AS ONE OF THE NATION'S most revered bastions of colonial architecture, D.C.'s Georgetown neighborhood is not known for being structurally avant-garde. Except in the case of this boutique mixed-use project, which honors historic precedent and then crowns it with what architect Mark McInturff calls a “rooftop village floating above the bustle of the city.”

The project's front elevation flanks one of the city's busiest shopping avenues and reads as two impeccably restored, mid–19th-century buildings with classically stacked residential over retail. In the back alley, however, renovations fuse with new construction that spills onto a contiguous lot to create two distinct building vocabularies. Ground-floor commercial space, represented by a traditional brick façade of the same height as neighboring historic buildings, is capped with six contemporary loft units, freshly clad in zinc with Douglas fir windows. “Each of the residential units has one or more private outdoor spaces screened by dense plantings to reinforce the idea of a rooftop oasis,” McInturff says.

Category: Lofts; Entrant/Architect: McInturff Architects, Bethesda, Md.; Builder: Kadcon, Washington; Developer: Eastbanc, Washington; Landscape architect: Gregg Bleam Landscape Architects, Charlottesville, Va.