Washington, DC

Art Space Projects, Inc.

Service Type

Project Type

78,000 sf
40-50 residential units


Brookland Artspace Lofts, located in an emerging mixed-use neighborhood of Brookland, Washington, D.C, was developed by Artspace of Minneapolis, Minnesota, the nation’s leading nonprofit real estate developer for artist live-work projects. Their mission is to “create, foster, and preserve affordable space for artists and art organizations.” The Brookland Artist Lofts provides 41 affordable, rental live/work apartments for working artists who must demonstrate they earn a portion of their income from their craft.

Since it was unknown during design phases what artistic endeavor the tenant would undertake, the units have a flexible layout. Living spaces are large and free of walls and structure, with tall ceiling heights measuring nine foot three inches to allow for extra tall artist medium. The units provide the artist residents with 100 additional square feet over the typical market square footage of each unit type, providing provides the extra space the artists need for their work areas. The kitchens are planned in a straight run, with all the cabinets and appliances on one side, leaving a large empty wall space opposite of the cabinets. This allowed the artists to locate additional work surfaces or storage near the kitchen sink as needed for the craft. The bathrooms are also slightly over-sized in either the tub or bathroom sink are needed when working with large art pieces. Surfaces are cost effective, durable and neutral, and easy to clean is materials spill. The flooring is a sheet material to avoid seams that might catch spills as well. The walls are white to create as much reflective light as possible. On the ground level, which is over one level of parking, the concrete slab is left exposed and sealed. Those units may be occupied by artists with heavy-duty artistic endeavors that require durable floor surfaces.

The facility is a light, bright palette of materials, with large blank canvases of wall space for the artists to fill. The lobby is to be used as a gallery for the residents’ works; so, like the units, the space is over-sized and as open and neutral as possible. Glass sliding doors between the lobby and the studio space slide apart to combine the spaces for large gatherings. The common corridors are also neutral in color and extra wide to allow artists to deliver large supplies to their units. The unit entry doors are recessed from the corridors, and are a designated location that the artists are allowed to personalize with paint, collage, or other creative materials.