600 5th Street, NW
Dear Ms. Mahaffie:
In its public meeting of 20 May conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a second concept design for alterations and additions to the Jackson Graham Building, currently serving as the headquarters of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), located at 600 Fifth Street, NW (case number SL 21-105). The Commission approved the concept submission and provided the following comments and recommendations for the development of the design.
The Commission members expressed appreciation for the project team’s productive responsiveness to their previous advice, and they praised the design as an elegant example of a glazed modern building. They commented that the subtle alignments with the massing of neighboring buildings work to knit the redeveloped building into its context; they particularly commended the balanced design of the east facade, which reflects the symmetry of the historic Pension Building facade while also acknowledging its asymmetrical position on the block. They expressed a preference for the penthouse design presented as Revised Massing A, citing its simple, clear resolution above the dynamic massing of the lower floors; they also requested study of a composition with a non-recessed segment in the center of the penthouse facade framed by symmetrical recessed areas. For the development of the final submission, they requested more information about the details of the entrance and of the northeast pavilion, particularly as it meets the public space surrounding it.
The Commission looks forward to further review of this prominent project in Judiciary Square. As always, the staff is available to assist you in the development of the design.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Jane Galbraith Mahaffie, Principal
7200 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 700
Bethesda, MD 20814
cc: Jon Pickard, Pickard Chilton
Paul Wiedefeld, WMATA
David Maloney, D.C. Historic Preservation Officer