maine colonial7/6/2017 7:52:55 AM
1. Renovations to the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design's Flagg Building
The Flagg Building is closed for the summer so construction crews can get as much work done as possible before classes begin in two months. The building was the second location for the Corcoran Gallery of Art and GW and Corcoran President James Clarke Welling oversaw the planning and laying of the cornerstone in 1894. The building opened in 1897 and hasn't been completely renovated since the 1920s.
Once the current phase of renovations is completed sometime next year, the National Gallery of Art will turn nine second floor galleries into a museum with two galleries: a Corcoran Legacy gallery featuring the masterworks the Corcoran was famous for; and the Corcoran Contemporary gallery, featuring rotating exhibits of contemporary art. GW will move the Brady Art Gallery into a first floor gallery and exhibit highlights from GW's Permanent Collection, including works that GW will be receiving from the NGA that were in the Corcoran Collection.
The $50 million project has been overseen by architectural firm Leo A. Daly and has involved replacing every major system in the building. Here's a recent story that outlines how Daly used 3D Modeling to plan the renovations. The pictures are pretty amazing: LINK
Once the NGA: Corcoran opens to great fanfare next year, the landmark building will be GW's most architecturally significant building and it will attract thousands of people to view the galleries each year.
GW has merged the GW and Corcoran arts and design programs and recently incorporated the GW Department of Theatre & Dance and the GW Department of Music. The Corcoran was and will continue to be the only school of fine arts and design in the nation's capital.
2. Corcoran Hall Renovations
I'll let N.J. Colonial fill everyone in on what is going on with the first building built by GW on the Foggy Bottom campus, which was dedicated to GW benefactor and president of the GW board of trustees William Wilson Corcoran. In Corcoran Hall, thousands of GW students have taken science classes over the years. In the Colonial Revival Style building Professor George Gamow proved the Big Bang Theory and the bazooka was invented in the basement during WWII.
3. Two New Office Buildings to replace Rice Hall and the Brutalist eyesore that dominated the corner of 21st Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
a. The newest office building fronting Pennsylvania Avenue is about to top out early this month. LINK Here's a recent update:
"June 29, 2017: Skanska continues work on schedule. Concrete framing is near completion and the building is expected to top out in early July. The exterior facade of the building begins this week with the installation of the curtain wall on the North side of the building along Pennsylvania Avenue later this month. The precast concrete panel installation on the southern exterior is expected to begin this summer. The President Condo façade repair work has completed."
b. The second office building on the corner of 21st Street and Pennsylvania Avenue is still in the approval process but once it is built, it will definitely change the appearance of the corner. LINK
nj colonial7/6/2017 11:18:10 AM
Thanks Maine C. for the update.... we should suggest that the Corcoran/Flagg building be dedicated as James Clarke Welling Hall!
... as for old Corcoran Hall on 21st Street, the building is undergoing a complete interior reconstruction and an extensive exterior restoration. The hall will still be primarily for science and physics as has been its historic role since 1924. I am pleased about the scheduled replacement of tacky vinyl windows from the 1970's with new windows that will resemble the original ones. This should really make a difference in the historic look of the building. Other improvements include the design of an appropriate lobby area and recognition of William W. Corcoran. Nice to see this landmark, on University Yard and in the heart of our main campus, getting the attention it deserves.
ziik the bureaucrat7/6/2017 2:37:57 PM
MC, you're really getting into the PR stuff. It's not much fun.
Have some fun.
the dude7/6/2017 2:53:00 PM
Maine, the info on GW is appreciated, please keep it coming!
the sons of liberty7/6/2017 5:20:04 PM
Good stuff. Thanks Maine Man.
maine colonial7/6/2017 9:13:30 PM
This information is primarily for NJ Colonial, who is an expert on historic preservation.
Davis Buckley Architects and Planners has also worked on the Corcoran renovation project.
Supporting Leo A. Daly, DBA is responsible for developing design solutions to repair the white marble exterior envelope, copper and glass roof, and bronze decorative elements. Restoration work is to include stone repair, repointing, and window and door repair. Investigations, assessments and documentation of exterior materials and conditions will be conducted to ensure a sensitive and thorough restoration that will endure the test of time. Additionally DBA is designing a new ADA compliant ramp that is compatible with the historic style of the building’s exterior.
DBA will also be overseeing portions of interior work to ensure that the integration of new programming, modern utilities, and state-of-the-art technologies does not compromise the unique character of this National Historic Landmark.
Leo A Daly and DBA are working closely with The George Washington University to minimize disturbance to classes and to schedule construction based on the University’s needs and academic calendar. Phase 1 will consist of the examination of existing conditions and critical infrastructure rehabilitation upgrades that were identified during the acquisition of the property. The team will immediately shift into Phase 2 – programming for Interim Space Needs of the University including program review with user groups, various test fits for stakeholder review and construction documents and construction administration. A Long Term Programming Analysis will be conducted during Phase 3 of work.
gw697/6/2017 10:43:05 PM
Once again ---Thank you Maine for your great contributions to this board.
Thanks for keeping us all in the loop about all things G.W.Very informative!!
Keep it coming!!
the dude7/6/2017 10:57:34 PM
Ditto what Doc69 said. Great stuff Maine.
maine colonial7/7/2017 9:08:27 AM
When the National Gallery of Art Corcoran opens next year, GW's Flagg Building will immediately become a magnet for thousands of art lovers and tourists and will instantaneously become one of the top university art museums in the nation and potentially the one with the most visitors.
The National Gallery of Art will be marketing the NGA Corcoran and its rotating exhibitions of contemporary art as well as the Corcoran Legacy Collection. The NGA's West and East Wings draw over 4 million people a year; I would guess the NGA Corcoran will draw at least 300,000 people each year but possibly even more. LINK
So far this year, the Smithsonian's Renwick Museum, which was the original Corcoran Gallery of Art until the Flagg Building opened in 1897, has drawn 173,000 people and we're only halfway through the year and entering the summer when it gets the most visitors. Last year, the Renwick drew 764,000 people. Even when the Corcoran had a bad year for attendance like in 2011, 85,000 paid to visit the art museum, almost double what the Smith Center drew in 2014. The NGA Corcoran will offer free admission meaning attendance should easily climb to over 300,000 people. Some of the people visiting the museum will be alumni and potential individual or corporate donors and others will be high school students trying to decide where they will want to attend college. GW will have one of the top five university art museums and it should rank right up there with Harvard, Yale and Princeton. LINK
Corcoran visitors will enter the newly refurbished bronze doors on 17th Street and on the first floor will be GW's Permanent Collection along with galleries exhibiting Corcoran student work. GW's Permanent Collection will be newly augmented with some new works from the Corcoran Collection that the NGA didn't want to keep for its collection. Right now GW only has a small gallery space in the School of Media & Public Affairs to exhibit art work and can't really showcase its collection. Some of you may recall the permanent collection used to be exhibited in Dimmock Gallery in the basement of Lisner Auditorium. On the first floor of the Flagg Building, museum visitors will also see GW students working in rooms that were once art galleries but will have been converted into new design labs. I predict GW music groups will perform regularly for museum visitors since the NGA offers musical performances each weekend. The NGA and GW will use the Flagg Building's 193-seat Armand Hammer Auditorium regularly for lectures and performances. LINK
The NGA Corcoran's nine galleries will be located on the second floor of the museum. After walking up the central stairs to the galleries, museum visitors will see works like The Greek Slave, Niagara, and the Last of the Buffalo illuminated by natural light from the building's newly restored skylights as well as a brand new lighting system. The galleries themselves will have been restored and will look better than they ever have. Here are some of the works that were displayed in a show at the NGA but will hopefully return to the Corcoran next year: LINK Here's another small taste of the Corcoran Masterworks with narration from one of the most amazing Americans I've had the pleasure to meet: LINK
Why is the museum so important along with the Corcoran School of the Fine Arts and Design? Art and music evoke feelings and emotions just like sports do. While some of the visitors to GWHoops are clearly crazy about the school and its basketball teams, most alumni haven't felt that passionate about GW because it didn't have a beautiful campus and facilities and it didn't have a great athletics program or a great music program or a great school of fine arts and design and it didn't have a great reputation, which affected alumni donation rates and national rankings. That is slowly changing and GW will continue to see its endowment and research funding continue to rise helping it to attract talented faculty with increased salaries and better facilities and talented students with scholarships and better programs.
GW spent its first century simply fighting for survival due to fairly regular fiscal challenges and the Civil War. The last century has been spent building the basic infrastructure a top university has to have along with some special programs like the School of Media & Public Affairs and the School of Public Health. With the leadership of a new university president and new facilities including two new museums, a brand new Science and Engineering Hall and the Corcoran School of Fine Arts and Design, GW will be positioned to climb into the ranks of the nation's top universities.
When the university celebrates its bicentennial in 2021, GW will be the only research university located in the nation's capital with an engineering program, a school of the fine arts and design, and two museums including one that will be unique in its association with the National Gallery of Art. The university will also have the largest endowment of any university in the District and President LeBlanc will be tasked with growing that over the course of the next decade. I'm pretty positive he's a sports fan so that can only mean good things are in store for the Athletics Program. Raise High.
maine colonial7/7/2017 9:26:41 AM
According to a recent magazine article, the current phase of renovation work on the Flagg Building should be concluded this year and the building "turned over" to GW. If that's the case, the National Gallery of Art will begin its work on the nine galleries later this year to make them ready for the opening of the NGA Corcoran in 2018.
The article in Building Design+Construction magazine details how the architects and planners used Building Information Modeling (BIM) to map the Flagg Building before work could begin. LINK
maine colonial7/7/2017 9:44:47 AM
In the cutaway above, you can see all the major mechanical systems will be located on a platform in the courtyard of the Flagg Building. To the left is 17th Street N.W. and the main entrance to the museum and in the middle are the central stairs leading up to the second floor galleries. The round room is the Flagg Building's distinctive Rotunda gallery. All the art studios and classrooms have traditionally been located in the basement and sub-basement with some student studios in the "attic." Once the NGA reopens in 15,000 square feet of gallery space on the second floor, the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design will have classrooms on every floor. One of President LeBlanc's tasks will be to raise another $30 million to fit out some of the former storage spaces as classrooms and design studios.
nj colonial7/7/2017 10:16:57 AM
Great stuff Maine C., thank you! We should always honor GW's original leaders and benefactors like Luther Rice, the major 19th Century supporters like Withers and of course Corcoran and President Welling. Maybe most of all, the smart GW leadership that bought up all those townhouses and other properties in Foggy Bottom/Old West End in the early/mid 20th Century! President Knapp will be remembered not only for the the recent $1 Billion Campaign but for the deal to bring the Corcoran - galleries, studios and school - into the University.
the dude7/7/2017 1:55:46 PM
Cool stuff MC!
bigfan7/7/2017 4:25:10 PM
Good to know the major mechanical systems will be in the courtyard.
Wondered how they were going to handle that.
maine colonial7/7/2017 5:47:36 PM
One of the stars of the NGA Corcoran will be our namesake. And here's a painting of him that surely will be back in the Corcoran and prominently displayed: Washington before Yorktown LINK
It's hard to judge the scale but this video that was shot in the Corcoran sure helps: LINK
"Here he comes...Here comes the General!...Ladies and Gentlemen...Here comes the General...The moment you've been waiting for...Here comes the General...The pride of Mount Vernon...Here comes the General...George Washington!" LINK
The musical "Hamilton" will be at the Kennedy Center between June 12, 2018 and September 16, 2018. LINK
nj colonial7/7/2017 6:41:40 PM
Maine C.: as you know, part of the agreement for the transfer of the Corcoran gallery property and school to GW and the overall collection to the NGA was that some works could be given to local universites and institutions. Do you have any idea which works were requested by and given to GW? I hope the portraits featuring our namesake, including the one you showed here and a Gilbert Stuart I recall on display at the Corcoran, will go to our Alma Mater!
maine colonial7/9/2017 9:26:00 AM
The NGA is keeping 6,430 works out of the 17,000 that were in the Corcoran Collection. GW will definitely be given work and hopefully they will receive over 500 to add to the GW Permanent Collection in recognition of GW's investment in the Corcoran. I guarantee Washington Before Yorktown and the Stuart portraits of Washington will be on display in the Corcoran but the NGA will probably keep them as opposed to giving them to GW.
Here are the works the NGA acquired in four groups in the order they were announced:
maine colonial7/9/2017 10:10:20 AM
GW currently has about 3,800 pieces in the GW Permanent Collection: LINK
Harvard has about 250,000 objects and Yale has north of 200,000. AU has about 4,800 works.
maine colonial7/9/2017 8:03:01 PM
Mark your calendars...I'm projecting the NGA Corcoran will officially open January 28, 2018 if everything goes as planned. Museumgoers will get to explore the Corcoran Legacy Gallery and several hundred works from the Corcoran Collection along with a temporary exhibition: Outliers and American Vanguard Art LINK
The museum should be open in time to celebrate George Washington's birthday, which will be celebrated on February 19, 2018.
The NGA Corcoran's second temporary exhibition will open in autumn 2018: Rachel Whiteread. The retrospective will be exhibited at the Tate Britain in September and run until January before moving to the NGA Corcoran: LINK
maine colonial7/10/2017 6:16:17 AM
If you enjoy looking at architectural drawings, here are the ones Frank Gehry's team put together for the Corcoran: LINK
maine colonial7/11/2017 9:12:03 PM
The Princeton University Art Museum has 92,000 objects and had 130,140 visitors in 2014. Two of the best-known paintings in the collection feature our namesake: Charles Wilson Peale's George Washington at the Battle of Princeton and Washington After the Battle of Princeton. The museum also has General George Washington Rallying His Troops at the Battle of Princeton.
nj colonial7/12/2017 1:06:40 PM
And I believe the first one mentioned is on display in Nassau Hall. Like GW's full-length Gilbert Stuart portrait of Washington which hung in the main reading room of the old University Library in Lisner Hall. I have pleaded with the University Curator for years to put the portrait back on permanent display somewhere on campus but to no avail.
maine colonial7/17/2017 9:02:18 PM
The development plans for a new building at 2100 Pennsylvania Ave. are headed to public hearing: LINK
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elj7/17/2017 11:44:42 PM
In all seriousness, have you considered querying GW Magazine about doing one or more historical pieces on GW's prioperties? You're certainly qualified, both as a writer an an amateur historian
bigfan7/18/2017 12:07:42 AM
Now "BerthaLove1"actually makes it interesting.
the dude7/18/2017 2:07:52 AM
Maine, great stuff, the more the better, much appreciated.
maine colonial7/18/2017 8:05:07 AM
nj colonial7/18/2017 9:22:50 AM
Re: 2100 Pennsylvania Avenue: the University should consider moving the GW Bookstore, now called the Campus Store, out of the cramped smaller space it currently occupies on the lower level of Marvin Center and put it in a street level, storefont location. Perhaps in the new 2100 Penn development or at 2000 Penn/Red Lion Row. Better visibilty for the store and GW-branded items.
gw697/18/2017 10:25:33 AM
Great idea NJ --school down the street has easily accessible swag--At least
make ours more prominent.
nj colonial7/18/2017 11:49:51 AM
GW 69 - exactly! And I have learned that textbooks are being phased out on-site because students now order them online. So the store doesn't need room for storing all those books. Campus store is now mostly merch now and should be highly visible to promote GW,
maine colonial8/12/2017 8:46:49 AM
The Corcoran's newly-refurbished bronze doors were remounted last week. They weigh a combined 4,000 pounds and the restoration work was paid for by American Express. Through the doors will eventually be pouring thousands of people each year to see the National Gallery of Art's Corcoran Contemporary Museum as well as GW's permanent art collection. LINK
maine colonial8/15/2017 6:10:16 AM
Architectural Digest recently featured a slideshow of the top university art museums in the country. GW and the NGA Corcoran should be joining the list next year. LINK
While GW's premanent collection isn't that large right now, the history of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the beauty of the Flagg Building, the association with the National Gallery of Art, the number of art lovers traveling to the nation's capital, and the fact that the museum will finally be free will put GW's art museum at or near the top of the list for total visitors.
Every week the NGA sends out an email with the events taking place in the West Wing and the East Wing ranging from curated tours to musical performances. Once the NGA Corcoran opens, the NGA will be promoting it heavily. If you would like to subscribe to the NGA's emails and receive news about the Corcoran, you can do so HERE
maine colonial8/15/2017 7:47:15 AM
A Washington Post story about the renovation and reinstallation of the NGA's East Wing, which ran seven months before the East Wing reopened to the publlc last November, outlines about where the same NGA staff hopefully is in the work on the NGA Corcoran. LINK
Here's a story on the resulting changes to the NGA East Wing, which included work from the Corcoran Collection: LINK
There should be similar coverage when the NGA Corcoran reopens and hopefully it is just as positive.
maine colonial8/15/2017 8:28:28 AM
The National Gallery of Art's annual report for 2016 indicates the NGA is keeping 8,801 works from the Corcoran Collection: 536 paintings; 455 sculptures; 1,170 drawings; 3,876 prints and illustrated books; and 2,569 photographs. LINK
It also notes that Stephen and Andrew Trachtenberg donated Charles Warren Eaton's painting "Woods in Winter" to the NGA "in loving memory of Honey Trachtenberg Weiss and Henry Weiss." Here's an image of the painting: LINK
When the Corcoran reopens, former President Trachtenberg will definitely be there celebrating. I believe Trachtenberg helped lay the groundwork for the deal with the Corcoran and the NGA.
maine colonial8/16/2017 8:41:08 AM
At the New York Avenue entrance to the Flagg Building, lettering affixed to the marble exterior now reads:
"The George Washington University
Corcoran School of the Arts & Design"
Thanks to a newly installed ramp and a number of interior improvements, the building will be truly handicapped accessible for the first time in its 120-year history.
maine colonial8/16/2017 7:23:01 PM
The building at 2112 Pennsylvania is really taking shape now that the curtain wall system is being installed. Skanska, the developer, has a sexy website for the property, which includes the statue of George Washington on one of his war horses at the Battle of Princeton located in the center of Washington Circle and, in the distance, the Washington Monument: LINK
ziik the senile old man8/16/2017 7:27:57 PM
I live about 3/4 of a mile from GW's office back in the 1750's. It's sort of a nice shack. ziik, jr. tells me, it used to belong to the Mary Tyley Moore family, 50 years back.
Damn. That would be a fine addition to the GWU campus. It easily would fit on a pickup truck. Well, maybe a larger van.
Nice to see GWU showing some architecture of note.
maine colonial8/17/2017 7:10:48 AM
Ten years ago, President Stephen Trachtenberg was interviewed by a local radio show just prior to turning over the university to President Knapp. The interview is like a time capsule and one of GW's biggest basketball fans called in during the interview: LINK
nj colonial8/17/2017 11:50:48 AM
Thanks Maine C., I remember this interview. SJT was mostly positive and pogressive in his comments and views about the university. But this interview reminded me of his tendency to rewrite GW history in order to make his tenure seem more dramatically successful. One of the "alternative facts" he and his staff repeated over and over again was that GW was a commuter school when he arrived. That is just not true. Frpm the very beginning, Columbian College provided student housing on its original campus on College Hill and the universiy continued this service in Foggy Bottom beginning in the early 1930's with the construction of Strong Hall. By the 1980's, the majority of undergrads and all freshman, a total of more than 6,000 students, lived in GW residence halls. And I m thankful that Mark Plotkin has stopped trying to change our mascot, "Colonials" is great and it is authentic to our school's history and traditions. He was wrong to say it glorifies colonialism, if was chosen because Washington and the men who fought with him in the Revolution were referred to as Colonials. It is a proud nickname for our teams, students and alumni. I appreciate the good things that SJT did for GW but the university was pretty special before he got there, thanks to the hard work, generosity and sacrifice of many people before him.
nj colonial8/17/2017 12:00:03 PM
...sorry for the typos, writing faster than I think!
maine colonial8/17/2017 7:52:37 PM
On Saturday, the newly-renovated Duke Ellington School of the Arts will hold a ribbon-cutting. The D.C. performing arts high school has been the dream and life's work of GW double-alum Peggy Cooper Cafritz.
Cafritz and a GU student began the program back in the late '60s on the GW campus with support from GW President Lloyd Elliott. LINK GW is still involved in administering the high school in a partnership with the D.C. Public Schools and the Kennedy Center.
The link below will give you a pretty good idea of how the school has been transformed after an extensive renovation project that went significantly over budget:
Cafritz received an honorary degree from GW in 2011 and she gave a pretty amazing speech that day: LINK
"I deeply thank George Washington University because Duke Ellington School of the Arts would not be there absolutely would not be there without you and I know that our relationship will deepen."
maine colonial8/18/2017 4:43:41 PM
Today is the third anniversary of the D.C. Superior Court judge's decision that allowed the Corcoran to turn over ownership of the Corcoran Flagg Building and the Corcoran College of Art + Design over to GW, and stewardship of the Corcoran art collection over to the National Gallery of Art.
"This Court finds it painful to issue an Order that effectively dissolves the Corcoran as an independent entity. But this Court would find it even more painful to deny the relief requested and allow the Corcoran to face its likely demise—the likely dissolution of the College, the closing of the Gallery, and the dispersal of the Gallery’s entire collection. Fortunately, two internationally recognized institutions, with strong and enduring commitments to education and the arts, have agreed to sustain the College under the Corcoran name, and to provide the same educational and employment opportunities to its students, faculty, and staff; to maintain the Gallery and much of the collection under the Corcoran name, and to keep it open to the public; and to renovate the iconic building which houses both the College and the Gallery. Furthermore, this proposal has been enthusiastically endorsed by the two national organizations that accredit the College and the Gallery, and by the Office of the Attorney General, which has statutory oversight over charitable trusts in the District of Columbia. In sum, this Court believes that approval of the Trustees’ proposal is necessary, given the Corcoran’s financial circumstances, and further believes that the proposal properly effectuates Mr. Corcoran’s original intent to encourage “American Genius in the production and preservation of works pertaining to the ‘Fine Arts,’ and kindred objects.
Accordingly, it is this 18th day of August, 2014, hereby ORDERED that the Trustees’
Petition and Cy Pres Motion are GRANTED.
The Court will issue a separate Order providing
the specific relief requested by the Trustees.
maine colonial8/18/2017 5:08:07 PM
GW has been busy over the last three years renovating the building and also merging GW's arts programs with the Corcoran's to create the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, which the school's director believes will eventually become "the finest school of the arts and design in the country."
GW announced the news earlier today in a story in GWToday.
"The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design has announced that as part of its new governance structure, ratified by a Corcoran faculty vote in February, five departments within the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences will join the Corcoran School, which has been reorganized into seven new academic programs.
The Corcoran School itself, similar to the School of Media & Public Affairs as well as the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration, remains part of the broader Columbian College.
Within the Corcoran School, the former departments of Fine Arts and Art History; Music, Theatre and Dance; Museum Studies and Interior Architecture and Design are being reorganized and merged with legacy Corcoran programs. The new Corcoran will consist of: Art History; Interior Architecture; Music; Theatre and Dance; Studio Arts; Museum Studies(;) and Design.
In addition to renovations within several Corcoran buildings, faculty and staff of the newly organized Corcoran School have been working throughout the summer to implement the new structure while moving into new roles and within the school.
“These are exciting times for the Corcoran,” Corcoran School Director Sanjit Sethi said. “The passage of school bylaws came with a tremendous degree of faculty buy-in and engagement, and the thoughtful feedback from the CCAS dean's office. We start off this academic year with the task of creating a truly engaged and interdisciplinary creative community. I'm looking forward to working with the executive committee, the academic committee and the rest of the Corcoran faculty in the years ahead as we create the finest school of the arts and design in the country.”