could be oriented toward the perimeter streets, resulting in more public space on Pennsylvania Avenue; initial discussions have favored this solution, with activity particularly focused on E Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Ms. Sullivan said that the building massing issues include building height and upper-story stepbacks. The 1910 Height Act allows development on Pennsylvania Avenue to reach a maximum height of 160 feet; she said that that this maximum could apply to buildings on both squares—even if D Street is reestablished, resulting in some of the building sites not immediately fronting onto Pennsylvania Avenue, provided that a public reservation is placed at the intersection of D Street, 10th Street, and Pennsylvania Avenue. The square guidelines can further regulate height in relation to the existing building heights of adjacent blocks. To the west of the FBI site, most buildings rise to 160 feet, as the FBI building does; to the east, buildings decrease in height toward the Capitol. She said that NCPC supports a height of 160 feet for the north square, with the understanding that the next draft of these guidelines will propose upper-story stepbacks. The heights of facades directly along Pennsylvania Avenue are typically between 100 and 135 feet; the 1974 plan says that such heights, along with stepped-back higher floors, are compatible with the surroundings and with the goal of protecting views of the Capitol. She said that the build-to lines on Pennsylvania Avenue can influence the amount of developable building space, the street's building wall, and the quality and function of public space. The FBI building has a deep setback of 79 feet from the Pennsylvania Avenue curb; this sidewalk area is under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service as part of the Pennsylvania Avenue Historic Site. She added that the National Park Service's Cultural Landscape Inventory for the landscape of the Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site has determined that it is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
Ms. Sullivan said that while development is constrained by the usual L'Enfant Plan property lines, this area of Pennsylvania Avenue is also governed by the 1974 plan. Both plans recognize the importance of the avenue, but build-to lines and the overall width of the right-of-way differ between them. She said that key questions are whether the sidewalk width of more than seventy feet in accordance with the 1974 Plan is excessive, and whether the avenue's right-of-way should be returned to the narrower width prescribed by the L'Enfant Plan. Neither plan provides an ideal solution for current conditions, and she said that a build-to line at a point somewhere between the lines given by the two plans may be the most appropriate. She noted that moving the build-to line for Square 379 may influence future redevelopment of other sites along the avenue.
Ms. Sullivan described the historical evolution of Pennsylvania Avenue. Pierre L'Enfant designed this roadway in 1791 as a broad eighty-foot-wide avenue with a forty-foot walk on each side, planted with double rows of trees, for a total width of 160 feet. This L'Enfant Plan treatment was never implemented, and Thomas Jefferson subsequently planted two rows of Lombardy poplars lining the sides of the avenue. By 1901, the cartway—the curb-to-curb width of the road—had grown to 107 feet, the sidewalks were narrow, and only a single row of trees was provided along the curbs. The 1901 Senate Park Commission (McMillan) Plan proposed the development of the Federal Triangle complex, which widened the distance between the curb and the building face on the south side of avenue. The PADC plan of 1974, which sought to reclaim the avenue's unique symbolic role, retained the wide cartway and increased the sidewalk on the north from 26 to 75 feet; the sidewalk was not widened where historic buildings were preserved. Three rows of willow oak trees were installed on the north; on the south, the sidewalk was widened to an average distance of 45 to 55 feet between the curb and the building face, with a double row of trees. She said that the tree canopy frames Pennsylvania Avenue, and this is still largely the condition of the avenue today.
Ms. Sullivan outlined three alternatives for the build-to line. The first follows the 1974 plan, with a build-to line set 50 feet from the L'Enfant Plan right-of-way, resulting in a 79-foot-wide sidewalk in front of the FBI building planted with three rows of trees. Under this alternative, the two sides of the avenue would differ, and the view of the Capitol would not be centered. The second alternative, preferred by NCPC staff, would locate the build-to line on the north approximately 20 feet back from the L'Enfant Plan right-of-way, resulting in a distance of 46 feet between the curb and the building face, and would accommodate a double row of trees. This approach would create a symmetrical view of the Capitol and an amount of public space similar to that provided on the south side of the street, sufficient for both pedestrian circulation and outdoor seating. A third alternative would restore the L'Enfant Plan facade alignment, resulting in a 26-foot-wide sidewalk; this would allow enough space only for pedestrian circulation but would not provide enough room for other outdoor activities and programming.
Ms. Sullivan noted that the amount of potential building development increases as the build-to line moves closer to the property line. If D Street is reestablished, then continued use of the 1974 plan's build-to line along Pennsylvania Avenue would result in a relatively small parcel for Square 379, while moving the build-to line forward to 20 feet from the property line would result in a developable area similar to other triangular sites in D.C.
Ms. Sullivan said that the greatest concern of NCPC staff regarding the L'Enfant and the 1974 Plan alternatives is the effect of the build-to lines on the public realm, the character of Pennsylvania Avenue, and the amount of sidewalk space: the 1974 plan's setback provides what might be too much space, while the L'Enfant Plan alternative may result in too little. She noted that the decision affects a substantial length—approximately 520 feet—of Pennsylvania Avenue frontage on Square 379.
Ms. Sullivan said that at the historic buildings along Pennsylvania Avenue, where buildings are located at the L'Enfant Plan right-of-way, half the sidewalk width is taken up by tree wells and lampposts, resulting in a 13-foot-wide walkway that is uncomfortable for pedestrians. The judgment of NCPC staff is that this width is too narrow to accommodate the many activities held along Pennsylvania Avenue, such as parades and festivals. For these reasons, NCPC staff proposes the build-to line set 20 feet back from the L'Enfant Plan right-of-way, or 46 feet from the curb, a width that is sufficient to accommodate a double row of trees.
Ms. Sullivan then described the issues of building wall, building height, and viewsheds. She observed that the building wall on the north side of the avenue is not consistent, with several buildings coming up to the L'Enfant Plan right-of-way. If other sites were redeveloped, it could be possible to create a strong sense of the street wall at this right-of-way line, but if the curb remains at its current alignment then the expanded building sites would likely be at the expense of the sidewalk and the landscape.
Ms. Sullivan presented numerous computer-generated perspective modeling studies of redevelopment to different height and build-to lines, intended to inform discussion of larger questions about the role of a new building on this site. The studies illustrated the the three alternative build-to lines, with varying heights for the Pennsylvania Avenue facade and stepback heights ranging from 115 to 160 feet, and with views of the FBI site from different vantage points to the east and west in order to explore the relative visibility of building masses and the effect of these variables on views toward the Capitol and the Treasury. She asked the Commission members to consider how prominent a building on the triangular parcel should be, and whether it should be placed forward of other buildings on the avenue. She noted that a narrower dimension between building faces helps foster a more intimate effect, but if development on the site were built out to the narrower L'Enfant Plan right-of-way, it would project in front of most other buildings along the avenue. Observing that the FBI site is a transition point for building heights along Pennsylvania Avenue, she asked if new development should maintain the greater heights to the west or descend toward the lower heights to the east. She also posed the question of whether the public realm of Pennsylvania Avenue should be different from other downtown streets, or whether it should return to the dimensions of the L'Enfant Plan—even though this change would reduce the sidewalk area available for public use.
Ms. Sullivan said that NCPC, through its Pennsylvania Avenue Initiative, will be working with stakeholders to consider reducing the cartway width of Pennsylvania Avenue, which would allow for the building line to move forward while maintaining a forty-foot-wide sidewalk on both sides. This decision will not be made before the square guidelines draft in October or the final version in December 2016, but amendments to the square guidelines could be proposed in the future by NCPC, GSA, NPS, or the development team.
Mr. Luebke summarized the written comments provided by Commission member Beth Meyer, who was unable to attend the meeting. Ms. Meyer wrote that the project brings up many questions: what it means to demolish a significant work of Brutalist architecture that is urbanistically problematic, and what it means to disregard the work of Daniel Kiley, one of the most important landscape architects of the 20th century. She wrote that she understands the rationale of reintroducing D Street to restore the L'Enfant city grid but is concerned about the possible loss of the wide sidewalk along Pennsylvania Avenue, which makes possible the three rows of large willow oak trees. She advocated maintaining the current setback because the L'Enfant Plan alignment at 26 feet from the curb would be much too narrow at this location, and she does not think that a new, intermediate alignment on the north has a strong justification.
Mr. Luebke said that the present discussion of square guidelines requires only comments, not an action. Chairman Powell noted that any new building would be many years in the future as new site for the FBI has not even been selected yet. Ms. Sullivan responded that NCPC expects the process of redevelopment to take approximately ten years.
Ms. Gilbert asked for clarification of the intended public reservation at the west end of Square 379, which was described as affecting the allowable height of new buildings. Ms. Sullivan responded that the 1910 Height Act provides that streets and avenues intersecting at a reservation can extend their allowable height across the reservation; NCPC has determined that if D Street is restored in this location, the allowable height of 160 feet along Pennsylvania Avenue would also be allowable on Square 378 if an appropriately sited public reservation is provided. She said there is no definition of how large or small the space needs to be; the project team has worked on the assumption that the west building face would be aligned thirty feet from the west end of the triangular site, and the resulting public space would be small. Ms. Gilbert commented that the appearance of the public realm would also be dependent on the arrangement of street trees in front of the building, with a great difference between two and three rows of trees. She said that three rows of trees create a space, a "magic moment," not simply an area to walk through, and also provide needed shade. She also disagreed with the statement in the presentation that the existing building alignment results in too much sidewalk space; on the contrary, she said that it is not excessive, and she recommended further analysis of these issues.
Mr. Krieger expressed dissatisfaction with the computer modeling images in NCPC's presentation; he recommended using a more advanced three-dimensional modeling program that would show actual buildings instead of abstract white masses and shadows. He commented that the tree canopy is a far more important space-defining element than building heights. He said the difference in height between 130 and 160 feet would not be so noticeable to a pedestrian walking down Pennsylvania Avenue, where the amazing and most important feature is the mature green canopy or tunnel; the priority should be on preserving or enhancing this effect. He said he was not sure whether the canopy requires a third row of trees, but moving the build-to line to the L'Enfant Plan alignment would be a terrible decision because it would severely limit the area available for trees. He added that the 160-foot building height with the L'Enfant Plan build-to line would be the worst scenario, and he urged NCPC to eliminate this option. He acknowledged that the existing sidewalk is unusually wide, and he therefore understands the desire to reduce its width, perhaps to match the south side. He said that moving the build-to line would probably help the development of this particular block, but issues of height would become more sensitive: if the build-to line is moved forward. He summarized that he is sympathetic to the idea of narrowing the sidewalk but has no recommendation of a particular width.
Ms. Gilbert supported Mr. Krieger's comments, observing that the pedestrian space along the avenue widens and narrows a few times. Mr. Krieger said that this is probably not a bad thing; Ms. Gilbert agreed and commented that moving the build-to line forward without allowing the maximum 160-foot building height at this line is probably the right direction for the square guidelines. Ms. Sullivan clarified that the rationale for a build-to line at 46 feet from the curb is based on how far the roots of trees planted in tree wells tend to spread: 46 feet is the minimum width to accommodate two rows of trees. She added that the resulting area for Square 379 also has to be a developable site in conjunction with the limitations imposed by restoring D Street. She noted that the build-to line on the south side of the street varies between 45 and 55 feet from the curb, and the acceptable difference between the two sides of the street is an open question, since the character of development on each side is different.
Mr. Krieger and Ms. Gilbert agreed that the analysis for the square guidelines is moving in the right direction; Ms. Gilbert added that Commission members support the restoration of D Street. Mr. Luebke noted that the historic District Building is located west of the FBI site, and reopening D Street would restore a direct route and sightline connecting it to the complex of D.C. government buildings at Judiciary Square, a grouping formerly called the Municipal Center.
Mr. Krieger observed that one difference between modern and historic cities is the size of their buildings, and he said that a new structure the size of the FBI building, or even larger, would not be desirable. He commented that creating a north-south street through the middle of the FBI site would be beneficial. Ms. Sullivan responded that the guidelines will address internal circulation, although the issue of parcelization is difficult to address without a development program. Mr. Krieger recommended inclusion of a north-south alley, pedestrian walk, or street, and ensuring that no new building is as wide or massive as the current FBI building. Ms. Sullivan agreed and said that another consideration is whether the square guidelines should address focusing the center of public activity toward the interior of the block or along the perimeter streets. Mr. Krieger said that having the activity in the center of the block might help the developer, but placing activity along the streets would benefit everyone else, and this should be the choice unless a compelling reason is identified to focus the activity in the center.
Ms. Sullivan thanked the Commission members for their comments and said that the draft square guidelines would be submitted for review in the coming months. Mr. Luebke said that written comments would be transmitted to NCPC. The discussion concluded without a formal action.
C. American Battle Monuments Commission
Secretary Luebke noted that the published draft agenda had included two projects from the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) for review, but the submission for the U.S. Memorial at the Pukeahu National War Memorial in Wellington, New Zealand, has been withdrawn because the architect is not able to attend today's meeting.
CFA 21/JUL/16-2, Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines. New visitor center building. Revised concept. (Previous: CFA 16/JUN/16-2.) Mr. Luebke introduced the revised concept design for a new visitor center at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. He summarized the previous review in May 2016, when the Commission approved the general proposal while requesting a revised concept submission addressing several recommendations: the building should have a more deliberate relationship with the landscape; it should provide a more emphatic terminus to the secondary axis leading from the memorial; and the ancillary restroom structure should be integrated with the main visitor center building.
Mr. Luebke asked Michael Conley, the executive officer of the ABMC, to begin the presentation. Mr. Conley noted that this is the fourth new visitor center project that the ABMC has brought to the Commission in recent years. He introduced Elizabeth Chu Richter and David Richter of Richter Architects to present the design.
Ms. Richter said that the presentation includes more information about several topics: the cemetery's topography and urban context; the design intent of the proposed building in relation to the cemetery's original design intent; and the relation of the proposed building to the existing landscape. Mr. Richter said that he would present two designs—the preferred design and the alternative design—with focus on the option that is preferred by the project team because it is more responsive to the Commission's comments. He added that new renderings, photographs, and diagrams have been provided to give more detailed information about site conditions, including the dense development surrounding the cemetery and the steepness of the slope south of the building site.
Mr. Richter said that the ABMC wants the approach to the new visitor center to be understated and integrated within the existing landscaping to avoid competition with the cemetery's nearby central memorial area and chapel. While the visitor center would not be on the cemetery's primary formal axis, it would be located along a natural travel route for visitors. He indicated the use of a covered walk to connect the lobby of the visitor center with the restroom building in the preferred design, with both buildings integrated into a single composition; the distance between these buildings has also been decreased by three meters. The covered walk would frame a vista through a small central garden to the cemetery beyond. The separation would allow the restroom building to be stepped down the slope, which would improve the site drainage and lower its roof in relation to the roof of the visitor center lobby. He said that the design for the cantilevered roof over the walk would not use columnar supports because these might recall the central memorial's colonnade; similarly, the overall design would use different materials from the memorial area and would emphasize horizontality instead of verticality.
Mr. Richter described the changes to the landscape plan, noting that the planting would be essentially the same in both design options. Instead of simple foundation planting, dense landscaping would be used around the building's perimeter to create a garden setting. Paths would lead around the ends of the buildings; in three locations, turf would adjoin the paths so that visitors can walk directly from the paths onto the cemetery lawns. The plumeria grove and the single large acacia tree would remain; any plantings disturbed by construction would be replanted, and new plantings would be installed as a buffer between the project site and the existing plantings.
Mr. Krieger asked about the relationship of the site to the cemetery's surroundings. Mr. Richter responded that the dense urban growth around the cemetery has changed its pastoral nature, but he emphasized that one of the ABMC's goals is to enhance the cemetery's character as a large park within the city and an inviting destination for residents. The existing landscape south of the visitor center will partially screen the tall buildings bordering the cemetery; when seen from the south, the building site will appear little changed. When seen from the cemetery's central memorial complex, the higher roof plane of the visitor center lobby would be slightly above eye level, while the roof of the more extensive lower-level gallery would be slightly below eye level; he said that some portions of this lower-level roof would require visual screening with plants.
Mr. Richter said that the alternative design is essentially the same as the originally submitted concept design, with more landscape development of the ground plane. This design does not have a covered walkway; the restroom building would have less visual impact but would also be less integrated within the design.
Mr. Powell commented that the revised concept of the preferred design is responsive to the Commission's previous recommendations and is much improved over the initial submission. Mr. Krieger commented on the improved relationship of the two buildings in the preferred design. Ms. Lehrer and Mr. Krieger expressed support for the improved proportions among the elements of the design and the building's siting within the landscape. Ms. Lehrer also encouraged the design of paths and lawn edges that brings visitors around the sides of the building to the southern area of the cemetery. She supported the apparent mix of tropical plants that is proposed on the slope behind the visitor center to blend in with the existing landscape, although she noted the difficulty of judging from the presentation materials what plants have been chosen and why. Mr. Richter clarified that new plantings would use the existing plant palette of the cemetery.
Ms. Gilbert commented that the planting in the preferred design resembles foundation plantings that create a "green skirt" around the building, while the cemetery's existing landscape is characterized by shaped islands of low plantings, shrubs, and isolated canopy trees. She suggested that the new landscape design use the same language, so that the building would appear instead to be set within a larger planting island. She also observed that the historic landscape plan included in the presentation appears to include more canopy trees than now exist, and she asked if additional trees would be planted on the slope below the visitor center. Mr. Richter responded that the project only includes the immediate site of the visitor center, adding that the original planting plan may have included too many trees. Ms. Gilbert suggested adding two or three more trees south of the new building; Ms. Richter noted the importance of keeping the visual openness between the areas of the cemetery with graves. Harry Robinson, the ABMC's executive architect (and a former chairman of the Commission of Fine Arts), added that archival research of the cemetery's original landscape plan has shown the importance of grass panels to the design.
Mr. Dunson commented that the extended horizontal roof and floor lines of the proposed covered walk in the preferred design would unite the composition and add to the design's elegance. He said that the revised concept is an important and well-designed improvement.
Mr. Luebke noted that for other ABMC visitor center projects, the Commission has delegated the final design review to the staff. Upon a motion by Mr. Dunson, the Commission approved the preferred design of the revised concept submission with the comments provided, and delegated further review to the staff.
D. General Services Administration
Ms. Batcheler introduced the two concept submissions for modifications and additions to the historic Center Building at the St. Elizabeths West Campus, as part of the reuse of the campus for the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She noted the Commission's approval in November 2015 of the Center Building's restoration and rehabilitation, which is currently underway. The first of the new proposals is the addition of an east entry as a secure staff entrance. The second project, referred to as the West Addition, would add a three-story office building of approximately 80,000 square feet; it would also provide the primary entrance for approximately 2,500 employees using the Center Building and a below-grade operations center. She asked Mina Wright of the General Services Administration to begin the presentation of the two projects.
Ms. Wright said that the east entry to the Center Building would generally be used by employees entering the campus from Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue; a future parking garage on the east side of the campus would generate additional use of this entrance. She described the West Addition as an especially important architectural feature of the campus due to its location between the historic Center Building and the modern Coast Guard headquarters building. She said that constraints of funding and phasing have resulted in very limited provision for landscape design, a problem that had been noted in the November 2015 review of the Center Building rehabilitation; fortunately, the landscape for the West Addition has recently been added to the project scope, although it is not yet fully developed as a landscape concept. She introduced architect Shalom Baranes of Shalom Baranes Associates to present the east entry, and architect Todd Symonds of Goody Clancy to present the West Addition.
1. CFA 21/JUL/16-3, St. Elizabeths West Campus, 2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE. Center Building (U.S. Department of Homeland Security headquarters). East entry, additions and alterations. Concept. (Previous: CFA 19/NOV/15-4, Center Building renovation and restoration.) Mr. Baranes described the proposed east entry as a modest courtyard infill between two segments of the Center Building that are designated as Building 6 and Building 8. He said that visibility of the infill from the grounds of the East Campus would be limited to the view through a narrow gap between Buildings 6 and 8 on the north, as well as a more open view of a new facade on the south. He presented a historic photograph of Building 8 with its extensive porch on the north and east, along with a current photograph showing that the porch has recently been demolished; it would be reconstructed as part of the east entry proposal.
Mr. Baranes presented plans, sections, and perspective views of the proposed construction. The first floor would occupy most of the courtyard to provide office space, an elevator lobby, and a connecting corridor along the south facade. The smaller second floor would have only an elevator lobby and a ramped corridor connecting the unaligned second floors of Buildings 6 and 8. He indicated the low roof above the single-story office space, the middle-height roof above the elevator lobby, and the higher roofs above the connecting corridor and the elevator shafts. He said that the proposed curtainwall facades are designed to respect the historic architecture by remaining below the existing cornice lines; the materials would include metal framing, gray metal panels at the elevator shafts, transparent glass at the corridors and elevator lobbies, and translucent glass for spandrel panels that would conceal the structure and ramping. He added that the glass would be specified to avoid a prominent contrast between vision and spandrel panels.
Mr. Baranes indicated the proposed alterations to the existing masonry openings, which he described as very minimal. At several window openings, the sill would be lowered; other openings would be slightly widened; and some existing doors would be replaced. The old wood flooring would also be replaced, using a composite floor system.
Secretary Luebke acknowledged that the presented design is modest in scope and might ordinarily have been placed on the Commission's consent calendar. He noted that the design results from extended discussions at the staff level, and the presentation serves as a reintroduction to the Center Building that would be further affected by the next agenda item. He said that a remaining concern of the staff is the extent of reconstruction that would be required by the proposed widening of the masonry openings; the presentation has not addressed the staff's request for revised detailing that could stay within the existing openings.
Mr. Dunson agreed that retention of the building's historic fabric is an important preservation issue, while observing that the proposal already includes reconstruction of the porch in combination with preservation of the masonry walls; he said that the question is how much reconstruction is needed, rather than whether reconstruction could be avoided altogether. He noted the apparent intent to replicate the dimensions of the historic construction as closely as possible. Mr. Luebke confirmed that the porch would be replicated, while the decorative surrounds of the window openings would require extensive alterations if the openings are widened.
Mr. Baranes said that the reasons for widening the openings include accessibility and code compliance. Melissa Cohen, a preservation architect with Shalom Baranes Associates, responded further that the detail at the masonry openings is still being studied, and a better solution may be found by adjusting the door configuration and hardware. She confirmed the goal of not widening the masonry opening if avoidable.
Chairman Powell expressed overall support for the proposal, subject to the issue of altering the masonry openings, and he suggested approval of the concept with further review delegated to the staff. Upon a second by Mr. Dunson, the Commission adopted this action.
2. CFA 21/JUL/16-4, St. Elizabeths West Campus, 2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE. Center Building (U.S. Department of Homeland Security headquarters). West Addition. Concept. (Previous: CFA 19/NOV/15-4, Center Building renovation and restoration.) Mr. Symonds of Goody Clancy presented the historical and design context for the proposed West Addition, which will occupy a 75,000-square-foot site immediately adjacent to the historic Center Building—the original 19th-century structure of St. Elizabeths Hospital that implemented Dr. Thomas Kirkbride's pioneering model of treating mental illness in a pastoral landscape setting. To the west across Cedar Drive is the recently constructed Munro Building, containing the headquarters of the U.S. Coast Guard; the site is on the upper plateau of the campus, with the Munro Building and the campus topography stepping down on the west toward the Potomac River. He indicated the Munro Building's ceremonial entrance near the West Addition site, facing the Center Building where the offices of the Secretary of Homeland Security will be located. On the east is the historic Creamery building, which will be renovated in the future, and on the southeast across Birch Street is the recently renovated Firehouse with its distinctive clock tower. He said that the landscape and buildings at this site have changed numerous times over the history of the hospital—a development pattern that is typical of a Kirkbride campus, particularly on the service side of the main hospital building.
Mr. Symonds described the design challenges of relating to the context in massing, materials, landscape, and pedestrian circulation. People would approach the site from campus entrances to the east and west, and from surrounding buildings and walks. Approximately 400 people would work in the West Addition; many others would pass through it to reach the Center Building, the Creamery, or the below-grade operations center, or would go around the building to reach the centrally located campus amenities. He indicated the important walking route between the Munro Building and the Center Building. He said that the design process has also included considerations of the views of the site, often framed by existing or future buildings. The site's topography is an additional factor, dropping more than ten feet toward the southwest corner.
Mr. Symonds presented the proposed massing, which is generally kept at least fifty feet away from existing buildings so that their restored historic facades can be appreciated. A thin, two-story-high corridor would provide a minimal above-ground connection between the West Addition and the Center Building; he added that the design of this connection is being coordinated with other additions to the Center Building for consistency of design vocabulary in the modern-era construction. He indicated the entrance lobby and vertical circulation that are designed to address the multiple destinations of people entering the building, and the upper three floors of flexible office space. The top floor would be stepped back on the southwest, in keeping with the stepped massing of the Center Building and Munro Building, and the overall height would be slightly less than the nearest wing of the Center Building.
Mr. Symonds described the intended exterior materials of masonry, stone, and metal. The north and east facades would emphasize brick walls with punched openings that follow the rhythm established by the Center Building. A terra cotta screen would be used as a transitional element to the glass volume on the south, with vertical fins of terra cotta on the west facade and additional solar shading on the south. He said that the glass volume would prominently identify the building entrance while respecting the scale and character of other architecture on the campus. He presented several perspective views of the proposal, emphasizing the relationships of massing and materials among the buildings. He indicated the view across the site from the Munro Building's ceremonial entrance toward the prominent historic smokestacks to the south; the proposed massing and landscape would maintain this view.
Mr. Symonds concluded by summarizing the initial landscape concept as a transition between the pastoral, therapeutic landscape around the historic Center Building and the contemporary landscape at the Munro Building. He described the landscape features that characterize the campus: extensive lawns, curving paths, views framed by buildings and trees, and a series of informal plantings. He described the proposed landscape areas for the West Addition as calming, with varying-sized trees and a continuation of the campus path system. He indicated a paved area at the northwest corner of the site to accommodate the substantial emergency egress route from the Center Building to Cedar Drive.
The Commission members inspected the site model. Chairman Powell asked about the use for the Creamery; Mr. Symonds responded that this building has not yet been renovated but is planned for office space. Ms. Gilbert observed that the perspective drawings appear to show a series of stone retaining walls at the southeast portion of the site; Mr. Symonds responded that the landscape concept was being developed as the drawings were prepared, and the conclusion is to eliminate the retaining walls because the amount of stone would be excessive for the historic character of the campus. He added that the retaining walls are therefore no longer part of the landscape concept.
Ms. Lehrer expressed appreciation for the careful integration of brick and terra cotta for much of the proposed exterior, but she commented that the all-glass volume above the entrance appears to be merely added on. She suggested that this area be detailed to relate better to the rest of the building, such as by extending the use of terra cotta elements. Mr. Symonds acknowledged this concern and said that the design team is continuing to study the best balance and detailing for the terra cotta. Ms. Lehrer commented that the description of a "calm landscape" is appealing, but its meaning is unclear—perhaps referring to trees which are generally perceived as calm. Mr. Symonds said that the description is intended to encompass the lawns as well as trees. Ms. Lehrer agreed that these could all be described as calm, while encouraging further attention to landscape issues of scale, shade, and anchoring the building to the overall campus. She said that the presented photographs suggest that some parts of the campus landscape have not been cared for adequately, and the recent Munro Building landscape appears somewhat dissonant with the wider context; she suggested that the landscape design goal should be to integrate the West Addition with the more pastoral character of the campus. Mr. Symonds agreed, emphasizing that the calm character of the campus was part of Dr. Kirkbride's therapeutic approach of designing the buildings and landscape to work together in the treatment of mental illness.
Landscape architect Elliot Rhodeside of Rhodeside & Harwell provided a further response on the development of the proposed landscape concept. He said that many ideas have been quickly explored in recent weeks, ranging from a calm contextual design to a more modern, robust design with retaining walls and rain gardens. The response to these studies has been to pursue a calmer concept, as shown in the last sketch of the presentation. He described this proposal as a broad landscape with masses of trees to frame the building and longer views, using curved paths and extending the lawns to the curbs. He characterized this landscape design as an extension of the Center Building landscape, without attempting to provide a transition to the contrasting Munro Building landscape. He said that the design team and the General Services Administration are comfortable with this overall approach, and the challenges now are to resolve the topographic changes, to ensure the adequacy of the circulation pattern, and to develop the details. Chairman Powell noted the fine line between a calm and a boring design; Mr. Rhodeside said that the design is intended to be appropriate rather than boring.
Mr. Krieger criticized the presented design as timid and undistinguished, in contrast to the description of this project as one of the more important buildings on the campus; he acknowledged that such importance may not actually be necessary. He questioned the proposed placement of the building in the middle of the site, instead of an off-center placement that would result in one side of open space being larger than the other; he also questioned the reason for the building's proposed shape, which could instead be more elongated or square. He said that the proposed masonry treatment nearest the Center Building may not be good enough for this context, and the detailing of the terra cotta will be an important factor in the design. He summarized that this building should have an impressive design—as one of the few new buildings on the campus, located on top of the hill, and with an important use—but the proposal is unimpressive. He suggested drawing more inspiration from the context: the Center Building was an important statement of its time; the recent Munro Building, despite apparent problems with its landscape, is expressive of our own time; and even the Creamery has a strong design character, even if currently in poor condition. The proposed building, in contrast, appears to be a fairly conventional box with a corner removed. He concluded that the proposal is slightly better than mediocre, in contrast to the higher aspirations that were stated.
Ms. Wright responded that the design process for this campus includes extensive historic preservation consultation, particularly with a group known as the consulting parties. She said that the General Services Administration has brought numerous concepts to this group, ranging from the current design to a more bold approach; the consulting parties have extensively debated the project and have not reached a consensus. Chairman Powell asked for clarification of this group; Ms. Wright said that the numerous consulting parties include the Commission of Fine Arts, the National Capital Planning Commission, the D.C. Historic Preservation Office, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. Mr. Krieger asked if the topic of contention is the character of the design, or deciding whether any building should be located here. Ms. Wright responded that the issue has been the appropriate degree of boldness of the design in relation to the historic character of the campus, which she described as a difficult and subjective question that has long been debated within the field of historic preservation.
Mr. Symonds responded to the Commission's comments by noting that many alternative massing configurations were studied during the design process. He said that the proposed massing is intended to reinforce the prevailing context of stronger volumes oriented east-west along with complementary north-south volumes. He described the massing as a "reverse L" that helps to define the outdoor room and reconcile the various landscapes that converge in this area; the design, including the quiet masonry treatment and stepped profile, is intended to respect the context of architecture, landscape, and topography.
Mr. Krieger supported these intentions but continued to question the resulting design and siting, which he described as ordinary-looking. He said that the proposed stepped profile is too unlike the stepped Center Building to suggest a strong relationship; the proportions are very different. The intention to include large lawn areas is also not realized, with only small lawns provided in the design. He said that the proposal may actually express the current state of our design aspirations, and may be acceptable, but it lacks the distinction and long-term importance of the Center Building or even the Munro Building. He expressed disappointment in the proposal, which is so calm that it tries to pretend not to be there, despite its prominent location. He acknowledged the reasons for this design approach while regretting the lack of aspiration.
Mr. Dunson acknowledged the difficulty of designing for this site. He said that the West Addition should serve as a terminus for the generally symmetrical Center Building, which he described as very powerful with rich detailing and articulation. He commented that the proposed design is not adequate to achieve this goal, and instead detracts from the context; he suggested more boldness in responding to the Center Building, while acknowledging the concern that the new terminus should not compete with the Center Building's centralized focus. He said that the building merely "dies away" into the glass volume above the entrance, and he suggested that the conflicting issues be resolved to provide a better terminus for the Center Building. He expressed interest in further development of the design for the portions of the West Addition nearest to the Center Building, particularly the transition between brick and terra cotta. He encouraged further study of the stepped massing to carry this gesture through the entire design.
Mr. Krieger agreed that the one-story stepping of the West Addition is weak and does not enhance the Center Building, which is very different in how it steps down slowly through a series of wings. He also agreed that a larger issue is whether the West Addition should be a powerful building, or a diminishing extension of the Center Building. Mr. Dunson recommended that the design should firmly express one side or the other of this issue, and he said that the relationship of the West Addition to the Munro Building and the Creamery is less important. He added that replicating the Center Building's detailing would not be appropriate for the West Addition, and he emphasized the difficulty of the project.
Mr. Powell questioned whether boldness would be an appropriate design approach for this project, while suggesting that more character and expression would help it fit in alongside the expressive Center Building. He supported Mr. Krieger's concern that while the building's presence would be felt, its design is so quiet that it is uninteresting. Ms. Gilbert observed that the character of the Center Building results from its zig-zag plan as well as from its stepped massing, and from how the numerous volumes come together; she said that the West Addition presents an opportunity to explore these features. Mr. Krieger expressed confidence in the ability of the project team to respond to the Commission's guidance without need for specific design suggestions. He recommended a goal of designing the West Addition to be good enough to stand alongside the Center Building without mimicking it; he said that the design does not yet achieve this. Mr. Luebke asked if the Commission supports the design approach of a transition from solid masonry walls to glass with terra cotta to an all-glass volume. Mr. Krieger said that this is among the design intentions that sounds good but is difficult to achieve. Mr. Dunson said that the glass-enclosed volume above the entrance is not helping the overall appearance and may be detracting from the project's other design goals; he said that the detailing of this volume seems less careful than with other parts of the design, resulting in an unfinished appearance.
Chairman Powell suggested providing a summary of the Commission's comments. The discussion concluded without a formal action.
3. CFA 21/JUL/16-5, Southeast Federal Center–The Yards, Parcel L-2, bounded by Tingey, 2nd, and 3rd Streets, SE. New eleven-story mixed-use building (residential-retail). Concept. Ms. Batcheler introduced the concept design for development of a parcel at The Yards, a public-private redevelopment area at the Southeast Federal Center. She noted the Commission's July 2005 agreement with the General Services Administration which stipulates that projects at The Yards are submitted to the Commission only at the 35 percent stage of the design process for concept review, with no requirement for a final design submission. She said that the current submission is for a portion of Parcel L that is designated as Parcel L-2; the adjacent planned development of a hotel on Parcel L-1 will be submitted later this year for the Commission's review. She noted that the site model depicts the massing of both portions of Parcel L, with more detail shown for the building on Parcel L-2. She asked Mina Wright of the General Services Administration to begin the presentation.
Ms. Wright said that this submission is part of the ongoing series of development proposals within The Yards. She noted that the architecture firm for Parcel L-2 is also developing the design for Parcel L-1, which should reduce any potential difficulties in coordinating the adjacent buildings. She introduced Jason Bonnet of Forest City Washington, the developer of The Yards, to continue the presentation.
Mr. Bonnet described the program for Parcel L-2 as primarily rental apartments, along with street-level retail space; in combination with the hotel development planned for Parcel L-1 to the north, the overall block would have a varied mix of uses. He said that Forest City specializes in the type of residential project planned for Parcel L-2 and has therefore moved more quickly on this portion of the block with a design by Studios Architecture; his firm does not specialize in hotels and has partnered with another developer for the Parcel L-1 hotel, resulting in a slightly slower process. He said that the partnering developer has selected Studios Architecture to design the hotel, with the beneficial result that the entire block can be holistically designed as a single parcel; this will be more evident when the hotel concept is presented later in the year.
Mr. Bonnet summarized the context of The Yards and the past review process. He said that his firm has made numerous presentations to the Commission, including many buildings and the Yards Park along the Anacostia River; this 5.5-acre public park is an anchor for The Yards and for the wider Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, and the proposed design for Parcel L-2 is strongly influenced by the park. He presented a map showing the extent of The Yards, indicating Parcel L-2 within the historic zone of the overall development area; he also showed the distribution of uses that has been specified through the zoning and master planning process. Several buildings reviewed by the Commission in recent years have been completed, and another is under construction. He emphasized the proximity of Parcel L-2 to Yards Park and the site's views toward the Anacostia River. He introduced Brian Pilot of Studios Architecture and landscape architect Rick Parisi of M. Paul Friedberg & Partners to present the design.
Mr. Pilot described the inspiration provided by the site's context. The location is at the edge of the historic zone designated in the guidelines for redevelopment of the Southeast Federal Center, and the proposed architecture is intended to address the historic design character of this area. The proposed massing and design also relates to the adjacent Yards Park, a heavily used amenity that provides a strong connection to the Anacostia River. He noted that Mr. Parisi had been the lead designer for the Yards Park, and his involvement with the Parcel L-2 design will strengthen the relationship of this development to the overall public realm of The Yards. Other nearby buildings include the Foundry Lofts to the east, with a two-story addition above a four-story historic building; the two-story Lumber Shed building to the southeast; and the historic pump house operated by DC Water to the southwest. Secretary Luebke noted that the Commission recently reviewed a headquarters building for DC Water on a site further to the southwest. Mr. Pilot presented views of Parcel L from N Street and New Jersey Avenue, indicating the Navy Yard Metro station to the northwest. He noted that the drawings illustrate the planned full build-out of The Yards, although much of the area to the west is currently vacant sites. He emphasized the various open spaces and wide streets surrounding Parcel L, providing a relatively spacious setting for the project.
Mr. Pilot presented a photograph of the 1917 building, known as Building 159, that formerly occupied the site when the Navy Yard's industrial activities extended into this area. He said that the proposed design is intended to bring back a memory of Building 159 through massing and a contemporary expression of the historic industrial character; he cited Building 159's large scale, rhythmic base treatment, light-colored concrete structural frame, and large punched openings with dark metal multi-light window frames. He said that the design guidelines for development of The Yards provide further references for the proposal. The resulting design concept is a large building block, reminiscent of Building 159, whose mass is eroded on the southeast in response to the location and geometry of Yards Park. He presented an axonometric overlay of the proposed massing within the silhouette of the demolished Building 159. Two types of facade design would be used: "Skin A" would recall the character of Building 159 in a contemporary manner, with a concrete frame, textured infill panels, and punched openings; and "Skin B" would have a more modern style with glass and metal panels. Toward the southeast, the landscape of the park would extend up the terraces of the building, including an extensive planted terrace at the second floor with deep soil to accommodate trees. He noted that the facades seen from the northwest, where the Metro exit is located, would rise vertically to nearly the building's full height, similar to Building 159, while the massing as seen from Yards Park would be extensively eroded.
Mr. Pilot presented a series of diagrams to illustrate the complex geometry of stepbacks and terraces in the proposed massing. He said that the western side of the building would be perceived as a major element oriented in the north-south direction, with the building's southwest end shaped to have the character of a ship's prow. The stepped-down massing on the east side would be lowest at the southeast corner, resulting in a height that is compatible with the Foundry Lofts and Lumber Shed projects as well as the adjoining open space. He said that the building height and transition of facade types would also relate to the seventy-foot height of the historic pump house to the southwest: Skin A would be used for the full height at the northern end of the west facade, and stepping down toward the south where Skin B would be used on the upper floors. He added that the ongoing operations of DC Water have generated additional excavation constraints for the project. He indicated the more complex relationship of heights and facade types that would be perceived from Yards Park, displaying the full range of the building's architectural features; the landscape would become increasingly prominent in areas where the building volume is eroded.
Mr. Pilot described additional features of the design that further develop the architectural themes of the building. The repetitive structural base and the concrete frame would provide a contemporary expression of Building 159; other parts of the facade would use metal C-channels to provide an industrial character or would relate more to the organic character of the park. The details of Skin B would relate to the glazing treatment at the nearby Boilermaker Shops project at The Yards, with a warmer dark gray that is distinct from the color of Skin A. He presented a series of perspective views of the proposal from around the site, noting that some of the planned trees are omitted from these drawings for clarity. He indicated the residential entrance at the north end of the west facade, possibly using textured cast-metal panels on the facade to recall the former foundry use of the site; a 55-foot-wide space would separate the upper floors of the proposed residential building from the planned hotel to the north. In the view from the northeast, the east facade's stepped profile would emphasize Yards Park to the south. From the east along Water Street, the view would extend past the proposed development to the historic pump house. He said that in the view from the south, the extension of the geometry of Yards Park into the proposed design would be apparent; he emphasized the strong collaboration of architects and landscape architects within the design team, as well as the importance of this site at a prominent, central position within The Yards.
Mr. Pilot presented the conceptual plans for the project. Parcel L-2 would have two levels of below-grade parking, connecting to a single level of below-grade parking for Parcel L-1. Ground-floor uses would include retail along the east and at the southeast and southwest corners; two-story townhouse-style residences would be located along the west; and the residential lobby and amenity space would include entrances at the northwest and along the south facade. He added that the planned hotel on Parcel L-1 is required to provide additional retail space on the north, and the hotel lobby would likely be on the west adjacent to the residential lobby for Parcel L-2. Parking and loading access on the east along 3rd Street would be used by both the Parcel L-1 and Parcel L-2 developments; he indicated the extensive loading dock area within the site that would accommodate trucks and turnarounds away from the street. The upper floors would have a conventional double-loaded corridor layout of apartments.
Mr. Parisi presented the proposed landscape design, noting his long involvement in The Yards that dates to the area's master plan as well as the Yards Park. He said that other projects along the park have involved historic buildings, while this project will be the first new construction that directly adjoins the park. He said that the master plan had called for Water Street to extend along the southern edge of Parcel L, with the goal of street-facing retail space on Parcel L that would serve to animate the park's major lawn area and extend the retail emphasis in the buildings to the east and west. This block of Water Street has instead become a pedestrianized area, and the challenge is to retain the intended retail edge facing the park; he contrasted this goal with the tendency toward a more privatized character for park space that is directly adjacent to a residential building. He said that the proposed design succeeds in achieving the intent of the master plan. He added that the extensive "blanket of green" folding down from the building toward the park would also serve to meet the required ratio of green space for the project. The planted areas would include the shared second-floor terrace; the private terraces as the massing steps back; and green roofs.
Mr. Parisi said that the streetscape design includes low-impact development features that are being used throughout The Yards. The former alignment of Water Street would be expressed in the open space design and will be presented in a later submission. The prevailing use of elm and London plane trees would be continued along this site, and the building terraces would include a combination of large trees and smaller flowering trees; he said that the planting depth would be more than four feet for areas with trees, more than two feet for shrubs, and eight inches for the green roofs. He said that the planted areas would be irrigated, partially using recycled water.
Ms. Gilbert asked why the trees are placed in a linear configuration along the stepped terraces at the southeastern end of the building, instead of using a more varied placement. Mr. Parisi responded that the trees are part of the screening between the two separate terraces of different apartments at each level of the stepback; the trees would be set within large raised planters that provide separation.
Mr. Krieger complimented the design team on the sophistication of the proposal, including both the architecture and landscape design. He said that the design nonetheless seems odd and slightly awkward in the contrast between the large scale of the building's western side compared to the smaller scale on the east. He also questioned the narrow configuration of the shared second-floor terrace along a north-south alignment, observing that it would receive only a very limited period of direct sunlight—particularly due to the large shadow cast by the building's full-height western wing in the afternoon created by the imbalanced massing concept. He added that the problem extends to excessive afternoon shadowing for many of the apartments and private terraces. He said that these concerns make the design seem insufficiently refined and artistically unconvincing, while confirming his overall support for the concept proposal.
Mr. Luebke noted that the proposed massing was discussed during design consultation meetings with the staff; based on the context of adjacent buildings, small open spaces, and the extensive open vista toward the river, the conclusion was that a more balanced stepback configuration along both sides of the U-shaped building might be more appropriate. The design approach that emerged was that the western portion of the building would express the concept of erosion through the transition of facade types, although this effect is largely planar rather than three-dimensional. Mr. Krieger said that the southern end of the building's western wing could nonetheless be eroded further, perhaps not replicating the treatment of the eastern wing but at least avoiding the appearance of unrelated buildings. He said that the volumetric erosion on the west could be based on the change in facade types that is already shown, with the goal of more proportional compatibility between the western and eastern halves of the building. He said that a more coherent and livable residential building is more important than a historic reference that will likely not be remembered with the passage of time.
Ms. Lehrer asked about the distribution of terraces around the building; Mr. Pilot confirmed that terraces would not be included on the western part of the building. Ms. Lehrer and Mr. Krieger expressed surprise, observing that some of these units face south with a view toward the river. Mr. Pilot responded that other shared outdoor terrace spaces would be available elsewhere for the units, and the erosions and angles in the massing of the building's western wing were determined after careful study of solar orientation. He emphasized that the design goal for the southern end of the western wing was to have a strongly shaped volume with the character of a prow, rising to the historic height of Building 159. Ms. Lehrer said that some volumetric relief could nonetheless be compatible with the prow imagery; she clarified the problem as creating an overly commercial office-building character for the western wing, rather than an industrial character, and with insufficient relation to the residential character of the eastern wing. She said that the result may be lower-quality and lower-rent apartments in the western wing, with nice views but no strong sense of connection to the river, while the apartments in the eastern wing would command a premium price. She emphasized that treating the facades with greater depth would benefit both the exterior design and the quality of the apartments within.
Ms. Lehrer expressed support for the concept of extending the park upward along the building, citing the generous soil depth that is proposed to support the trees on the building's terraces. For the stepbacks on the eastern wing, she questioned the configuration of trees in a double row extending up the terraces. She recommended a less ordered treatment, such as using single trees on some terraces and double trees on others; she observed that the park itself is not designed with a gridded arrangement of trees. She also suggested consideration of more planting along the walls of the building's rooftop mechanical penthouse, perhaps achieved by varying the roof form, while acknowledging that this area may be less visible from the ground than is apparent in the presented drawings.
Mr. Dunson commented that the intended perception of the massing is unclear. One reading could be that the project consists of multiple building volumes that have a relationship to the planned hotel as well as to each other; but the use of curves and multiple turns in the various volumes results in a confusing composition. He said that the curves may be competing against other parts of the design and contributing to the excessive sense of massiveness, and he recommended further clarification of the project's complex combination of volumes. Mr. Pilot responded that the details of the massing have been studied carefully; he said that the curves actually help with the interior planning of the apartments, but he acknowledged that they may seem unrelated to the overall architecture of the project and competing with it, and he said that this issue still needs to be resolved. He added that the broader intent is a strong reading of the building's street edges, contrasted with a distinct character for the exposed facades where the massing has been eroded. He said that the ongoing refinement of the design includes consideration of how the landscape features would be seen from within the apartments.
Mr. Krieger commented that the logic of the massing is too loose and should be more rigorous: corners of the building are cut off in a variety of ways and with differing angles, and the stepping of the floors is inconsistent. He said that narrowing the range of geometric gestures would improve the architectural coherence of the project. He also suggested addressing the problem of the building being too massive; Mr. Luebke said that the solution might be to use further stepbacks along the river frontage instead of the more superficial differentiation of facade types. Mr. Krieger said that any of these architectural methods could be successful if used more consistently; Ms. Gilbert agreed. Mr. Krieger contrasted the weakness of this design with Washington's Watergate complex, which has an overriding sense of curvilinear geometry.
Mr. Krieger summarized that the overall concept is acceptable but needs further design work. He suggested approving the concept and reviewing the next stage of the design's development. Mr. Luebke clarified that due to the special agreement concerning The Yards, a concept approval would conclude the Commission's review role. Ms. Wright added that the design would still be subject to further review through the D.C. zoning process.
Chairman Powell summarized the consensus to support the concept while requesting further development of the design. Several Commission members clarified their preference for reviewing an additional submission for this project. Mr. Dunson commented that the subtlety of the design gestures appears more effectively in the rendered perspectives, while the massing diagrams suggest a more stark appearance; he suggested that any remaining issues could be resolved by the design team, perhaps with a concept approval and without further Commission review. Mr. Krieger reiterated his desire to see this project again; he said that the massing diagrams may be providing the more reliable representation of the project, showing the need for volumetric adjustments, while the perspective views can be manipulated easily.
Chairman Powell suggested providing the Commission's comments without taking a formal action on the submission. Mr. Krieger acknowledged that a vote may be necessary to determine whether the Commission is approving the concept design. Chairman Powell supported the consensus to request a further submission, which is best achieved by not taking an action.
Mr. Bonnet said that the design would continue to move forward and would incorporate a response to the Commission's comments; he said that more information on the design logic and staff-level discussions could be provided to address the issues that have been raised. Mr. Krieger suggested focusing on how the design could be improved.
Mr. Dunson expressed confidence that the design team will be able to address the Commission's concerns, and he emphasized the importance of considering the building and landscape as part of the broader community. He added that his initial apprehension with the proposed massing has been lessened by the further discussion, and he suggested focusing on the details of the building's articulation and refinement. Mr. Krieger acknowledged that the Commission might normally approve this concept with the expectation of further improvement in the next submission, but the limited review process at The Yards requires that the Commission withhold concept approval in order to request a further review. Mr. Bonnet said that the next steps for the project include review by the National Capital Planning Commission, the D.C. Zoning Commission, and the General Services Administration for additional comments; he said that the project team intends to address further the issues that have been raised, which have already arisen during the design process. He acknowledged that the illustrated concept requires further articulation and detailing that will be developed in the coming months. He expressed confidence that the issues would be resolved successfully, noting that past comments have been resolved throughout the design process. Mr. Luebke noted that the Commission's concerns include the fundamental massing of the building, while the project team's response appears to be limited to refinement of the facade's details and articulation; the concerns with massing are appropriately addressed through further concept-level review. Ms. Gilbert agreed, and Mr. Krieger said that the massing may require some adjustment but not a radical reconception of the design.
Mr. Krieger made a motion not to approve the concept, with the request for a new submission that addresses the comments provided; upon a second by Ms. Gilbert, the Commission adopted this action. Chairman Powell summarized the Commission's favorable response to the proposed development but raising issues requiring further resolution that would reasonably result in the request for further review. He offered the Commission's ongoing assistance in addressing the outstanding design concerns.
E. Smithsonian Institution
CFA 21/JUL/16-6, National Zoological Park, 3001 Connecticut Avenue—Bird House. Building renovation, alterations, and additions. Revised concept. (Previous: CFA 16/APR/15- 3) Mr. Lindstrom introduced the revised concept design for renovation of the Bird House and its associated landscape within the National Zoological Park. He noted that the Commission last reviewed the project in April 2015, when it endorsed the general concept and requested further development of the design in accordance with its comments. He asked Ann Trowbridge, the Smithsonian's associate director for planning, to begin the presentation.
Ms. Trowbridge said that several meetings with the staff of the Commission and other agencies have informed the adjustments to the proposed design. The revised concept specifically addresses concerns raised by the D.C. Historic Preservation Office regarding the reuse of a historic mosaic entry surround that was salvaged from the Bird House when the building was heavily modified in the 1960s, and she anticipated that the D.C. Historic Preservation Office will issue a letter confirming a determination of No Adverse Effect on historic resources. She introduced Alyson Steele of Quinn Evans Architects to present the proposed design.
Ms. Steele said that the bird exhibition area, located within the deciduous forest landscape of Rock Creek Park, is sited on a flattened plateau at one of the highest points in the National Zoo. The Bird House facility was built in the 1920s to house and display the collection of live birds; she described the building as temple-like with a severe design character, with the exception of the colorful entry surround. She said that the building and grounds were altered in the 1960s and 1970s: the entry portal was demolished and the surround placed in the central aviary; the adjacent 90-foot-tall outdoor flight cage and connecting bridge was built; and the deciduous landscape was embellished.
Ms. Steele said that the new landscape design reviewed in 2015 is intended to balance naturalistic and cultural elements, characterized by pedestrian paths through a successional forest edge landscape punctuated by a large central clearing. The general concept for the new building addition and renovation, as presented in 2015, is to unify the site by providing a clear entry for visitors and to guide their eyes toward the sky to observe birds in nature. She said that the revised design increases the woodland character of the landscape and makes the building addition more visually dynamic through further expression of its bird-inspired elements.
Ms. Steele introduced Dennis Meyer of The Portico Group to present the proposed landscape design. Mr. Meyer described the mature deciduous hardwood forest that surrounds the site, including oak and tulip trees; these trees are the framework for the proposed plan, which includes several pedestrian paths, plazas, and a large central clearing. He said that the proposed design draws inspiration from the patterns of migrating birds and their sweeping movements; the landscape is also intended to balance the formal and informal geometries of the site and would simulate for visitors the experience of walking through Rock Creek Park. He said that these aspirations would be achieved by allowing the successional forest edge to cross the visitor paths and engage the clearing, breaking the edge of the clearing into smaller areas that visitors can interact with as they approach the building, and allowing dappled sunlight to fall on the edge of the site.
Mr. Meyer described the proposed pedestrian areas and paths. The central clearing would provide sunlit and shaded spaces for casual activities and rest, and it would also accommodate evening and social events. Visitors arriving from the pedestrian access bridge on the north would reach a generous landing area with a curving wall at the north end of the central clearing, intended to collect pedestrian traffic and allow visitors to pause and view the Bird House across the clearing; the view would be framed by trees, and the bridge landing area could accommodate bird sculptures. He indicated three pedestrian paths leading from the landing to the Bird House. The first, an eighteen-foot-wide paved promenade, would curve around the clearing and lead to the plaza in front of the Bird House, with alternating benches and seat walls along its edges; he noted the four-foot rise between the bridge landing and the ground floor of the Bird House. The second, a concrete serpentine path, would lead pedestrians through the clearing to the plaza; portions of this path would have curved bench seating. The third, a crushed-stone path, would meander along the western perimeter of the site through a bioretention area with several planters that would capture stormwater from the site and building. This path would lead to the side of the Bird House and a migratory bird "tracking station" that would be used for docent-led activities and demonstrations. Additional decks for other docent-led activities would flank the building. The plaza in front of the Bird House, called the Migratory Plaza, would have outdoor furniture and concession stands that could be moved to accommodate special events. He said that the proposal also incorporates wayfinding and interpretive signage to guide visitors from the Asia Trail and bridge to the Bird House.
Mr. Meyer described several of the proposed materials for the project. Precast rectangular pavers arranged in an east-west linear pattern would be used for the bridge landing, wide pedestrian promenade, and plaza. Wood is proposed for the tracking station, the education decks, various benches, and the footbridge spanning the bioretention area. He noted that the landscape design allows most stormwater to soak into the ground.
Mr. Meyer presented the proposed planting plan. He said that the design team worked with an ornithologist to select native plant materials suitable for attracting birds to the site. The patterns of migrating birds themselves also served as inspiration for the concept of drifts interspersed with accent plantings. He said that the existing trees would be kept based on an evaluation of their quality and condition, as well as their compatibility with the proposed grading plan. Low plantings would include Pennsylvania sedge and reed grass; shrub plantings, selected for their ability to survive in both wet and dry environments, would include Isanti red twig dogwood and highbush blueberry; and the under-story plantings would include downy serviceberry, witch hazel, and staghorn sumac.
Ms. Steele then presented the addition and renovations to the existing Bird House. She said that the form and materials of the proposed design are inspired by the color, patterning, and shape of bird wings and plumage, and the wing walls of the entry portal would reflect the curves of the clearing and entrance plaza. The addition's roof would appear to hover through the use of extensive glazing, and its central portion would extend outward toward the plaza to create a focal point and provide shelter for visitors; projecting rafter extensions at the ends of the roof would make it appear to be curving upwards. She said that the cladding of the addition, inspired specifically by the red knot bird, would be metal panels colored in a range of copper hues; these would be layered on the building in a fashion similar to a bird's wing plumage that has dense layers of feathers near the bird's body and longer, articulated feathers at the ends. She added that this detailing would be compatible with the fine masonry work of the existing building.
Ms. Steele said that glass used throughout the building would be fritted to reduce bird strikes against the windows. New skylights made of translucent polymeric panels would be placed over the entry lobby and central aviary, creating a sense of transparency and allowing the orientation of the sun to be perceived. The glazed side walls of the addition could be opened during warmer months to allow for large gatherings in the entry vestibule.
Ms. Steele said that beyond the lobby, visitors would encounter the historic terra mosaic entry surround relocated to frame the entrance to an overlook of the central aviary. The portal would be backlit and visible from the building's exterior through the entrance glazing. The curves used in the landscape and building form would be carried into the shaping of the interior corridors, where visitors would find smaller aviaries. As in the existing configuration, the mezzanine level would lead to the exterior walkway bringing visitors to the outdoor flight cage; the exterior elevator proposed in the previous design is now proposed on the interior.
Ms. Steele said that the building's other three facades would be rehabilitated, including the refurbishment of the historic masonry cornice and the window openings ringing the central aviary. The outdoor flight cage would also be completely restored. She presented the site model, indicating the three-dimensional depiction of the bluff and ravine. She concluded by providing several material samples including the proposed copper-colored stainless-steel panels, which would have an embossed finish that is still being studied.
Ms. Gilbert expressed appreciation for the changes to the proposed design and supported the new oval shape of the central clearing, which was previously more circular. However, she observed that the bench at the north end of the clearing would curve in the opposite direction of the oval; she suggested reversing the curve of the bench to continue the oval shape and connect with the proposed serpentine path, making a more refined composition while aiding pedestrian circulation. She also suggested that the path within the oval be of a material more consistent with a woodland character, such as stabilized gravel. Mr. Meyer responded that the bench in the previous design followed the curve of the clearing, but was reversed in the current revised concept to create a space that could accommodate visitors arriving from the pedestrian bridge. For the path within the oval, he said that a hard surface is intended for accessibility, operations, and maintenance purposes; he added that the habitat path through the bioretention area would be crushed stone.
Ms. Lehrer expressed appreciation for the clear and thorough presentations, as well as for the site model, which she said helps to clarify the distance and elevation between the elements of the proposed design and the outdoor flight cage. She acknowledged the difficulty of working with this historic building and supported the proposed pedestrian pathways from the bridge to the Bird House. She also supported the idea of plumage as inspiration for the cladding of the new addition, while emphasizing the need for appropriate detailing and a subtle variety of colors and shapes for the panels to ensure the full realization of this concept; she observed that the sample panel presented to the Commission appears flat in color. She also encouraged a more abstract rather than representational treatment of future bird-themed sculptures at the foot of pedestrian bridge.
Ms. Gilbert observed that the framing of the central clearing by lower plantings gives the impression of a space carved out of a forest, rather than a more naturalistic woodland clearing. She suggested that the plants framing the oval be configured in undulating drifts to soften the edges; she also suggested interspersing trees within the paved areas, which would extend the woodland setting and provide shade for visitor comfort.
Mr. Krieger complimented the design team for the changes to the proposed entrance addition and said that it appears beautiful in shape, plan, and section. He agreed with Ms. Lehrer's suggestion to ensure a subtle variety of colors for the metal panels. He supported the appropriateness of the more abstract architectural language of the addition in comparison to the previous design; but he commented that the roof's projecting rafter extensions seem to lack a structural logic and would be an inauthentic detail in an otherwise elegant design.
Mr. Dunson commented that the proposed design is much improved from the previous version. Mr. Krieger offered a motion to approve the revised concept design, with the request for further study of the exterior panels and the roof's projecting rafter extensions. Secretary Luebke asked if the Commission members want to review the forthcoming final design submission to ensure that these comments have been addressed, or prefer to delegate its review to the staff; Chairman Powell suggested delegation. Upon a second by Mr. Dunson, the Commission adopted this action.
F. District of Columbia Department of General Services
CFA 21/JUL/16-7, Murch Elementary School, 4810 36th Street, NW. Additions and building modernization. Revised concept. (Previous: CFA 15/OCT/15-2.) Mr. Lindstrom introduced the third concept submission for alterations to Murch Elementary School. He summarized the Commission's most recent review in October 2015, with approval of the concept and comments concerning the landscape, courtyard configuration, materials, and documentation. He said that the design has subsequently undergone numerous revisions and has returned to a proposal that is similar in scope to the previous submission. He asked architect Ronnie McGhee of R. McGhee & Associates to present the revised concept.
Mr. McGhee summarized the overall program for a 61,000-square-foot addition to the historic 43,000-square-foot school, resulting in a school of approximately 105,000 square feet with 8,000 square feet of parking. He described the difficulty of accommodating this program within the full-block site, which is constrained by a boundary line diagonally crossing a corner of the site; the National Park Service property to the northwest of this boundary is available to the school as open space but cannot be used for habitable structures, and this open space is also important to the neighborhood and students. He said that the site would be related to the neighborhood's character by maintaining as much open space as possible, with existing and added street trees to provide a consistent tree canopy around the edges of the site as previously requested by the Commission. Stormwater management is accommodated in the site design; this function is now proposed to be interspersed more widely across the site. He described the site's topography that is an important factor in the design, and he indicated the proposed lower-level cafeteria at the southeast corner of the site, where the grade drops lowest; he said that this cafeteria has been added to and removed from the project several times, and it is now included. He indicated the calm design for the open space on the east at the school's historic front entrance, which could serve as a learning area, and the proposed new main entrance on the south facing Davenport Street. He said that the massing of the addition along this street has been kept relatively low to be compatible with the context of two-story houses.
Mr. McGhee said that the existing school is an unusually complete three-wing complex that uses a design that was repeated elsewhere around Washington, often with only one or two wings built. He indicated the distinctive features of brick walls on a stone base, with gable roofs above; he said that the historic fabric of the school would be retained as much as possible. The addition would touch only the western edge of the existing south wing, along with infill of a courtyard area to accommodate an enlarged, double-height media center. He said that the historic school's placement at a relatively high level on the site allows for it to remain the dominant visual element even with the proposed large addition. He described revisions to the proposed plan, with the gymnasium slightly shifted and enlarged to serve as a multipurpose room. The narrow courtyard between classrooms on the south, opening toward Davenport Street, has been made slightly wider and less deep as previously recommended by the Commission. The massing to the west along Reno Road has been simplified, but the design retains the feature of a corridor window along this facade so that the school's activity and interior lighting will be visible from the street. The extent of proposed interior parking on the lower level has been greatly reduced, and the cafeteria is more compact than previously shown. He presented the revised elevations, indicating the small modifications to reduce the scale and provide a more ordered character for the facades; he emphasized the reduced size of the loading area and the more developed detailing of the brick walls. The height of some site walls has been reduced, and color has been introduced to the curtainwall at the new entrance. He noted the ongoing revision to the floor alignment of the gymnasium and the parking level below, with the goal of providing convenient access between the gymnasium and the outdoor play space. He provided perspective views through the interior circulation spine, indicating how the refined curtainwall will provide improved views of the historic school building.
Mr. McGhee presented a grading plan, as previously requested by the Commission, along with updated plans for plantings and stormwater management. He indicated the areas of green roofs on the proposed addition, along with the permeable surfaces for some of the play areas. He emphasized the extensive outdoor recreational space—an important feature for this school—and the outdoor educational areas. He introduced Joan Honeyman of Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture to present more details of the site design.
Ms. Honeyman described the relationship between the more public edges of the site and the more private spaces for the school, along with the proposed stormwater management system. The public features include the street trees and the streetscape along the sidewalk, which generally includes a consistent ring of lawn around the site along with stormwater management features; the result is to provide consistent street views of the site and to connect the interior of the site to the street edge. In response to the Commission's previous recommendation to emphasize street trees, the current proposal is to remove some of the existing cherry trees and provide additional larger trees. Also as recommended by the Commission, the stormwater management would be addressed in a varied manner throughout the site instead of concentrated at small bioretention areas. Some features would be less obvious and some would be more visible: she indicated the bioretention plantings that would extend to the street, and the vegetable garden placed among permeable pavers. She presented photographs of precedents for trees and small site structures such as bridges across the bioretention areas. She summarized the revised concept as addressing the Commission's previous concerns by enhancing the site features.
Ms. Gilbert asked for clarification of the site design at the southwest corner of the site, in the low area adjacent to the proposed cafeteria. Ms. Honeyman indicated the outdoor deck, low retaining wall, and bioretention area with lush planting. She also noted the observation points where students could view the rain gardens. Ms. Gilbert recommended using shrubs along the exposed edges of the bioretention areas in order to minimize intrusion by people or dogs. Ms. Honeyman agreed, adding that the shrubs would provide a year-round massing of plants to strengthen the appearance of these areas; she suggested selecting plants that would attract pollen-eating wildlife.
Ms. Gilbert asked for clarification of the materials for the portal at the proposed main entrance. Mr. McGhee responded that this feature would have a metal frame surrounding an angled wood surface leading into the doorway; the design is intended to serve as a transition into the predominant use of silver walnut on the interior, and also to relate to the existing wood window frames and trim. He emphasized the extensive use of wood throughout the school, including a wood stage within the gymnasium; the community has cited the sense of warmth provided by the historic school building, which would be reinforced by the use of wood in the new portal. He added that the material palette also includes red brick similar to the existing school walls, along with a darker brick base and a gray band between these areas; the red brick would have some variation in color, and the facades would have recesses and other detailing. He said that the selection of the green glass has not yet been finalized. Metal gates along the exterior would be decorated with iconography related to the school, and he noted the overall intent to provide playful design elements.
Mr. Krieger commented that the project has improved over the course of the review process. He said that the reduction in underground parking has helped the design, and the overall appearance of the project seems more refined. He added that the landscape issues and stormwater management are also addressed better in the current submission. Ms. Gilbert agreed, citing the improved planting plan and the elimination of a path paralleling the sidewalk, along with the more comprehensive approach to stormwater management. Mr. Dunson joined in supporting the design as an improvement, including the revised color that addresses a previous concern of the Commission. He also commented that the revised composition of the addition is more compatible with the existing building.
Mr. Powell offered a motion to approve the revised concept with the comments provided, and with the Commission's appreciation for the careful attention to the design details and the Commission's previous comments. Upon a second by Mr. Krieger, the Commission adopted this action.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:43 p.m.
Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA