Cleveland Park Historical Society Architectural Review Committee
Monday, March 11, 2019
ARC Members attending: Christine Hobbs, Stefan Hurray, Anne Weir, Phil Eagleburger, Tina Mead, Danny Ince, Win Brown, Ana Evans, and Lois Orr.
Carin Ruff, CPHS Executive Director, also attended.
3432 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., HPA 19-209
Agent: Christopher Peli, CORE
As noted in the ARC’s February review, 3432 Connecticut Avenue was built in 1922 and is one of the earliest commercial buildings in Cleveland Park. The building is separated from the sidewalk by an approximately 6 foot high berm and stairs leading to the front door. The building’s neighbor to the north is a five story apartment building and to the south, a post office. The proposal for the building includes a two-story stepped back addition on the existing roof and the removal of the front berm and the construction of a new first floor at street level. The mixed-use building would have two front entrances, one for retail and the other for residential use. The existing brick on the first and second floors would be retained as the second and third floors; a new limestone base would be added at the street level; the newly constructed fourth floor would be faced with terra cotta tile as would the fifth floor penthouse. The number of apartments would increase from 12 to 18 units.
The ARC reviewed the issue of the removal of the berm, the proposed materials, and the massing of the building.
In considering the berm, the ARC examined the immediate context of the building. The building is located in a commercial strip of Connecticut Avenue, a strip where previously the berm has largely been removed in the block immediately to the north. The ARC has no objection to the removal of this berm, but emphasized that this action does not set a precedent for the residential areas of the Cleveland Park Historic District.
The ARC has several recommendations for the materials to be used for this building. The ARC requests several changes to help retain the integrity of the original design. The original facade has a vertical emphasis established by the surround of the existing central door and the rhythm of stacked windows, and emphasized by the quoins that help define the central portion of the facade. The ARC recommends that in the proposed design, the brick facing be carried down to the ground in the two recessed bays at the sides of the building to emphasize this verticality, and that the proposed metal railing be removed to allow the original cornice line at the top of the first story to remain visible.
The ARC would also like to see the two new top stories be the same color as each other, to help them recede visually and to emphasize that together they constitute the new work in contrast to the original brick building.
In considering the massing of the building, the ARC notes that the owner stated that a sunlight study had been done. These results will be shared with the residents of the neighboring apartment building, as they continue their discussions. The ARC had no objection to the proposed massing of the building.
The motion passed 9-0.