Judging Buildings


I think I know what folks are gonna say about this one… But what has me especially flummoxed is that this building is on the 2100 or 2200 block of O Street which is posh as hell. Here’s a contrast of what it looks like against a dope rowhouse:


But I gotta ask – any fans out there?

35 Comment

  • Bad Idea Jeans

  • OK, so obviously abomination of our sensibilities.

    But I have a question: Do these people have to enter their homes from the garage?

  • It looks like an alley; how do they get in?

  • Never mind the people who live there. How does one visit them? And what if your forget your garage door opener?

    I am guessing that alley entrance in the middle of the row provides access to a rear entrance, but still. One can’t help but wonder why the city approved a 200 foot long curb cut for a whole row of new construction, instead of just having them put the garages in the back like sensible folks… since this was all new I am sure proper alley access for cars could have been built.

  • The windows really bug me too. They look like someone just slapped them where ever. And those little bathroom windows…don’t even get me started!

    Having these next to the pretty row how just makes them more ugly.

  • This is stupid. Who approves these constructions?

  • * house

    yeah yeah spell check and all that

  • This intrigued me as well, so I looked it up on google maps (“2107 o st. nw washington dc” will get you there). Kind of hard to tell, but it looks like there might not be an alley. Lots of trees back there, which is cool. But regardless, the hogging up of the curb is ridiculous for all those garage doors, not to mention how ugly they make the building look. To have off street parking in Dupont is great, but I wonder if they could’ve created some kind of garage for the entire complex, with fewer doors?

  • It is nice that they tried to incorporate some of the existing styling cues with those bay windows, but god they are ugly. The curb cuts are just the start of the ugliness.

  • I’ve never linked to google like this before, but here goes…

    View Larger Map

    There are GARAGES PEOPLE. I hate when people park their cars, as if they have too many to fit IN the garage, in front of the garage. The roof decks are pretty sweet (solely because I’m jealous of all roof decks), but all in all I’d say this is an absolute abomination for a city block.

  • where are the San Fran curb cut loving commenters now? this is exactly what people are talking about when they knock curb cuts. this is the best example of why as a rule it should not be allowed in urban areas. no tree lane. no street parking. its like walking across a parking lot if you are a pedestrian and its just plain ugly.

  • Mystery solved for the entry of guests? Using the cool street view feature of google maps, looks like there’s an entry into the courtyard in the middle of the building. But I still say they could’ve created common parking where the garages are, and maybe even gotten rid of those driveways and put in some yard? Oh well, it’s done, however badly it is.

  • yeah. the ones POP posted in Woodley Park on Woodley place a month ago. They park the same way there. most of them dont actually use the garages for cars but storage. so half the time you are walking on that side of the street a car has its ass hanging 3 feet into the sidewalk. also with the woodley houses and these. they are metro acessible. there are plenty of buyers who would buy houses in these locations without parking. or a small scale apartment building without parking could go onto small plots like this. but this is just stupid. Luckily the city has some sense ablout this stuff now and most of these examples are dated for that reason.

  • This is why God must kill everybody now.

  • I visited someone who lived in one of these townhouses about 15 years ago. It was quite nice inside.

  • I love google street view. Observe…

    Pedestrian with death wish in Dupont:


    Ooooh yeah there’s my late-night chikkin


    Don’t forget to stop here…


  • I want to know: Who looked at that gorgeous rowhouse and thought “This will look so good next to that.”? Seriously? I’ve seen public housing that looks more professional.

    Seconding IA ^

  • Sad, really. I wonder what was there before? Probably an apartment building? If these are condos then the builder was probably required to provide a minimum number of parking spaces per unit — a requirement that gets a lot of criticism over at, say, greatergreaterwashington.org. When I look at the whole lot, I wonder if their options were sort of limited.

  • I’m just as offended by the guy wearing jorts in the google street view.

  • if you are buying a large house in dupont or woodley park, you are going to have a car to your name. i know not having a car is a badge of honor around DC, but how many rich people don’t own a car?

  • They had mailboxes on brick pillars closer to the curb a number of years ago.
    I was walking by with a friend and mentioned to my companion that they were bun warmers (bakery not butt) and that the man of the house would remove his breakfast all hot and yummy from them each morning before heading off to work. She believed me.
    I still chuckle at that memory.
    They are fugly buildings.

  • Ugh, it really looks like factory housing. And in such a great nabe, too.

  • i feel sad when i see some suburban-style townhouses with garages(!) plopped down in an otherwise beautiful urban area…. sigh

  • these are not even townhouses. they are divided into one-bedroom apts. Built in the 80’s.

  • Projects like these are the reason historic districts get created. There is no “design review” in DC per se. So unless a property is in a historic district, a property owner can develop whatever—no matter how ghastly—-so long as it complies with basic zoning requirements in terms of height, setback requirements, etc.

  • This is by far the worst yet. If there is room in the back for a courtyard, why not have autos drive down a center lane and enter garages from the rear, instead of turning the property’s back to the street as they did? I can’t imagine why anyone would choose to live in the city and yet turn their back on street life. Street life is what sets the city apart from the suburbs.

    And the random window placement is really disturbing.

  • I used to work near here and walked past these houses a lot. They gave the block a really weird vibe. There’s a nursing home next to them which is also kinda random for a residential block, but at least there was life there. The residents often sat outside even in marginal weather. By contrast the area in front of the houses lack vegetation and feel utterly lifeless. These were built when DC was in decline, and it shows.

  • Ok, I usually comment with my real name on various DC blogs, but since I have a friend living in the pictured residences, and visit regularly, I’m going anon this time. The skinny:

    Entry to these residences is, indeed, largely through an inner courtyard. The courtyard is accessed through a gated entrance, which is located in the gap in photo one above.

    These are not one “divided into one-bedroom apts.” as Anonymous posted three or so comments above.

    These are, in fact, mostly very large towhnome-style residences. They are generally exceedingly boring, but very large in total space, rooms stacked highly upon one another, central staircase, but tiny tiny kitchens.

    Bottom line: fugly suburbia plopped into an otherwise lovely high-end historic urban locale. This row of ugly backends and garages really ruin the block.

  • @not telling, what does “Street life is what sets the city apart from the suburbs,” mean exactly?

    I chose my neighborhood (the Hill), and where I live in it based on the fact that it was both urban AND residential. No one loiters on my corner. There are no commercial businesses around. It is QUIET at night. Not many people from outside the neighborhood pass by on foot unless they’re visiting someone because there are no bars/restaurants/etc for blocks from here. I have a patio, and I sit out there often, but to be honest, it can be frustrating if I’m trying to read out there to have every person who walks by stop by and chat (I love it on some days, on others, I wish people would see that I’m reading and leave me alone) and I’m hoping to put in a higher fence this spring/summer to create just a bit more privacy.

    I don’t like the looks of these places, and I’m not defending them – I just don’t understand the statement that I’ve read here before that somehow implies that urban living = less privacy and forced interaction. There are plenty of reasons to favor the city over the suburbs (personally, I can do rural and urban – but nothing in between) but I don’t understand the sentiment not telling shares above. (If I’m misunderstanding what you’re implying, I apologize – I truly don’t get it.)

    (And, I’m a little sick of the constant anti-car stuff – we live in DC not NYC; having a car here is not only fairly inexpensive, but also entirely feasible and convenient and most important – common, and the incessant nagging about car owners is tiresome. Maybe Robyn needs to write a post “In Defense of Cars and Their Owners.”)

  • I try to keep an open mind about architecture, but everytime I walk past these cookie cutters I get a little depressed. Does anybody know what was there before?

  • My grandmother, now pushing 90, lived on that block while she was in college, before WWII. The whole row used to be large townhouses, some of them serving as rooming houses for female students, with chaperone-type resident assistants and all. Her house, and most of the others, were demolished to make room for this mess, but she didn’t know that.

    We went to visit her old stomping grounds last summer, and boy was she amazed. Well, confused, really. She remembered her old address perfectly, but then got to these brick apartments and stopped in her tracks. She started doing that “well, I thought it was here…” and doubting herself, because she just couldn’t reconcile the beautiful block that she remembered with what she was seeing. It was kind of distressing for both of us.

  • Why did they put the back of these townhouses facing the street. That gives it a really weird visual. Definitely no curb appeal. If someone is trying to sell one of these are going to really have to work at it because anyone driving by is first going to be confused as to what is going on and how to get into them beyond the garage (i.e. guests) and as the back of the house facing is facing the curb orientation is just flat out ugly (cause the back of houses are not as visually appealing as the front). Just flat out stupid design by a greedy developer with suburban sensibilities.

  • I forgot to say that I would hate to be the people owning property directly across the street, can you imagine staring out at that from your front window. Has to lower the property or sale value somewhat.

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