Tuesday, December 30, 2008

JBG's 14th Street Project Faces HPRB Critique

Tomorrow may be another strike for the JBG Companies' plans for a new residential project on 14th Street, NW. After a melee of negative public testimonials before the BZA two weeks ago, and the resulting ANC vote against the project, the staff report of the District’s Historic Preservation Office (HPO), which reports to the Historic Preservation Review Board, has recommended that the project be redesigned. The staff report criticizes the developer’s plans for the redevelopment of the Whitman-Walker Clinic Headquarters on 14th Street, which the HPO does not see as meshing with the Logan Circle neighborhood.

“While optimistic that the applicant’s general program can be achieved, the design is not compatible with the character of the historic district as proposed,” states the report. The HPO staff goes on to point specifically to the project’s design, by Shalom Baranes Architects, against what they consider the right direction for new development along 14th Street. A few highlights include (original emphasis included) the “rhythm of fenestration,” “vertical emphasis of surrounding historic buildings,” proportion of masonry to glass” and “the scale of elements.” So much for JBG’s vision of building a glass-faced, seven-story residential development in the middle of the federal-style corridor, though the critique could apply equally to other nearby projects underway, such as View14 (pictured) six blocks north. The HPRB’s final decision is expected to be posted tomorrow, December 31st, and is expected to be in keeping with the staff recommendation.


Anonymous said...

Good, it's a crappy design

David Garber on Dec 31, 2008, 10:02:00 AM said...

any chance for a full-size version of this 14th Street rendering?

liking the design, though..

Anonymous said...

This is the same historic board that approved the lovely FBI Hoover building, right (which was never finished...it's missing the original designed facade)?

Perhaps the board needs to look north (and south) to things they've already approved to get a good idea of where design is headed. Even the Guggenheim in NYC was hated when built, but now shines like a beacon on the upper eastside.

Anonymous said...

FBI Building was produced prior to any design review boards in the District.

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