Text description provided by the architects. The design of the building is a response to (1) a site situated on one of Pierre L’Enfant’s original arterial streets (2) a program consisting of small dwelling units and (3) the requests of the local neighborhood shareholders.
The program required seven to ten housing units per floor with community rooms, laundry facilities, monitoring stations, private and family bathrooms on each floor. The designers added outdoor play areas on each level to avoid taking children down the elevators to reach outdoor play. The ground floor includes a dining area, computer room, exam room, and administrative areas.
Any new public housing project requires acceptance from the neighbors. Early community engagement was the key to both design and approval process success. The neighbors let us know they wanted a building with no specific front or back. They wanted activity all around the site. The neighbors wanted the existing clinic to remain on site and pointed out details like habitual walking patterns. We learned that each building on “I” Street is elevated several feet above the street to prevent damage from frequent flooding in this waterfront neighborhood.
Each floor features a different organizing color to foster a sense of community and ease of orientation. The building’s massing responds to the view shed along Delaware Avenue SW. Delaware Avenue is an original arterial street in L’Enfant’s city grid. The ziggurat form of the building responds to the existing street tree canopy and allows for maximum daylighting and views from the dwelling units. Each elevation of the AYA is uniquely different as it responds to context. The North façade is all glass to maximize the view shed of the US Capitol from the community rooms on each floor. The dynamic South facade frames the entrance to the community health clinic. The East facade is sedate and calm in response to a neighboring housing project.
The design concept is a building that has no front or back and. Each elevation of the building is uniquely different; the glassy North facade contains community rooms on each floor that look out towards capitol, the dynamic South facade frames the entrance to the health clinic, the calm East facade contains screened outdoor play spaces on each floor, the stepped West facade creates a front lawn for each unit. The boundaries of the new building stay within the existing buildings footprint, preserving the national park land to the north of the site. The new building yields in height to both the future Randall School Development to the East and Capitol Park Plaza Apartment building to the West. Care is taken to organize separate entrances to the Health Clinic and Short Term Family Housing on different faces of the building. The building is intended to complement the developing SW skyline while creating an optimal living experience for the tenants with natural lighting and views out to the city.
The building has a ziggurat form that preserves the existing tree canopies and allows for maximum daylighting into the units and views from the building. Each elevation of the building is uniquely different. The building is intended to complement the developing southwest Washington DC skyline while creating an optimal living experience for the tenants.