Project Description2003 RADA
Single-Family Production / Attached / Grand
The transformation of a forlorn school building into a sparkling complex of 14 single-family homes earned Suman Sorg, FAIA, high marks from judges. They admired her careful use of 19th-century proportions and the way the new Phillips Row houses fit seamlessly into a historic Georgetown neighborhood.
The infill development occupies nearly an entire city square and consists of five clusters of houses, each representing a stylized version of one of the neighborhood's predominant architectural periods: Federal, Georgian, Italianate, Venetian, and Richardsonian. "We were able to take these styles--stay very true to them, not bastardize or distort them--and string them along in a garland," Sorg explains. These new homes ring the old Phillips School, which was renovated and divided into condominiums, with a central courtyard for parking and gardens.
Sorg says she is most proud of the way a notoriously prickly neighborhood association embraced her project. "It is a struggle building anything in Georgetown because it faces so much scrutiny, but we used ornamentation and details that helped the buildings fit in and eventually won the skeptics over," she says.
For such a tradition-bound community, judges thought this solution was ideal: "Give it a little weathering and it might be hard to tell it's not old."