GEORGE HARTMAN and Warren Cox, fresh from winning one of the national American Institute of Architects honor awards for a Pennsylvania Avenue office building, have received three out of the eight current Washington Metropolitan chapter of the American Institute of Architects awards -- as they usually do.
I once proposed that a special category be provided for Hartman/Cox, Arthur Cotton Moore, Francis Donald Lethbridge, Hugh Newell Jacobson and Keyes, Condon & Florance -- who win all the awards year after year. That way, the big boys could compete in their own class (a sort of a Hall of Fame) and the younger architects would have a chance. No one has seen fit to do this.
As a result, Hartman/Cox have three of the eight awards this year, for a house remodeling, a stable/garage/workshop and a church. Keyes, Condon & Florance won two, for a university office building and another school building. Lethbridge's honor came for remodeling the Corcoran's auditorium. Arthur Cotton Moore made it with a new house. The only upstart is Chesapeake Design Group/Roger K. Lewis.
The unsung hero in all of this may well be James Madison Cutts, who single-handedly was the structural engineer on at least five of the aware winners. Cutts, in charge of seeing that all this grandeur doesn't fall down, is cited year after year as a consultant on numerous major buildings.
The Hartman/Cox 1980 remodeling added to a grand half-timbered house in the Northwest a second-floor bedroom and deck, kitchen extension, flagstone walks and steps and a swimming pool and apron, plus tidying up here and there. (This house will be pictured later in Living). E. A. Baker of Bethesda was the contractor, Cutts the structural engineer and Lester Collins the landscape architect.
The Hartman-Cox 1980 church addition added a new sanctuary and fellowship hall to an old farmhouse that has been used by the Immanual Presbyterian Church, 888 Dolly Madison Blvd., McLean.
This old farmhouse stood on a six-acre site with fine old trees. Hartman/Cox built a 4,500-square-foot barnlike structure of wood frame covered by plywood and wood battens. Peaked dormer windows serve as light stealers. The only bow to the church's ecclesiastical duties comes in a large diamond-shaped window at one end. Inside, the space is divided by a mullioned glass wall into a fellowship hall and a sanctuary. Both rooms are severely simple with austere pulpits and the barest altar furnishings. The budget was equally barebones -- $302,000. A covered arcade forms a court and leads to the old building.
The rather stark result seems more New England Quaker than Southern Presbyterian. The church-goers will have to concentrate on higher thoughts because there is nothing in the sanctuary to seduce them into earthly pleasures.
Schoolfield Construction of Rockville was the contractor, Cutts -- again -- structural engineer, Girard Fox, the mechanical engineer, and Collins the landscape architect.
Hartman/Cox designed a 3,070-square-foot stable, garage and workshop complex for Patricia Saltonstall in Flint Hill, Va. The stable provided a two-box stall with a hayloft and storage area. The garage holds four cars. The workshop also houses the generator. A concrete block foundation holds up the plywood-battened walls. The three buildings with their roofs which soar to a point look like giant geometric shapes set up on the site by some energetic building block player.
The road goes through the complex, turning them all into a sort of gate house. By grouping the buildings, a sheltered courtyard is formed. The effect is delightful.
The contractor is listed as John Cloud and others of Amissville, Md.
Lethbridge designed the 1981 remodeling of the Corcoran Gallery of Art's Francis and Armand Hammer auditorium. The original Beaux Arts Corcoran School and Art Gallery building, about the only building in Washington admired by Frank Lloyd Wright, was designed in 1897 by Ernest Flagg.
Lethbridge explained that "the hemicycle, as the original architect called the semi-cylindrical room at the north end of the Corcoran, was built as a two-story sculpture studio, lighted by a central skylight. About 10 years later, somebody descided the room didn't work -- it must have been an odd space, very tall and not so wide. So it was split into two floors, a top level studio and a smaller auditorium.
"The auditorium has always had some inherent limitations," Lethbridge continued. "The stage is very shallow indeed, and the sightlines were difficult. The only way to remove the piano was by turning it on its side and carrying it out."
Lethbridge rebuilt the floor to provide stepped down seating in a semicircle. The state picked up space from a series of stepped semicircles, repeating the auditorium's shape. And a way was opened so the piano can be taken off stage through a door to the freight elevator.
For posh, Lethbridge added a triple-door motif in a manner of the Vitruvian theater to disguise the existing asymmetrical working openings.
Anglemeyer Construction Co. was the contractor; Admiral William O. Snead, the Corcoran's project coordinator; Cutts, the structural consultant; Claude R. Engle, lighting consultant; David L. Kleeper, acoustical consultant; and Richard Giurard & Associates, mechanical consultants.
Keyes, Condon & Florance designed the University of Maryland's Wilson H. Elkins building on a heavily wooded site with what they called a ceremonial approach through a curving driveway. Trees screen the parking bays. You enter the three-story building curving outward to reach its public through a landscaped forecourt.
All three levels are above grade except for the service rooms. The public reception, cafeteria and entrance lobby faces the entrance forecourt. The lobby overlooks a two-story hall which serves both for reception, exhibition and dining. The president's office and the regents' conference rom enjoy their perks with a higher ceiling and larger windows. The building has facilities for the handicapped.
The contractor was Equitable Construction Co. of McLean, Cutts was the structural engineer, Smith & Faass the mechanical/electrical engineer, Associated Engineers, the civil engineers, and Cini-Grissom Associates, the food facilities consultant.
Keyes, Condon & Florance's Steuart building serves the 74-year old St. Alban's School. The building had to fit in the complex described as "cascading down a steep hillside." The other buildings -- the earliest built in 1907, the latest in 1968 -- are gothic. The site was wooded with hardwood trees but was cramped and steep, set between the theater and other buildings. The new structure has the stone and soaring lines associated with gothic, and even the deeply revealed windows. But the effect is a strong, handsome and honestly contemporary building.
The facilities holds a three-story student center, with spy windows into other parts of the building, as well as a snack bar, three classrooms, an academic room, two seminar rooms, art studio, music and practice rooms, publications suite and faculty office. A bookstore, student exchange and utility room complete the building.
R. T. Woodfield was the contractor, Cutts the structural engineer, Syska & Hennessy, the mechanical/electrical engineers, Associated Engineers did the civil engineering and Interspace the interior furnishings.
Chesapeake Design Group/Roger K. Lewis' excellent passive solar-heated house with one floor snuggled into the hillside is an elegant and practical house with great light and wonderful spaces. The house was designed for Karen and Ferdinand Baer and built in Silver Spring. (See the Living section, March 16, 1980.) Goodman General Builders of Rockville was the contractor and David Lord of the University of Maryland the energy consultant.
The Moore house, one of the handsomest houses ever built in this area, almost a futuristic design, yet imminently practical and comfortable, will be pictured later in the Living section in a separate article. Shalom Baranes was associate-in-charge of the Georgetown house.