Project Description2009 RADA
Multifamily / Grand
The site for this luxury condo building is in a re-emerging section of Washington, D.C., but its location—next to an operating service station and wedged between two converging traffic arteries—made it less than promising.
Instead of resisting the conditions, Shalom Baranes Associates embraced them. The firm's design team inserted a bar-shaped building that blends with its context and created façades that respond to the street. They even incorporated the eyesore service station. “We came up with this sculptural piece that's topped by a floating garden,” says Robert M. Sponseller, AIA.
The curvilinear building includes 7,500 square feet of retail and restaurant space, as well as five ground-floor duplexes. “We sought a variance to increase the height of the building to stretch the ground floor, so that everyone is above the [service station's] canopy,” Sponseller explains. As a result, every unit has a view of the garden. Eschewing the city's ubiquitous brick cladding, the firm chose a zinc rainscreen system that's installed on a material-efficient 3-foot module, which offers flexibility for an exterior door or window. The team also recessed portions of the building to carve out balconies and used the roof for additional outdoor space.
“The way the building works on the site ... is remarkable,” said one judge. Another added that it “makes good streets and good housing for the people who live there.”