The Miller Hull Partnership has designed projects in the cities of Seattle, San Diego, and Chicago, to name a few. But the firm has never created a building in Washington, D.C.—until now. Developer JBG has hired the Seattle-based firm as the design architect for a 240-unit mixed-use project in D.C.’s rapidly gentrifying Shaw neighborhood. Occupying two sites across the street from each other, the development is slated to break ground in January 2013.

According to project architect Brian Court, AIA, LEED AP, JBG wanted a clean, modern look for the project. “The historic review board was supportive of coming in with a modern design, as long as it transitioned into the surroundings,” Court explains. So he, partner-in-charge and design lead David E. Miller, FAIA, and their team saved the most industrial-style elements for the north façades, which look onto a busy commercial street. As the metal-clad buildings step back toward the historic rowhouses that abut their south façades, the exteriors begin to incorporate brick. “We’re detailing the brick in a modern way,” Court says.

For now the units will be rental apartments, with floor-to-ceiling windows and an average approximate size of 700 square feet, and common courtyards will top the 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. The project’s architect of record is BKV Group.