An infill development in DC’s fastest growing neighborhood, the NoMA Business Improvement District, 77H supports the city’s aim for a dense, mixed-use, transit-oriented community to replace this once blighted industrial area. 303 apartments and three key residential amenity areas sit above two levels of below-grade parking and a 76,000 SF Walmart – the first to open in Washington, DC.
77H’s primary design opportunity was blending the building’s aesthetic with existing neighborhood character, as though it had been standing for 100 years. This authenticity was accomplished by mimicking the façade – comprised of seven different materials – and brick detail of nearby buildings, particularly that of the adjacent historical Government Printing Office. Rusticated bases, deep recessed windows, jack arch lintels, and stone cornices celebrate carefully crafted masonry and convey a design integrity rarely seen in multifamily projects, creating a visual and functional link between two extant retail districts – H Street, NE and Chinatown.
77H’s inline retail along H Street is designed to resemble industrial-era storefronts with Hope’s Steel accents. However, the southwest corner’s large glass panes and steel joints cantilever to reveal the Walmart vestibule and amenities – a dramatic rooftop pool and lounge, fitness center, and two internal courtyards – as though the modern exterior corner structures are simply updates to an older building.
The construction team faced a demanding construction schedule, exacerbated just months in by significant buried debris. Nevertheless, the team worked six-day weeks to complete excavation three weeks early. A detailed CPM of approximately 4,500 activities and over 12 milestones was created and updated weekly, enabling completion of the entire exterior façade prior to commencement of Walmart’s fit out. Additional constraints included 77H’s completely contained courtyard requiring material delivery – all of which were high end – via tower crane, and the site’s lack of space requiring skilled staging within one narrow city block.