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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Proposal for 926 N Street, NW

The CCCA has the scoop on a plan for a three story, mixed use (fourteen residences, two retail spaces), fifty four foot tall building for 926 N Street, NW.  The HPRB Staff Report (viewable here in PDF) indicates that the design is a work-in-progress (particularly with regard to scale, materials and detailing of the front and alley façades), and the project is on the agenda for tomorrow night's ANC2F meeting, so now is the time for community input to help shape how this project ultimately looks.

Here are some of the renderings:

What do you think of the current design for 926 N Street?  Can a well designed modern structure be appropriate at this site?  Or should a building at this site -- an entrance to Blagden Alley -- replicate existing alley architecture?  What materials would you like to see used?  What changes would you suggest regarding the current design?  

Everytime I see a proposal for a modern building in a historic district, I'm reminded of a panel I attended in 2010 at the AIA called Context/Contrast:  New Architecture in Historic Districts. The discussion was inspired by an an exhibition at the AIA headquarters exploring the role and realization of new architecture in urban historic districts.  It was neat to see what a beautiful justaposition modern and historic design can be together, and it also explored some not-so-great examples of attempts at the same.


Anonymous said...

I think a contemporary building w/ lots of glass could look great on the site. Materials need to be high quality -- like limestone (used in the nearby HRY project you wrote about recenlty).

Something about the first floor retail doesn't look right either.

Alley Cat said...

This non-contextual building is supposedly going to be three levels high. In these drawings one can clearly see how it towers over the neighboring historic houses, which are three stories high themselves. Counting the floors, an observer can tell that the building clearly has four to five levels, if the top units are double height.
One can tell that the historic context of the neighborhood has not been taken into account –not even by accident- during the design process of these buildings. It looks very similar to the new “essay in primary colors” building in the 600 block of M Street NW, which could be potentially known as the second ugliest building in the neighborhood if this design is ever approved.
Fortunately, this side of the neighborhood is considered a historic site, so this monstrosity has very little chances of being built on that spot, but one never knows!

Anonymous said...

I think a very modern building with high end materials will look much better in a historic district than a building that is trying to blend in. We've already seen several new in-fills be built in empty lots and they always look like a new in-fill done cheaply.

Anonymous said...

I don't like how tall it looks in comp to the rest of the block.

I hope it's not white and/or stucco. It should be more earthy colored to blend more color wise with the other buildings on the street instead of being bright white. Stone would be cool.

Culinarily Quixotic said...

Yuck, all i can think of when I look at this is the horrendous white, blue, red and yellow thing next to the IHOP on M Street. Make it simple and elegant brick and it will blend.

Anonymous said...

This is an aggressive architectural invasion into a block that has been designated as a National Treasure on the National Register of historic places. It's out of context, it's arrogant, almost mocking. Blagden Alley has a restrictive covenant by nature of its National Register status. The ANC and HPO need to step up to their responsibilities and deny approval of this jarring design. Blagden Alley and the Shaw neighborhood should not be willing to settle for anything less than excellence. This architect is not particularly popular in the neighborhood and has been admonished before, when a previous aggressive intrusion was made on this block on the South side. Now the North side is being attacked! Years ago the neighborhood accepted "anything" because it was "better than nothing." Well ... those days are gone. Let's wake up people!

Anonymous said...

International House of Pancakes?
Where is it???

IMGoph said...

Is every Reatig building just a copy of the last one. This is hideous.