CFA 21/MAR/24-5


650 Anacostia Avenue, NE
Washington, DC
United States

D.C. Department of General Services
Neval Thomas Elementary School
Renovations and additions to existing building and landscape
Review Type
Submitted Documents


Dear Mr. Hunter:

In its public meeting of 21 March conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept design for the renovation and expansion of Neval Thomas Elementary School and its associated landscape at 650 Anacostia Avenue, NE. Expressing concern about the overly complex design of the proposed addition, the Commission did not take an action and provided the following comments.

The Commission members expressed appreciation for the thorough analysis of the building, site, and neighborhood, and they supported the general planning and massing for the addition and site. However, they raised concerns about the unnecessarily complicated architectural expression proposed for the addition, particularly at the courtyard: disparate volumes that intersect awkwardly; an unclear hierarchy of entrances; many different fenestration patterns; and an excessive variety of building materials. Citing the logic and clarity of the historic school building, they recommended creating a simplified, similarly coherent composition for the addition. They expressed general support for the landscape design, recommending more clarity in how the interior and exterior spaces connect and how the accommodation of potential flooding would inform the design. In addition, they recommended being more intentional in the placement of public art, with consideration of locations throughout the site.

The Commission looks forward to further review of this important project. Please continue to consult on the development of the design with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you.

/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Delano Hunter, Director
D.C. Department of General Services
3924 Minnesota Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20019

cc: Tracy Hucul, Quinn Evans Architects
Joan Honeyman, Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture
Renee Pean, D.C. Public Schools