Washington, DC


Service Type

Project Type

100,000 sf


2019 retrofit Metamorphosis Awards – Best Adaptive Reuse; 2019 NAIOP DC|MD - Best Urban Office; 2019 AIA Northern Virginia, Award of Merit in Commercial Architecture; 2019 Glass Magazine Awards - Best Green Project

An existing YMCA is transformed into to Class A commercial office building with a new dynamic metal skin and contemporary amenities. Located at the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and 17th Street, in NW Washington DC, the existing building sits at an important transition zone between the higher density Central Business District and the lower density residential neighborhoods.

The design maintains the basic structure of the current building by preserving the majority of existing columns and floor slabs while also surgically infilling other areas. In order to relate to the area’s historical context and break down the building scale, the exterior composition modulates the existing building mass to create a vibrant but balanced presence on Rhode Island Ave.

The top floor is set back to reduce the street wall height and the primary facades incorporate varying window depths to produce shadow lines reminiscent of those found in the adjacent townhouses. Using a large bay pattern, the building is able to maintain maximum views from the interior yet create a composition that is sympathetic to the surrounding context but distinctly modern. An architectural copper skin is layered over a background of clear glass and accented with metal filigree to provide contrast and definition on the street wall.

The new lobby is centrally located on the facade and features a custom metal cube suspended within the two story space that defines the entry experience. The landscape design includes a lush street scape which accentuates the entry yet provides ample opportunity to sit and relax outdoors. A well-appointed roof top terrace with supporting club room mirrors an intimate pocket park located on the ground level.

The final design is a contextually appropriate Boutique Office Building located at an important junction in NW Washington DC.