Saturday, February 18, 2012

Shaw Deserves Better than this awful architecture: 926 N Street to be redeveloped

A few weeks ago, we profiled the abandoned building at 926 N Street NW at the northern entrance to Historic Blagden Alley. As a response to that posting, we got an awesome rendering from a reader of what could be done with the awful existing building if a total redevelopment wasn't in the cards just yet.

However, now it appears that United House of Prayer, the owners of the site, have decided to redevelop into condominiums or apartments. Convention Center Community Association President Martin Moulton  released some early design options for the site on his blog a few weeks ago. According to Moulton, the early design is a roughly 5,000 sqft building of three floors, with two retail bays facing N Street at 2,418 and 804 sqft, respectively, and one three bedroom unit, six two bedroom units, five one bedroom units, and two studio apartments, for a total of 14 apartments. The architecture, however, is dreadful to say the least.
UHOP has retained architect Susan Reatig (of the horrific rubix-cube themed building near 6th and M) to design the building, and the initial renderings show that sadly, she hasn't developed any real taste since her last endeavor in Shaw.

Now, admittedly, the drawings that she presented last Thursday at the Blagden Alley Naylor Court Association meeting were far more tame than these (and if anyone has digital copies of those drawings, please email me!), but they still left a lot to be desired. Susan herself pointed out that there was a "formality" to the buildings along N Street, and a resident at the meeting quickly noted that her proposal did not address that formality in any way. 

Meanwhile, Shaw-based design firm OdC Studio put together a quick massing study that produced a far superior design concept that actually fits in with the neighborhood: 

Personally, I'm a huge fan of the OdC Studio option - it keeps the same density, the same overall concept, but unlike the Reatig disaster, it looks like it actually belongs in Shaw. What do you think? 

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