by Larry Janezich
Yesterday, the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) considered the historic preservation aspects of the design for the proposed Bavarian Beer Garden at the corner of 8th and L Streets, SE, and gave a qualified endorsement to the project. They want several issues raised by Historic Preservation Office (HPO) staff addressed before giving final approval.
Amanda Molson of the HPO staff outlined the traditional character defining features of American and European beer gardens, which include “lush, loose, landscaping,” ample lighting, signage inviting patrons inside, views from the street into the garden, and long tables for communal seating. She reported that there were three unusual elements to the project that made achieving a design compatible with the historic district challenging.
HPO staff had three areas of concern:
1) Cohesiveness of the design. The use of so many finishes gives the project a chaotic, unfinished appearance. Staff recommends selecting a few key ideas to streamline the design. They urged re-studying the door and window size and urged more clearly defining the roof deck railing through the addition of a double cornice.
2) Proportion and scale. Staff recommends study of the elements of the roof deck railing extending beyond the roof deck vertically, paying careful attention to the corner element and rain screens on L Street and north end of 8th Street elevation.
3) Openness of the streetscape design to 8th Street. Staff recommends opening the venue to 8th Street rather than “turning its back” on it. They would like to see further detailing on landscaping of public space on L Street, sidewalk seating, planter boxes on 8th Street, better lighting, and larger openings into the garden from L Street.
Ms. Molson felt that despite these concerns, the design was very close to approval, and recommended approving plan as consistent with the Historic Preservation Act after re-study of project, delegating final approval to HPO staff.
Co-owner Matt Brody responded that he was happy to eliminate rain screens above the first floor and to address number of materials, the roofline and lighting. He said a sidewalk café is planned for the next phase of the proposal. He noted that windows that open out to the street are expensive but responded positively to a suggestion from one HPRB architect about the use of garage doors to replace windows. He noted that the doors were actually 8 feet tall, and wondered if the Board was saying that they are too small.
With the general recommendation that the design be formalized, simplified and streamlined, HPRB agreed unanimously that the applicants come back for a final review after addressing the issues raised in the staff report. Chair Catherine Buell said she hoped it would be “on consent,” meaning for pro forma approval.
Next: Retail Mix Update