Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Residential Planned for Shaw's Blagden Alley

The United House of Prayer for All People has teamed up (again) with Suzane Reatig Architecture, this time to develop a mixed-use residential and retail building in the Blagden Alley-Naylor Court Historic District.

The DC Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) approved the concept for a 12-unit residential building with ground floor retail space at 926 N St. Northwest. A 1953 warehouse and loading dock on the property will be torn down to make way for the new building.

Megan Mitchell, project designer for Suzane Reatig Architecture, presented the early-stage design to the HPRB at the March 22 meeting. She said she thought the meeting went well, and now they can move on to the next stage.

Preliminary concept rendering of the front of the building showing
the three sections and proposed screen
(Rendering provided by Suzane Reatig Architecture)
"I think the next step for us is to develop the materials and work on the little details of how the bays meet the ground and meet the sky," Mitchell said. "(We're) really getting into the design of the building now."

And that is exactly what the HPRB wants to see. Comments during the meeting focused on the desire for more renderings, a detailed site plan and consideration of materials that will incorporate the varied historical neighborhood.

This first presentation to the HPRB was intended to get input and approval for the overall concept, Board member comments will be incorporated into a later presentation.

Preliminary alley designs include garage doors, alley access and balconies. The street front would be broken up into three sections emulating the row-home effect present in the area. Residential units would feature private outdoor space.

Mitchell said the design has been shared in various forums with the community, and it is clear that the neighbors care about the project. She said residents have different opinions about how modern the building should appear in the historic alley. Preliminary rendering showing the sidewalk view with ground-level retail spaces.

Another presentation with greater detail of the project will take place in the near future. Mitchell said she hopes to break ground on the project within a year, but no specific timeline has been set.

"We're very excited about building in this unique historic neighborhood," Mitchell said during her presentation. "We'd like to do a building that would contribute not only to its historic context but also to the community."

Washington D.C. real estate development news


Critically Urban on Mar 28, 2012, 9:31:00 AM said...

I find it incredibly odd that the HPRB would initially be positive about this modern design amidst genuinely historic homes when, at the same time, they blast the design and form of the JBG development at Florida & 8th, which is along a street with many modern buildings, across the street from what is arguably the U Street corridor's ugliest building, and just 2 blocks from a Metro station. What a double standard!

Anonymous said...

Suzanne Reatig and her hideous designs are an absolute pox on the Shaw neighborhood. They're like a cheap, second-rate knock-off idea of what daring modern architecture is supposed to look like.

Anonymous said...

agreed - suzanne reatig's designs always come out looking like cheap third-world buildings with a "contemporary" flair. Her use of cheap materials is offensive to the neighboring buildings.

Anonymous said...

Does this sound like an approval?
Think not.....,+March+22,+2012/Blagden+Alley+Naylor+Court+HD+-+926+N+Street+NW+-+HPA+12-160

They should stop tricking people into believing they have "official" approval to insert their "designs" in that neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

You are right - the link you've posted is the report by the historian. It's simply his overview of the project and recommendation to the board. The hearing, which was held on the 22nd gave unanimous approval for the concept and massing. The architects now have approval to develop the architecture and then it will go back to the ANC and to the HPRB. It's a process.

Anonymous said...

Reatig has a problem, identified by a couple of the previous commenters, with her buildings looking cheap and out of place. Turns out that grey concrete block, even specialty "groundface" block, just looks like concrete block. Turns out that large areas of windows, when used in rowhouses, just get covered with shades. (Not the case for apartment buldings, I note, as low as the second floor.) Turns out that colored metal panels look like Romper Room, not like adult architecture. Washington isn't a tropical third-world country (nor the Netherlands).

This one looks much less alienating than most of her previous work. In fact, it looks like it could be a good addition to the block. The Board is correct that the materiality will be critical. Please, Reatig, tamp down your impulse to do another clown-colored building!

Ms. Reatig, I realize that in architecture school, you were inculcated with the belief that your work must be radically different--that if you're not the next Frank Gehry, you're a failure. All I can say is, Get Over It! You're a mature professional, not a student. This project shows promise to move you beyond that academic mindset.

Anonymous said...

Her work is awful - every building looks like the offspring of a shipping container mating with a rubix cube.

IMGoph on Apr 18, 2012, 10:38:00 AM said...

Does Reatig have more than one design in her toolbox. Good god, at least try something different. If it wasn't so ugly, it would at least be boring at this point.

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