Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Wormley School Phase II Development Begins

Five years after Bethesda-based Encore Development purchased the Wormley School building from Georgetown University for $8.3 million and began marketing townhouses and condos, Encore says it is ready to begin building its townhouse portion of the project. The initial plan was to transform the historic brick school into seven condominiums and construct six new townhouses on top of a parking garage, replacing the school's parking lot and playground. The 7-unit converted schoolhouse delivered in 2008, but the vision for a row of six new townhouses seemed to fade as sales for the condos were stubbornly sluggish and presales of the townhouses nonexistent. However, after recently selling the last of the condos after more than 3 years of marketing, Encore's financiers gave them the go ahead to begin construction on the six townhouses, and work has now begun on the site.

The site, at 3325-3329 Prospect Street, is just one block north of the M Street, along the migratory student path between M and Georgetown University. The six townhouses will each consist of four levels and a loft, totaling somewhere between 4800 and 5200 s.f. Each home will be accompanied by two parking spaces, and are currently priced starting at $3.95 million, running up to $4.95 million. The row-houses should be delivered in roughly a year.

The "finely-crafted, Victorian-style luxury townhouses with details of quintessential Georgetown originals" (according to the listing) are designed by Cunningham & Quill Architects. The end unit will include four bedrooms and bathrooms, four fireplaces, formal living room and dining room, library, and a grand kitchen that opens into a family room. The master suite features a private terrace, and the third floor operates as a two story conservatory. That's not all, also comprised in the property is an in house elevator and relaxing private garden.

A diligent effort has been made by the architects and developers of this project, in cooperation with Old Georgetown, Citizens Association of Georgetown, and HPRB, to ensure that the historical integrity of the block and the neighborhood are preserved. Because two row houses already existed at the end of the block, these new houses will join the established roof line and facade closest to the street, while the renovated Wormley School will soak up the majority of the passerby's attention - as it remains set back several feet to draw the wandering eye towards its historical and architectural significance.

Many specific architectural details will be replicated in the newly constructed houses so to provide visual clues for the onlooker, reminding them that this is a classic Georgetown townhouse in the historic Georgetown neighborhood. Both cornice lines and the articulations of the roof line will be matched to the existing houses as the row tapers down the street. The houses will all be approximately the same width as a typical Georgetown row house. They will also be proportionally similar. Other visual clues meant to reference the iconic Georgetown home are the windows (mainly type two over two), archway styling, the steps and entryway as they relate to the proportioning of the transition to the sidewalk, as well as stone stoops, railings, and gardens. Although many row houses in Georgetown are bare brick, the designers opted for the also common painted frontage, selecting subtle neutrals (grays, yellows, and whites) so to enliven the facade but not call too loudly for attention (think San Francisco painted lady houses). "Our ultimate goal with the design was to complete the pattern of the existing block," says architect Chris Morrison, "and I think we did that intelligently and respectfully."

Washington D.C. Real Estate Development News


Anonymous said...

No need to describe the architectural details as "mimicked." The word connotes cheesy, or not original (sin of sins in contemporary buildings). Rather, you might describe the detailing as, well, detailed. Or historical. Or revival. Something else, perhaps. But no need to diminish that which most of us really love.

Brooks Butler Hays on Aug 3, 2010, 1:12:00 PM said...

fair point anon, no intention of diminishing the strong work of these architects, word choice adjusted as per your polite request

Anonymous said...

The instinct to call pre-modernist styles as mimikrey is backed into the architects' education, which teaches that the only style worth mimicking are modernist styles. The architects here are known to dabble in "historicist" styles only with a large dose of irony, an intellectual game contemporary architects play with themselves when their job requires them to work in "historic" styles. Fortunatley, these recessionary times seem to have stiffiled their bias in favor of what is truly a refined design. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

typo in the title?

Anonymous said...

the section titles are labeled incorrectly.

Brooks Butler Hays on Aug 3, 2010, 3:46:00 PM said...

anon 311: i don't follow. section titles?

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