City Paper Widget

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

10th and O Streets: "Based on Past Experience, We Don't Have Confidence that We Will Like Your Final Product"

A tidy vacant lot at the northwest corner of 10th and O Streets NW will change from an unofficial dog park to three-story townhouse, if plans by Suzane Reatig Architecture are made reality.

Coming soon: one place fewer to walk the dog
However, a committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle said it will "recommend to not recommend approval" of the planned project at 1001 O Street because it is "not consistent with historic preservation guidelines, scaling and massing of elements". ANC2F's Community Development Committee (CDC) passed a motion against the plans as presented at its last meeting on February 25.

Megan Mitchell of Suzane Reatig Architecture led the team that made the presentation to the committee. 

"A significant amount of green will remain on the corner," Mitchell said.

She also said the proposed building would have two "likely to be" condo units with entrances at the front of the building. It will have two parking spaces -- only one is required. The plan is for the building to be "slightly under 40 feet maximum" -- taller than neighboring buildings but still not tall enough to trigger the need for zoning relief.

Mitchell said that corner buildings in DC are often taller than mid-block buildings.

Artists' conceptions of the building show a pink building with windows that wrapped around the front corner. Members of the committee asked if this color was what the finished product would actually look like. The presenter said no, that this color was used in the illustration to make the building stand out against its neighbors. Were there illustrations that would show how the finished building would look? No, a lot of those details hadn't been decided.

"Our understanding is that we don't have to present exact color and materials," a member of the team said. "We change things, we adjust things."

The architects would work with DC's Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) on the details, they explained.

This did not match up with the committee's idea of its own responsibilities, which included approving the materials. Members of the committee asked what materials the presenters were thinking of. A member of the team said ironspot bricks. See an example of a house fronted with ironspot bricks here.

"The committee needs to get guarantees that what is presented is what is built," one member said.

The committee also objected to what appeared, on the artist's conceptions, as an exterior staircase to the second floor, facing 10th Street, which would be on public space, meaning, over the sidewalk.

The architects said they were planning a building in a more modern style, as opposed to something that matched or recalled the styles of the older buildings nearby. The committee wasn't enthusiastic. A member of the team asked the committee if they hadn't ever, when in Europe, been in an old section of a city, and come upon "a little jewel, a little glass box" and been impressed with how beautiful it was? This line of argument failed to win over the committee.

Instead, the committee suggested the design should "pull something in from around it" -- meaning, it should resemble other buildings in the neighborhood.

Members of the committee asked the presenters if they had looked at the ANC's guidelines for presenters, which are posted online. The presenters had not.

"Every single time that firm presents there's confusion about the process," a committee member said after the architecture firm had left.

1232- 1234 10th Street (photo credit: BadWolfDC)
Community members also came to the meeting and cited previous works in Shaw by the same firm with disapproval. See 2012 blog posts about their work at 926 N Street on the blogs Preserving DC Stables and DCmud, and a 2014 post about their work on 1232-1234 10th Street (see photo) on the blog BadWolfDC.

"Based on past experience, we don't have confidence that we will like your final product," a committee member told the presenters.

This item is on the agenda for consideration by the full ANC at its the regular monthly meeting, scheduled for tomorrow, April 1, at 7pm, at the Washington Plaza Hotel (10 Thomas Circle).

No comments:

Post a Comment