The Site: This previously undeveloped site is located in a long neglected historic district which had remained dormant since the 1968 Martin Luther King riots devastated the area. Previously, this residential neighborhood had been a thriving commercial district in the 1920s known as “Automotive Row”, when limestone clad showrooms replaced Victorian era residences. The site sits adjacent to the historic Wardman Row townhomes to its west.
Project Goals: The project goals included building an exemplary residential building on the site; one that would be energy efficient, provide neighborhood retail, and appeal to young urban dwellers. The client required a design to harmonize with historic context, to blend its surrounding commercial and residential uses and to establish its identity as a modern landmark in a re-emerging neighborhood of the city.
Design Solution: The project design organizes 3 distinct building blocks that respond to varied historic context. The first mass, articulated in buff colored masonry, akin to the 1920’s limestone buildings of the ‘Automotive era,', is symmetrically composed with punched windows flanking a richly articulated bay window. This window is ‘butterflied’ about its center to enhance views to the north and south along the commercial uses on 14th Street. A metal shell wraps this building block in the north-south direction and bends to form a signature crowing element. The metal cornice announces the building’s residential use, providing an iconic cap along 14th Street. A second masonry mass steps down to respond to the rhythm, height and proportions of the historic Wardman Row. Aluminum and glass bay windows are angled towards the residential neighborhood while being anchored to the masonry by creased masonry wings with playful portal windows allowing glimpses of the lively commercial street to the east. The third mass of dark colored panels rises above the 2nd mass and completes the 3-part composition.