Tuesday, April 3, 2012

HPRB Gives Preliminary Approval to Concept Plan for JBG Florida Avenue Project

Rendering of west building,
at Florida Avenue and 8th Street, NW
The Historic Preservation Review Board has given preliminary approval to the concept plans for JBG's Florida Avenue project.  (You can view the HPRB's March 22, 2012, hearing here.)

The JBG project is located on Florida Avenue, NW, between 7th and 9th Streeets.  It consists of two planned buildings centered on 8th Street, NW, on lots comprised of approximately 30,000 square feet of land area.  Each building would have ground-level retail space, five stories of residential units, and one floor of below-grade parking.  (You can view the March 5, 2012, project renderings at this prior post).

JBG Florida Avenue project site
The Board found the following aspects of the JBG concept plan "to be compatible with the character of the historic district and consistent with the purposes of the preservation act":

•  Overall site organization 
•  Height and massing along Florida Avenue, NW
•  General architectural direction, subject to further development and material selection
•  Relocation of the front, original section of 1933-35 9th Street, NW, to the southern portion of the site
•  Reconfiguration of the alley on the western parcel to exit on 9th Street

At the same time, the Board asked JBG to "study reductions in height and mass at the southern ends of the two buildings to improve the transition to the adjacent smaller scale rowhouses."

The Board also asked JBG to "continue working on the designs, materials and articulation of the proposal and return for further review when appropriate."

Excerpts from the staff report are after the jump, along with a copy of the full report.

Staff Report Excerpts
The HPRB staff report describes the project elements as follows:
Each of the two new buildings would be organized with a central bar running parallel to Florida Avenue and a secondary wing extending south on 8th Street. The residential entrances would be located across from each other on 8th Street. The buildings would have tall (17'6") ground-level retail spaces, five stories of residential units, and one floor of below-grade parking, achieving a height of 70 feet.

The design of the primary Florida Avenue bar of each building would consist of a slightly recessed first floor to provide greater width to the narrow sidewalk on these blocks, and full-height glass storefronts with an undulating plan. The upper floors would project to the property line, with a slight overhang above the retail bases. The buildings would include large-scale projections and insets to modulate the massing.  The facades would be composed of a concrete frame in-filled with full-height windows and metal panels of varying sizes.  The designs of the two primary bars are intended to be differentiated but complementary to each other. 
The residential building entrances would be recessed from the street, accessed by monumental stairs (visible from the street through a glass curtain wall) opening to mid-block courtyards. The secondary bars of the buildings extending south on 9th and 8th Street would step down in size, with lower-scaled storefronts, projections that terminate at the fourth floor, and step downs in height as the building abuts smaller scale historic buildings.
HPRB Staff Report (March 16, 2012)
[View the report below or click here to open.]

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