Worst Pop Up of All Time


Given all the pop ups I’ve been showing I’ve been asked what’s the worst one I’ve ever seen. Without hesitation I can say it is the one above (which I walked by this past weekend and have posted previously) located on the unit block of P Street, NE (just off North Capitol).


I was saddened to see a new one that is also not very pleasing to the eye on the very same block…


41 Comment

  • Wow. It doesn’t get much more hideous than that. What the (bleeeep) were they thinking?

  • Wow…I would be embarrased to live in that top house.

  • It’s sort of so bad as to be funny, which I guess makes it slightly less bad, no?

  • Kalorini

    In Boston, there are trailer pop-ups on the tops of brownstones for an extra level of space–this trashy pop-up reminds me of those 😛

  • i think this is an ironic pop up. they were trying to be funny.

  • It looks like a Dr. Seuss house

  • I am sort of speechless.

    I wonder if the homeowner did those and planned to live in them or if a flipper did them and some body bought it. Either way there is no taste and bad money sense going on.

    The neighbors – especially of the first which seems much more residential – must be appalled. If I was one I would open laugh at the owners – they deserve that.

  • The second isn’t as bad as it seems. When they demo’d the firebombed shells next to big yellow, they knocked part of the brick work off, not that it made much of a difference. At this point, I’d rather something moving in there. It’s bad when Full Yum is the only populated thing on that corner (Thanks Douglas!)

  • If this was prperly permitted then I guess anything is possible in DC.

  • Vonstallin

    Worst is an understatment, lol call it the shit tower…

  • It doesn’t even look safe, like it would blow over in a big storm, or the weight of the added floors would cause the whole thing to collapse.

  • Wow – this made my day! I now am assured that nothing I ever produce for the rest of my life can be as bad as this. Thanks PoP!

  • looks like someone tried to shove two double wides down the chimney and gave up.

  • The reason that could happened there is that row house seems to be zoned C3C, which allows for 90 foot tall structures and 100% lot occupancy.


    Most of DC’s row houses are not zoned this way.

  • That is funny.

    I think the bottom part is actually really nice looking. I guess that just sort of amplifies the tragedy of this.

  • Is there an elevator?

  • There is no way that will last…the weight is going to eventually sink the building. They just tore down a few neighboring rowhouses late last year. violations abound on that one…

  • Soon to become the Leaning Tower of Pop-Up.

  • holy mackerel. Did they get a building permit for that thing?

  • where’s the big wind-up crank? and I bet what music it plays….

  • you’d be surprised what goes on in that part of the city. it was once the crack nexus of dc. i’m sure that most folks would like to see ANY kind of development, as opposed to what there used ot be. i’m not saying it’s cool, i’m just saying that i can see why people ‘allowed’ it to happen. i remember those houses being vacant holes for drug dealers to hide their stash and conduct drug deals. so… although hideous, they’re better than before. yes, they’ll collapse or be torn down, but it’s a step in the right direction. trust me. they won’t last, but at least they don’t contribute to crime.

    god i’m cynical. that’s what happens when you’ve lived here since the early 90’s……….

  • I don’t think the 2nd one is so bad – the bottom structure is also blank so it fits. And the building isn’t attached to a row of rowhouses so it doesn’t have that disruption. Just don’t see why the top floor only has one window.

    But yeah, the yellow one is so bad it’s funny (but I might not find it funny if I lived on that block).

  • You’re all missing the big picture: Several government contractors are consolidating operations in Northern VA, which is causing scarcity in housing throughout the DC Metro area. The result is that all homes in the Metro area will soon be worth millions. These homes in the center of the city may well be worth $1 million *per floor*, hence the incentive to add the pop ups.


  • The problem here is that this area is probably zoned for higher density than simple rowhouses. In fact, the higher density in this area is probably a good thing — the problem is that it is clearly phasing in piecemeal. If people keep putting in popus one by one, they’re going to look chaotic and ugly. The city should really put this block into condemnation/urban renewal and put up a more coherent development here. (or a developer should try and buy the block)

  • No, the city should NOT condemn the block and put it up for renewal! Eminent domain is not the answer here. More coherent zoning laws and enforcement of existing ones AND comman sense should rule the day.

  • Unless I’m mistaken, DC law says (a) the addition can’t be more than the height of the original building (b) the building can’t be taller than the street is wide.

    Looks like the yellow one stopped a few inches shy of
    (a), but I’m not so sure about (b).

    Permit laws are enforced by DCRA … and for some more than others (like everything else in DC).

    Perhaps the buildings are meant for tenants who are either blind or agoraphobic. Otherwise, I don’t see how – every time he came/went – anyone could stomach seeing the double-decker trenchtown special which was shat upon the yellow house.

    This is EXACTLY what historic designation is meant to prevent.

  • Wow, the DC zoning regulations are fascinating.

    My favorite is C-2-A:

    “Rear yard requirements are twenty (15) feet”

  • Call a doctor if your home stays that way for four hours.

  • Do we know when this went up? I tried searching for POP’s previous post about this place, but couldn’t locate it.

    Google street view shows this as 26 P St NE. I searched through the approved DCRA permits (http://dcra.dc.gov/dcra/cwp/view,A,1343,Q,643107.asp) from Aug 2008 through Dec 2009, and there doesn’t appear to be anything issued for 26 P St NE.

    For the record, I ‘approve’ of the higher density housing, but I’d certainly want it to be done to code.

  • Atrocities like this are the reason why, sooner or later, the zoning ordinances will be rewritten to either severely restrict or prohibit altogether the addition of pop-ups in D.C.

  • Without a doubt THE ugliest house ever shown on POP. My sympathies to the neighbors.

  • I cringe every time I walk past it. People with vertigo beware. I call these houses DC doublewides.

  • 26 P ST NE B110169

    Looks like this construction occurred in 2007/08. This is currently not a historic district so they can build whatever they want according to zoning as a “matter of right”

    From my digging it looks like a 4 unit building — maybe condos that have not completed the process yet. It belongs to 1 owner currently and is still listed as a SFR.

    Also, it looks like the current owner got hit with vacant property taxes for the 2nd half of 2009 as they have a $49,000 balance currently due.

    Construction/Alteration and Repair 2007/08/22 Permit Issued 2007/08/22 ADDITION (NEW MECHANICAL, ELECTRICAL, AND PLUMBING) (4 UNITS)
    26 P ST NE E151830 Supplemental/Electrical 2007/09/19 Permit Issued
    26 P ST NE E163359 Supplemental/Electrical 2008/03/21 Permit Issued
    26 P ST NE M162984 Supplemental/Mechanical 2008/03/14 Permit Issued
    26 P ST NE P155293 Supplemental/Plumbing and Gas 2007/11/01 Permit Issued
    26 P ST NE P161754 Supplemental/Plumbing and Gas 2008/02/25 Permit Issued
    26 P ST NE P162266 Supplemental/Plumbing and Gas 2008/03/04 Permit Issued

  • dck,
    if a structure is sound, not in an historic district, there is a matter of right height that may be added. depends on the zoning overlay. where i live, if i had a one story house, i could legally put 3 floors on top of it. and they can be ugly as hell.

    the height restriction regarding street width has to do with facade to facade distance plus some number.
    though this is a bit fuzzy.
    the not-yet-built washington gateway project( corner of ny and florida) got approval to base their height from ny ave side. this will put it far higher than the marriot across florida.

  • This block is in jeopardy of being consolidated and razed for a new office building. You can thankl DCRA for falling down on the job.

  • the chinese carry-out is the best looking thing on this block.

    btw, have you seen this:

    thats a good direction for revamping out city.

  • Perhaps it could be improved if someone painted the Boxer Woman mural over the entire pop up? Or any mural? Perhaps a mural of the sky so you don’t see it? That would be funny and kinda cool. Take your weekness and make it your strength.

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