3300 Whitehaven Street, NW
Dear Mr. Carr:
In its public meeting of 19 May conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a revised concept design for a new residential building at 3300 Whitehaven Street, NW (case number OG 22-148). The Commission supported the Old Georgetown Board in approving the revised concept design and provided the following recommendations among the options presented.
The Commission members expressed appreciation for the clarity of the presentation and for the responsiveness to their previous advice to refine the architectural treatment of the building components. For massing C, they recommended the red brick alternative palette, noting that the final brick should be specified to distinguish massing C from the adjacent structure to the south and avoid the perception of a continuous long wall along Dumbarton Oaks Park. For the options presented for the articulation of massing C, they recommended the preferred Option 2 for the east facade along the park and Option 2B for the north facade fronting the north courtyard.
In its approval, the Commission delegated the review of the final submission to the Old Georgetown Board. Please coordinate the next submission with the staff, which is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Jonathan Carr, Senior Vice President, Development
1701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 450
Washington, DC 20006
cc: Guilherme A.M. Almeida, Hickok Cole
Trini Rodriguez, ParkerRodriguez
Jonathan Mellon, Goulston & Storrs
Encl.: Report of the Old Georgetown Board, 19 May 2022
OG 22-148 (HPA 22-265)
3300 Whitehaven Street, NW
(Square 1299, Lot 1024)
Construction of new six-story residential building
(Reviewed in concept as OG 21-281: Sep 2021, Dec 2021, Feb 2022, Mar 2022)
REPORT: The applicant, Grosvenor Group, proposes to redevelop the subject property, located at the northern edge of the Old Georgetown Historic District. This project was reviewed in concept by the Old Georgetown Board (OGB) four times before review by the Commission on 17 March 2022, when the Commission expressed strong support for the building’s general configuration, massing, design character, and landscape; the Commission adopted the OGB report with additional guidance for design development as follows: site walls facing Dumbarton Oak Park should be mitigated with screening plantings; and the architectural articulation of massing C should achieve a similarly high level of architectural quality as massing A.
The design development submission responds to the Commission’s recommendations regarding the architectural character of massing C; the applicant presents two options for the east elevation and several alternatives for the north elevation. The applicant also offers both options in a buff-colored brick called “midnight grey,” or a red brick called “terracotta.” The OGB reviewed the design development submission at its public meeting of 5 May 2022 and recommended approval, with the recommendations of option 2 for the east elevation and 2A for the northern elevation of massing C. The OGB found option 2 for the east elevation was the most refined of the options, as it further articulates the rhythm of two bay parts punctuated by recessed balconies. For the north elevation, while both options 2A and 2B are supportable, the board found option 2A more logical as a connector between masonry wings. For the issue of the color of the masonry, the OGB voiced concern that, given that the adjacent Safeway and parking garage is clad in red brick, using red brick on massing C would associate it with the Safeway complex and make the entire massing appear larger than intended from Dumbarton Oaks Park. For these reasons, the OGB supported the applicant’s preferred option of a light-colored brick.
BACKGROUND: The site contains a five-story office building that was constructed in 1968 and designed by Wendell B. Hallett, which the applicant would demolish, keeping only the existing below- grade parking structure. The new building will have four distinct volumes: the tallest at the center of the composition (identified as massing “B” in the applicant’s presentation), a lower bar along Whitehaven Street, NW (massing A), a three-piece volume that steps down along the edge of the adjacent parkland (massing C), and a narrow bar (massing D) connecting to the British School, a four-story masonry building on the site that is also owned by the applicant. Significant portions of the new construction will be visible from Dumbarton Oaks Park, a significant historic landscape owned by the National Park Service since 1940.
RECOMMENDATION: NO OBJECTION to revised concept design for the demolition of a five-story masonry building to construct a new six -story residential building, per supplemental drawings received 27 April 2022, PROVIDED massing C is clad in the buff color masonry “midnight grey,” option 2 is selected for the east elevation, and option 2A is implemented for the north elevation connection of massing C. File permit submission at DCRA with detailed and dimensioned drawings for review by the Commission.