Monday, January 10, 2022
ARC Members attending: Christine Hobbs, Ron Ngiam, Stefan Hurray, Danny Ince, Ana Evans, Phil Eagleburger, Tina Mead, David Kay, Anne Weir, and Win Brown. Also attending were Bonnie LePard, President, Cleveland Park Historical Society, and Camilla Carpenter, Executive Director, Cleveland Park Historical Society.
This meeting was held via ZOOM.
3427 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Owner: Ten Square Development
Agent: Adam McGraw, Studio MBDC
3427 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, located at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Norton Place, was built in 1926 and the house and the garage are both contributing structures to the Cleveland Park Historic District. The proposal includes relocating the existing house and garage to the side lot so that the house faces Norton Place and constructing a multifamily building at the corner of Wisconsin and Norton. The relocated house will retain its original windows but the vestibule covering the front door and the powder room added to the rear sleeping porch will be removed. A stone retaining wall similar to others on Norton Place will be constructed in front of the relocated house which will share a permeable driveway with the newly constructed multifamily building.
The newly constructed multifamily building will contain 20 units, five on each of four floors. The lower level will contain areaways/window wells and the upper most floor will have access to the roof where a penthouse will also be constructed. The existing berm will remain but the front entrance to the building will be at sidewalk level. The façade of the building will consist of two shades of brick. In order to accommodate outdoor space for many of the units, the building steps back slightly as it rises from the street and is pulled back from Norton Place by 10 feet. Several types of windows are proposed, some with divided light and others, on the upper floor, are more industrial looking. Seven parking spaces will be provided in the rear, accessed by the shared drive. It is proposed that this shared drive be 14 feet wide rather than the standard 20 feet required for two way traffic.
The ARC supports the relocation of the house and the garage, both contributing structures to the Historic District, to Norton Place, as well as the removal of the vestibule and the rear powder room. The ARC supports the proposed reduced width of the driveway and the pull back of the building from Norton Place. The ARC also has no objection to the size of the proposed new multifamily building.
However, the ARC has serious concerns about the design of the proposed multifamily building. The corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Norton Place is a prominent location and one of the entrances to the Historic District. What is proposed is a missed opportunity as the building does not assert itself or its place on Wisconsin Avenue or on Norton Place. The design of the building should take its cue from the townhouses located to the south on Wisconsin Avenue and across the street on Norton Place, all buildings also in the Historic District, rather than from the newly constructed buildings across Wisconsin Avenue. The Norton Place/Wisconsin Avenue corner is of particular concern as it is lacking in detail. The window placement seems arbitrary particularly on the east and south sides and the color of the bricks needs to be lighter. The bland design reads more like an office building rather than a residential one. While still using two brick tones and more than one window type, the design should acknowledge its place in the Historic District by adding detail with an eye to the 360 degree view of the building. Special care should be taken on the facades that actually face the other contributing structures in the Historic District. The two-tone aesthetic, in conjunction with the two-building concept (overlaid, where portions of the so-called two buildings, one traditional, one contemporary, alternately tradeoff between recessing and protruding) is a hopeful idea, and already works to downplay the overall size of the building. However, as shown, it is a bit confusing, in that all windows appear on “both buildings” in the intertwined, twin massing concept, with the result that the idea is muddied and not clear. ARC suggests sharpening the concept by being more literal about the “traditional vs. contemporary” by, say, making the darker “building” traditional with say a rigid grid of possibly smaller windows. Then the lighter “building” could be rendered with larger windows, in a less rigid figuration. That the scale of the traditional windows in the darker building would differ from the scale of the modern windows in the lighter building, would then reinforce the “twin-building” concept. The retaining walls lining the shared drive should be lowered and the berm continued along the side and to the rear of the building. The ARC would like the redesign of the new building presented at a future meeting.
The motion passed 10-0
3309 Woodley Road, NW
Owner: Harbinder Gosal
Agent: Selin Ozertugrul Ogotcu
3309 Woodley Road was built in 1921 and is a contributing structure in the Cleveland Park Historic District. The proposal includes replacing the existing front portico with a larger portico and adding wood pillars and a wood railing. The new structure would add an additional four feet to the portico roof to create a structure measuring 8 x 12.10 feet. It is not known whether the existing portico is original to the house, although the proposed design is consistent with similar neighboring houses.
The ARC considers proposed changes to the front façade of houses carefully, evaluating the significance of any changes to the existing structure and any evidence that the element to be altered was original to the house. It is not clear whether the existing portico is original; however, the proposed change is consistent with neighboring houses. The ARC has no objection to the concept as presented: a four foot extension, wood pillars and wood railings.
The motion passed 10-0