Judging New Homes – 3600 block of Rock Creek Church Rd, NW

Well, it’s def unique for DC. What do you think so far? We first took a look at the construction on the 3600 block of Rock Creek Church Rd, NW (just off New Hampshire ave) in early Sept. ’11. I’m having a tough time getting past the tiny windows. At this point – thumbs up or down?

62 Comment

  • EPIC FAIL! Doesn’t fit in with the neighboring residences, even though they are also ugly. But it looks like a prison. God awful! Especially that ramp in the front.

  • that’s awful. have some respect for your neighbors.

  • It looks like a boutique prison.

  • It reminds me of those old WWII concrete towers along the ocean (between Ocean City and Rehoboth, as I recall), where people would keep a look-out for any invading Germans.

    AND this mini-prison manages to make the ugly formstone-covered house next door attractive. Amazing!

  • this is the worst.

  • leftcoastsouthpaw

    You say that now, but wait until the zombie apocalypse. He’ll have to last laugh then.

  • I thought it was okay until I had a closer-up view of the concrete, which just looks plain cheap.

  • It’s Star Trek-colony-planet-set architecture. Stick horns on it and it’s Klingon.

  • LOVE IT!

    For real, the front is only half done. Those post sticking out will clearly be a balcony and the whole place will get painted.

    I find it very refreshing in the uniform world of DC row houses.

    • no the place is finished, how would that possibly become a balcony with no DOORS to lead out to it? It won’t get painted, this is the final product. Still love it? And DC’s Victorian row homes are beautiful, and a lot more aesthetically pleasing than this.

      • the picture does not make it clear that there are no doors. there is one wall you can’t see, and that glass in the knock out might be a door.

        • Even if that is to be a balcony, it only makes it WORSE. Who wants a balcony in the front? And if that is a door, it is an awfully WIDE door with with three panes…looks more like a window to from my perspective. A balcony that narrow and in that location seems awkward. I have to agree with an earlier comment that this is blatant disrespect to the neighbors. If that is a balcony in progress, that is a bit daunting to look at from a neighbors perspective and whats up with the missing tiny window on the bottom?

    • Emmaleigh504

      I don’t think a paint job and a balcony are going to fix this one. A balcony will make it more fun to live in, but not any prettier.

  • I live near here and bike by every day. Have not been able to figure out their angle on this one at all. No light through the eastern side of the house? I will be curious to see the interior & back when finished but this seems like an attempt to be modern gone completely wrong. Maybe there is a roof-size skylight making up for the tiny windows.

  • Live a little people! Even if it’s not your cup of tea at least it adds some character to a pretty bland block.

    • +1,000,000. I can’t believe people think this is uglier than the houses next to it. The devil you know, I guess…

  • people only say they like diversity. ; )

    • Seriously, Its different, quirky. Its not like they tore down a historic house to build it. I say build more weird houses. In 50 years people will thank you.

  • Horrific, unmitigated disaster.

    General question: if the building is in a non-historic district, can the city still reject your building permit on purely aesthetic grounds?

  • This place appeals to my inner-sniper

  • It kind of looks like there should be a moat.

  • the house to the right isn’t much to look at either. this one is just keeping with the ugly theme to the block.

  • Jeez, I think some of you folks lack imagination. Even though we don’t have much to go on yet, it seems pretty cool to me. Plus, it might be fantastic inside. This town could use more adventurous architecture.

    • no way the interior could be that fantastic with very little natural light coming in from the clear story windows. It’s not like they are getting any light or views on either side of them. Even if they have some nice skylights, I’m not sure I would appreciate rooms that have no view outwards.

    • i can imagine something nicer.

  • I like it.

  • Already been said, but my immediate reaction was “looksl like a prison.”

  • Emmaleigh504

    Looks like modern gone wrong.

  • With the small windows and the beams sticking out of it, I think this is an attempt at a D.C. rowhouse version of an adobe structure common to Southwest architecture. (http://www.nahbmonday.com/consumer/editor_images/adobe3-1.JPG)

  • Has no one noticed the ramp? Clearly an old folks’ prison! Gotta put those octogenarian gangstas someplace!

  • I think they’re going for some kind of southwestern Pueblo Revival style. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pueblo_Revival_Style_architecture. Which doesn’t really fit with a row house on the East Coast — those narrow, high windows are nice for privacy and shade in the middle of Arizona; not so much for a narrow row house in DC.

  • someone PLEASE expose who the designer or architect is; the public deserves to know

  • the cantilevered joists are only for sun shading device, NOT a balcony; and the ramp is only for construction; it’s still bad but some people’s assumptions are so silly

  • I want to call this brutalist revival. Hideous.

  • The logic behind historic district status becomes clearer and clearer with each crazy bit of construction like this. I used to abhor the concept,now I am growing fond of them.

  • And someday preservationists will attempt to landmark this house as some sort of modern brutalist style…

  • Love it. Really stands out against those awful cookie-cutter post WWII houses on either side.

  • As someone who shares the alley behind the house, first the good: this house replaced an abandoned and condemned structure (a massive blight on the ‘hood). Second, this house is deceivingly massive and towers way above neighboring houses and has an expansive southern facing wall of glass that opens to a large balcony. From the looks of it, this house will need little artificial heating during the winter so it’s probably the most energy efficient new home in Columbia Heights. Also that balcony would be one of the greatest party spaces in town…

    As for the bad, it really doesn’t fit in at all with the neighborhood from a design perspective and seems to blatantly reinforce the perception that all new-comers to this area are isolated from the community in which they live. There had to be a way to get all the eco-friendly benefits with a more neighborhood-friendly design…

  • The first thing I thought was that it looked just like the Rutgers house I saw in the Solar Decathlon design competition. Following up on what Lexie noted, the concrete reduces heating costs by absorbing heat during the day and releasing it at night, and the south-facing glass windows disperse sunlight throughout the house. Though I don’t love the asthetics, it’s nice to see energy-efficient housing being built.

  • ya’ll are morons: an energy efficient house doesn’t have to look like a first year architecture student designed it

  • Not.
    Given the randomness of the adjacent houses, I don’t have a clear picture of what kind of design would “fit” here. But I do clearly know that this particular design does not “fit” here.

  • who designed this?

  • I know the person who designed it, so I’ve seen the design for the interiors. The exterior photo doesn’t do justice: there’s a lot of light coming in from overhead, and without the usual focus on a living room in front, she could open the spaces in other ways. So she’s getting a beautiful interior space at the cost of not having the usual rows of windows in front.

    Did you guys read Ms DePillis’s article on Eric Colbert, whom she describes as an architect who does basically boring buildings that go out of their way to not be innovative? [ http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/articles/41682/architect-eric-colberts-rapport/ ] “Colbert, whose 50-odd projects include a few excellent buildings and far more that are just good enough, is the architect we deserve.”

    This thread is a shining example of why DC can’t have nice things. Do we really have to hate the unexpected? How are we going to get past the height limit when so many people can’t stand the thought of a house one story taller than its neighbors? [I live in a townhouse across from an eight-story condo. It did not kill me.]

    I’m delighted that this architect has put such effort into building something unique. May there be many more like her.

    • I like cool new architecture. this is just plain ugly. i dont care what the interior looks like – i will never see it. it looks like a prison plain and simple.

  • With any luck, it’ll collapse to the ground (when no one is inside, natch) and we’ll be able to use the rubble to fill in some potholes down the street.

  • I think it’s pretty cool, even if it’s not great architecture—and given the horrible banal ticky-tacky houses on either side, it seems like sorely needed corrective measure, adding some variety to a bland overly conservative neighborhood.

    I’ll bet it’s miserable on the inside, given the lack of windows, but that’s not really relevant to this conversation… :]

  • Two thumbs down from Mr. T!

  • Just AWFUL…why would you not have more windows to allow natural light…will u always have to have your lights on like in a basement?

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