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.
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Building entrance along Rhode Island Avenue NW
West facade garden pathway
West facade garden pathway at dusk
Garden pathway and private balconies
Colorful Trespa rainscreen on west facade
View from unit to interior courtyard
Two story units
"Treehouse unit" with a view of nature