If you drove through the Columbia Heights section of Washington 15 years ago, boarded up buildings and urban blight gave little reason to tarry. Today, restaurants, retail, grocery stores, and a restored theater cater to residents and beckon visitors from afar. The four buildings of the Columbia Heights project—Park Triangle, Kenyon Square, Victory Heights, and Highland Park—offer additional contributions to the community.

Designed by Torti Gallas and Partners, the project provides 572 market-rate and affordable residential units and much-needed retail. A wide range of units includes studios to two-bedroom apartments and double-height lofts. Rental units appealing to the urban professional skew modern, but the ownership building has the traditional feel of an established residence.

The architects sought to create a ­pedestrian-friendly atmosphere, so they pushed the buildings back to allow wider sidewalks and space for café seating. Moreover, they gave residents suburban-style amenities such as gym facilities, community rooms, landscaped terraces, and roof decks.

CATEGORY: Infill community
ENTRANT/ARCHITECT: Torti Gallas and Partners, Silver Spring, Md.
BUILDERS: Hamel Builders, Elkridge, Md.; Paradigm Construction Co., Alexandria, Va.; Smoot Construction, Washington
DEVELOPERS: Victory Housing, Bethesda, Md.; Donatelli & Klein, Bethesda; Triangle Development, Washington
INTERIOR DESIGNERS: Michael Asner Associates, Baltimore; Hickok Cole Architects, Washington; Forma Design, Washington
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS: Tilson Landscape Co., Vienna, Va.; Parker Rodriguez, Alexandria

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Washington, DC.