Judging New Buildings


I know it’s hard to judge these building before they are completed but I like comparing them during and after construction. This one is located on Rhode Island Ave near 5th Street, NW. I think the front seems quite promising. Any initial impressions?


11 Comment

  • They look like they’ll conform to a fairly standard DC rowhouse appearance, yes? If so, do they put the lie to the notion that nobody builds “ornate” houses anymore?

    Anyway, I’ve often wondered how a traditionally styled rowhouse built with modern methods would compare to the original versions.

  • I pass these all the time. Nice cinder block end walls, but everything else is OSB/plywood. Seems like a fire-trap to me. Hopefully it will at least be an attractive fire-trap when completed!

  • I used to live near this site. Most of the construction is VERY cheap and poorly done. Walls are ultra thing (and the cinder block doesn’t help with noice between units/etc). The RI Ave area is always very noisy as well (used to live right on RI). Lots of firetrucks/other running back and forth.

    The units are caught between the very upscale areas of Logan circle and more run-down areas of Shaw. This seems to be an interesting area that hasn’t quite developed like some of the others off of RI Ave.

  • The Noise Reduction Coefficient of CMU, insulated, with a layer of drywall on the inside is over 70–sufficient enough to eliminate virtually all noise. That is a scientifically proven fact.

    There may be other causes of sound transmission, but it is not the CMU.

    I think its interesting how both plywood and CMU are whined about by posters. Concrete units (whether CMU, precast, or cast in place) and plywood are the basis of construction for virtually everything built in the last 30 years.

    I’m really curious to hear from these commentators what WOULD be an acceptable building material. Solid hardwood (cut from precious dwindling forests)? Steel plate? Marble?

  • seriously. these actually look like they’re being constructed pretty nicely – they’re investing in some pretty nice detailing on the brick. investing in something other than cinder blocks on the sidewalls would be ridiculous since they could one day abut another house.

    they’re not “firetraps” because they’ll be built with sprinklers per the code.

    the windows look a bit chintzy but compared to an overgrown lot with chain link fence or another chinese takeout I can’t complain.

  • Yes, “Not Telling,” I would prefer that the builders use Honduran mahogany to frame all buildings, and it should be oiled with fresh baby fetuses to keep the wood fresh… If I were to live in an apartment building, new or old, I would want one with solid masonry interior walls dividing the units. This acts as a fire-stop and as noise reducer. Plywood isn’t always evil; the ancient Egyptians were the ones who came up with the concept, so it’s been around for a very long time. I just worry about termites, and rot if water gets to it.

  • i’d bet there isn’t a residential building in dc with “solid masonry interior walls.”

  • I’m praying that it will chase the Lowest Price gas station out of Dodge. A cash only establishment that sells fuel, cigs, etc. is just plain shady.

  • Eric, I would bet you one hundred hypothetical pesos that a lot of the grand old buildings in the District have solid masonry interior walls. Now, I’m not saying that every single wall is brick or block, but most of the old buildings were “over-built” so that noise wouldn’t travel to adjacent apartments. I’m not talking about the little rinky-dink buildings but the big fancy ones… names are escaping me now… the “Wyoming” for example…

    And if anyone likes that neighborhood, directly across the street are two of the tiniest lots I’ve ever seen for sale, right on Rhode Island Avenue.

  • i’ve been following the construction for a while now, as it’s the biggest thing going up in my neck of the woods currently. see older pictures here.

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