SL 23-053

HPA number
HPA 23-122
Owner
D.C. Department of Buildings
Property
American Institute of Architects National Headquarters
Description
Renovations and alterations to building and landscape
Review Type
Revised concept
Previous Review

Letter

Dear Mr. Ayers:

In its public meeting of 19 January conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a revised concept submission for the renovation of and alterations to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) national headquarters and site at 1735 New York Avenue, NW (case number SL 23-053). Expressing appreciation for the responsiveness to its previous advice, the Commission approved the submission with the following comments and recommendations for the development of the final design.

The Commission members commended the simplification of the landscape design, which they found to be a more compelling and restrained proposal for the site, with the zigzag sloped boardwalk and the sculptural wooden trellis as the primary focal elements of the design. They noted that the elimination of the red sandstone blocks, the coordination of the material palette across the site, and the redesign of the perimeter fence all contribute to a welcoming, accessible landscape that successfully mediates between the Octagon and the AIA headquarters building, which frame the garden space. They expressed support for the general character presented for the plant materials, particularly the addition of a number of understory trees. For the development of the final design, the Commission members supported the proposed elimination of the lines of stone pavers extending into public space outside the site walls, which they said would not be appropriate unless functioning as a walkway into the site, and would not be legible as extensions of paving lines within the walls.

They recommended careful detailing of the fences, gates, and kick rails to retain the graceful, transparent character as shown in the presented renderings, as well as the lighting throughout the site.

The Commission looks forward to further review of this important project. Please coordinate the permit submission with the staff which, as always, is available to assist you with the development and documentation of the design.

Sincerely,

/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Secretary

Stephen Ayers
American Institute of Architects
1735 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006

cc: Christian Wopperer, EHDD Architecture
Ann Salerno, Hood Design Studio