Capitol Hill Restoration Society Design Comments

Capitol Hill Restoration Society Design Comments

Southeast Library Renovation

The following comments were submitted by The Capitol Hill Restoration Society in June 2021 in response to the schematic design presentation.

We believe that the project is heading in the right direction. Conserving the historic exterior is a vital goal for the project, and the team is meeting this goal successfully.  We also agree that the proposed Southwest entrance [on South Carolina Ave.] best preserves the integrity of the historic library exterior and its siting on the berm. The proposed Southwest entrance is immediately adjacent to the rowhouse at 648 South Carolina Avenue, SE. Careful attention and study is required to avoid noise, light, and other disturbances to nearby residents. The design has managed to produce a concept that adds square footage and fulfills most of the library program requirements given the severe space constraints that the site presents to the architects. 

 
We have the following comments/suggestions:
 
  • Concerning the glazing at ground level on the South Carolina Ave. elevation, it would be helpful to see to see the plan for drainage, and for protecting the light well. 
  • The current plan does not include any barrier between the landscaped area and the sidewalk on the South Carolina Ave. side.  A potential concern is that people will climb up into the landscaping. It would be helpful to study whether landscaped areas on a slope next to a sidewalk are fenced at other libraries, recreation centers, and schools.  
More documentation of the existing landscaping would help the architect team's case that the need to expand underground will necessarily require the removal of most of the existing landscaping including, unfortunately, the two large mature magnolia trees.  With a complete record of the existing landscaping at least the landscape architects will be better able to propose a new landscape plan that replicates as much as possible the essence of the old landscape plan.  Thank you for considering our comments.  Please add these comments to the public comment file.