A BIG BUILDING ON A narrow lot on a small street in the funkiest section of Washington? Architects at Hickok Cole rose to the challenge, using variable setbacks and massing, brick masonry towers with metal overhangs, and punch windows to honor the neighborhood's eclecticism. The architecture reads as quasi-industrial even though it's composed of traditional materials.

Exterior elements are rhythmically repeated in the façade that fronts Champlain Street. But as the building rounds the intersection with Kalorama Street, its form breaks from this pattern and culminates in a curved glass-and-metal bow. The fact that the cross streets were not perpendicular presented an opportunity to “open up the intersection a bit to give it more urban breathing room,” says architect Laurence Caudle.

It took some give and take with the city to achieve acceptance for the unorthodox design, Caudle says. “The building sits 3 feet off the property line, and we lost a lot of area with the stepping. But we also got a little extra height, which helped with the articulation. Otherwise, it would have been more of a straight-walled building.”

Category: Lofts; Entrant/Architect: Hickok Cole Architects, Washington; Developers: PN Hoffman Construction Development, Washington; Adams Investment Group, Washington; Contractor: PN Hoffman Construction Development

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