Judging Buildings – Porter Street Residences

Looks like the Porter Street Residences are 99% completed (from the outside at least). It is located on located on Porter St, NW east of Connecticut toward Rock Creek Park and Mt. Pleasant. We last checked in on them back in July. I know some folks will disagree with me, but overall I think they came out looking pretty good.

31 Comment

  • third-tier college dorms with the loading zone in the front yard.
    Is there parking?

  • I think they’re not bad, but not great either. It looks like a large group residence (such as a dormitory), which as I understand it is what they are.

  • They look a heck of a lot better than what was there before. I drove by the other day and noticed that the far end – all the way to the left – is a gym. I think they are very nice.

  • I hate them. I like the post-war building that was there before, the twin of which still stands next door. They would have done better to fix up the old one and preserve the continuity.

  • I like them. I don’t like the painted block wall out front though. They could have done something nicer with concrete and glass for not much more money.

    On a related note..If you are headed down the hill watch out. I have seen the speed camera cars there quite a bit lately.

  • I heard second hand that these are residences for Chinese embassy staff and that the workers doing the construction were housed out at that old motel on New York Avenue, which they completely took over and surrounded with cyclone fencing. They didn’t want to use US workers who might fill the place with bugs ala the US embassy in Moscow, which had to be abandoned right after it was built.

    • Not embassy staff, laborers. A lot of building construction in the area, the large projects, are being done by Chinese firms and they use only their own labor.

      • Completely wrong. China Construction Corp only does Chinese State Construction (Embassy’s, etc) around the world. Nothing else.

        Secondly, this building is an apartment building for the administrative and support staff for the new Chinese Embassy. Thats it. This place isn’t an apartment and no one other than Chinese citizens working for the embassy will be living there.

        Thirdly, for those of you who decry China using its own resources and staff to build their embassy’s and diplomatic housing…where do you think they got the idea? The US State Department has been doing the same for decades. They have an entire department called OBO (Overseas Buildings Operations) dedicated to building overseas properties.

        We even push it further by demanding all the materials used in its construction (all expect for Concrete) to be shipped from the states via cargo ship to wherever in the world it is. Everything…wiring, windows, paint, furniture, carpeting, heating and cooling, even the stone and marble facades…everything that goes into a building save for the concrete. And we wonder why a glorified office building that would cost 9 million dollars to build in the DC suburbs, costs 140 million dollars in Peru.

        Lastly, it is a vast improvement,both visually and fiscally (via increased land and property tax value) than the run down hovel that was there before and will help Cleveland Park businesses.

        • Joker, the US does that because building codes in 98% of every other country in the entire world outside of a few places in Western Europe is inferior to the United States, including China. You leave out that one critical fact.

          I don’t recall anyone complaining about the prices of US embassies outside of Iraq.

          • Teo things,

            Whenever you build in the US, you have to build to US standards. And it isn’t because of building code, its because of security. The US state dept would no more hire a run of the mill construction company that wasn’t cleared, that they didn’t know anything about in Beijing to build a classified facility, than China would do here.

            Except for Africa, a couple South Asian places and a couple places in the middle east, the rest of the world that the US would build an embassy in has as strict, if not stricter building codes in place than the US. Go anywhere in Europe, even eastern European countries and tell them they have inferior building codes. The would laugh in your face.

            And I don’t know why people think this state of the art, highly secure and expensive building was built for some barely paid laborers imported from China. It has been in the paper multiple times over the years. China built a huge new Embassy in Van Ness and this was to house the support staff.

            Point is, it is far better than what was there.

        • You’re incorrect. It’s for laborers working on large scale building construction projects in the public and private sector.

        • Actually, if I remember correctly from ARCH II, this policy was put in to place after the DISASTROUS US embassy construction in the USSR during the cold war. bugs bugs bugs bugs. The building was unusable. Hence imported US workers and imported US materials for US embassies abroad.

        • “And I don’t know why people think this state of the art, highly secure and expensive building was built for some barely paid laborers imported from China.”

          I know this because I’ve been processing their documents over the past six months.

  • Its not aweful but would be helped by some large trees planted alnog the front hill.

  • Yes, this was built by a Chinese construction company, likely to house consulate employees or construction workers to work the many projects the Chinese will be undertaking in the city.

    The location used to be the home to a bunch of even uglier apartment buildings that no one wanted to live in. They were built not too long ago and then torn down a couple years ago to make way for the Chinese project.

    Weird neighborhood. Bunch of high rise apartments and then the only turn off street on the Porter-Klingle connection is to some of the most expensive houses in the city. Serious compounds.

  • The location used to be the home to a bunch of even uglier apartment buildings that no one wanted to live in. They were built not too long ago and then torn down a couple years ago to make way for the Chinese project.

    They were built sometime in the 1940s, so were there for a while. As I recall, until a fence went up around them (not sure how the residents were moved out), both of the demolished buildings looked to have quite a few people living in them.

  • I thought it was a Senior Center. Albeit a ‘jazzy’ Senior Center. Think Leisure World: for the jazzy senior. No pools, classes or blunted edges preventing the jazzy senior from hurting themselves…

  • They’re Chinese-grade construction, so they will probably be looking terrible and falling down in a few years. Chalk it up to a culture who doesn’t quite get it when it comes to 21st-century engineering concepts.

  • It’s ridicurous…

  • These are butt ugly. The labor force was not all Chinese. Although the general contractor was China Construction, they used many of the same subcontractors to perform the work that all the other local general contractors use. This property is not an embassy and therefore is subject to DCRA inspections and permits so therefore they would have to use local contractors for anything that requires a license to pull a permit (electrician, plumber, elevator, fire protection, etc.)

  • I suppose by today’s standards they are soso but in 20 years (assuming they are still around) someone driving by is going to say the same things we say when driving by shitty 60’s and 70’s era buildings. These will not age well.

  • 80’s institutional looking

  • Agree that some trees to block the view from the sidewalk might help.

  • North Korean diplomats actually lived in the horrible buildings that used to be on that site. China houses the North Korean Interest Section since they aren’t allowed an embassy (kind of like the Swiss host the Cubans). I wonder if they will live in the new building?

  • About equal to the ugly building the US builds in other countries.
    This represents a whole new style of warfare – BMU – Buldings of Mass Ugliness.

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