Ellington School Designs Pass
Modernization designs for the landmark Duke Ellington School of the Arts at 3500 R St., NW, were mostly approved by the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board at a March 27 meeting.
Part of the board’s evaluations stated: “Many aspects of the revised concept for modernization remain the same as before. The current 176,000 sq. ft. is to be expanded to 237,000 sq. ft., and underground parking for about 100 vehicles will be provided. The existing auditorium is still proposed for complete replacement.”
The board suggested changes at the front porch area facing 35th Street. It approved the concept of a “Sky Lounge” with its setbacks. Such a rooftop area - not a historical consideration - is more a question of use, according to the board. The use of the school’s rooftop is a concern to nearby residents because of the noise potential.
The board did not agree with everything. It did “find certain aspects of the concept consistent with the purposes of the D.C. Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act, including the proposed reconstruction of the original entry porches and balustrade; restoration of the granite entry stairs at the base of the portico; insertion of a contemporary Lantern Reading Room within the portico; the proposed treatment of the landscape; the reduced size and plan for the front plaza; and other elements that clearly preserve and/or restore historic fabric” - and - “find the remainder of the concept inconsistent with the Act due to extensive demolition and the size, scale, and massing of the new additions.” The board stated that the project needs to get a “special merit” designation by the mayor to get it going by this summer.