(Unofficial) ANC6b Memorandum on Hine to the Historic Preservation Office Which Passed Tuesday Night

(Unofficial) ANC6b Memorandum on Hine to the Historic Preservation Office Which Passed Tuesday Night

by Larry Janezich  

The following document is an unofficial version of ANC6b’s memorandum to the Historic Preservation Board making additional recommendations regarding the design of the Hine Development.  The Historic Preservation Review Board will meet Thursday, June 30, to consider the design and historical preservation aspects of the two buildings which face Eastern Market Metro.  The Board will consider the other buildings in the project at its July meeting.  The unofficial language of the memorandum recommending additional changes is as follows:

The text of the original resolution passed on April 28th referred to in the first and last paragraphs can be viewed here:  http://www.anc6b.org/library.html 

ANC6b previously offered its views on the entire project at the April 28th conceptual review hearing.  That resolution remains our guiding position on this project and we request the Historic Preservation Review Board measure the project against that resolution.

We would however like to highlight several areas in the recent designs that call for further comment:

1.  8th Street Residential building

The new design approach to the 8th Street residential building, which responds in part to comments from the Board, neighborhood input and the ANC6b resolution, improves the overall quality of the building, modestly reduces the building’s sense of mass and lowers the 8th and D Street corner of the building.  However, the 8th Street entrance remains too high.  Additionally, inclusion of rounded geometric features and design details would improve the overall design, look, feel and rhythm of the building.

ANC6B recommends use of creative window surrounds, to include lintels, sills, sashes and hoods.  We also recommend either reducing the height of the entrance section of the building or setting back the entire entrance section.

 2.  8th and D Street Building

The building at 8th and D Street has been of particular concern for many observers of the project, and while there have been efforts to improve this building we feel it still relies too heavily on square geometries and pattern making.  As a result, it fits in awkwardly with the historic buildings that surround it, and remains a distinctly modernist, almost brutalist, architectural expression in an area devoid of such statements.  It is also important to note that this building is not truly a stand-alone building; rather it is the southern end of the 8th Street residential building.

ANC6B recommends further refinement in the design of this building facing D Street within the context of the overall building, and treating it as an integral component of the 8th Street structure.

 3.  7th and Pennsylvania Avenue Office Building

The changes to the 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue building have shown responsiveness to the height and scale issues raised in our original resolution.  However, setting back the 7th floor of the building, while reducing the overall mass of the structure, exposes the mechanical rooms that form the 8th floor of the building.

ANC6B recommends continued evaluation of this building and per our previous resolution, we urge the developers to creatively reduce the size or visual impact of the mechanical penthouses.

 4.  7th Street Office Building

With regard to the building on 7th Street, we feel that while there have been some design improvements; there is still a concern with regard to the street level feel.  This is one of the most dynamic and vibrant retail blocks on the Hill.  It is integral to the historic charm of the neighborhood, and, as a “place making” corridor contributes significantly to the fabric of the hill.  This consideration should be central to the design philosophy of the development.  With this in mind, the current design still feels relatively bland and canyon like.

ANC6B recommends a pedestrian leve3l façade that activates the street and engenders the same level of liveliness as that of the storefronts and restaurants across from it.

 5.  Interior Courtyard

ANC6B previously raised a concern and suggested alternatives with regard to the interior courtyard.  Given this review comprises the majority of the structures around the courtyard we are concerned that these recommendations have not been addressed.  

6.  For the buildings facing Pennsylvania Avenue, ANC6B recommends the buildings clearly articulate a top, middle, and base. 

 Our position remains that ANC support for this project is contingent on addressing recommendations in the original resolution.

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