In Living Color

Washington, District of Columbia

Cities are about people, but what people crave most in cities is comfort, greenery, nature and space, amenities not often associated with urban living. The goal at 625 Rhode Island Avenue was to design housing that provides relief from the stress of city life.

Located steps from the Metro, a 16-unit apartment building replaced four small dilapidated town homes. The four-story building provides spacious units, exposure to light, air, and the outdoors. Large operable windows and deep balconies offer cross-ventilation and plentiful daylight. Every unit enjoys a private balcony or terrace in addition to the three communal outdoor areas for tenants—a green roof deck, an interior court and a planted tree garden along the alley façade.

We saw the dark and neglected alley along the west façade as an opportunity. Recessing the west face of the building and allocating space between the building and alley for a garden transformed the alley to a friendly, safe walkway. The long bright Trespa panels and the abundance of nature surrounding the building resulted in an unmistakable identity frequently mentioned by passersby.

Bringing nature to tenants in these communal areas created opportunities to interact and socialize, while also embracing a sense of calm and serenity that is difficult to come by in an urban environment. Providing the essentials for healthy living enhances urban life and encourages people to stay in the city long-term.

Suzane Reatig Architecture uploaded In Living Color through Add A Home.
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Building entrance along Rhode Island Avenue NW Photo  of In Living Color modern home

Building entrance along Rhode Island Avenue NW

West facade garden pathway Photo 2 of In Living Color modern home

West facade garden pathway

West facade garden pathway at dusk Photo 3 of In Living Color modern home

West facade garden pathway at dusk

Garden pathway and private balconies Photo 4 of In Living Color modern home

Garden pathway and private balconies

Colorful Trespa rainscreen on west facade Photo 5 of In Living Color modern home

Colorful Trespa rainscreen on west facade

Interior courtyard Photo 6 of In Living Color modern home

Interior courtyard

View from unit to interior courtyard Photo 7 of In Living Color modern home

View from unit to interior courtyard

Kitchen Photo 8 of In Living Color modern home

Kitchen

Two story units Photo 9 of In Living Color modern home

Two story units

"Treehouse unit" with a view of nature Photo 10 of In Living Color modern home

"Treehouse unit" with a view of nature