OG 22-122

HPA number
HPA 22-215

1703 32nd Street, NW
United States

D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Dumbarton Oaks
New two-story building
Review Type
Previous Review
Submitted Documents


Dear Mr. Cummins:

In its public meeting of 16 June conducted by videoconference, the Commission
of Fine Arts, based on its prior review of the submission materials, adopted the report of the Old Georgetown Board and approved the concept design for a new two-story building for public programs, to be located near the northwestern corner of the Dumbarton Oaks property (case number OG 22-122).

The Commission and the Old Georgetown Board look forward to further review of this project. Please coordinate the next submission with the staff, which is available to assist you.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Thomas Cummins, Director
Dumbarton Oaks
1703 32nd Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007

cc: Annabelle Selldorf, Selldorf Architects
Gary Hilderbrand, Reed Hilderbrand

Encl.: Report of the Old Georgetown Board, 21 April 2022


OG 22-122 (HPA 22-215)
1703 32nd Street, NW
(Square 2155, Lot 812)
Construction of new two-story public program building Concept

REPORT: In 2021, Dumbarton Oaks received an OGB recommendation for concept approval for a proposal to convert the existing 1925 McKim, Mead, & White greenhouse—adjacent to the relatively new library—into a classroom, studio, and gallery space, and to construct a new greenhouse near the northwest corner of the property. Since then, the plan has transposed these two uses, now renovating the historic greenhouse for its original use and constructing the proposed new public programming building in the other location, which has been utilitarian in purpose. The concept to renovate the historic greenhouse was approved by the OGB in February; this application comprises the proposal for a new three-story public programming building and associated site work.

In its review, the OGB commended the institution for rethinking the planning of the original proposal, noting that the new disposition of uses is more successful by retaining the greenhouse’s original use, activating the western part of the campus, and constructing a building that is more engaging than the previously proposed new greenhouse. The OGB supported the proposal to reconfigure the existing service court and associated mechanical equipment, which creates a new public presence at the western end of the Dumbarton Oaks property and activates access to the public parkland to the north. The new building—rational in plan and compatible with the scale of historic structures on the property—is simply articulated as a brick pavilion with a more open, glassy second floor, allowing the focus to remain on the beauty of the historic property. A lower level with studios and gallery space opening to an outdoor terrace also encourages engagement with the grounds. The OGB found the scale and massing of the proposed building to be harmonious with the landscape and adjacent buildings, and the materiality of the design blends well with the surroundings. For the development of the design, the OGB requested further presentation of the masonry bases and suggested refinement of the spacing and dimensions of the window openings, possibly to create more solidity at the outer corners and more vertical proportions.

RECOMMENDATION: NO OBJECTION to concept design for new two-story public program building, per materials received 18 March 2022. File design-development submission at DCRA with detailed and dimensioned drawings for review by the Commission.