1818 N Street is located within the DuPont Circle Historic District, near a highly developed office area. The 15,780 SF site is occupied by five, nineteenth-century town houses and sits adjacent to a large town house with Georgian detailing to the west and 90’ high office blocks to the south and east. The existing town houses, with their variety of details and relatively small scale, are essential to the Historic District and are retained in a way that maintains their original character.
The massing of the new 1818 N Street was critical to gaining support and approval for the project. By designing terraces that step back from the town houses on N Street and up to the surrounding office blocks, the new building becomes a transitional element between the two. The terrace step ups follow sight lines that allow very little of the new building to be visible from the street level. The terrace parapets and the elevator penthouse take pediment, gable and dormer-like forms to continue the lively variety of the existing roof tops. The ‘ends’ of the new building are brought forward to contain the stepped terraces, hide the backs of surrounding office blocks and provide the new building with street identity.
1818 N Street, through sensitive design of massing and detail, shows one way in which a high-density development can occur while maintaining the character of an historic district. The new building asserts a presence all its own, while retaining the historic character and scale as defined by the townhouse façades.