Friday Question of the Day – What Streets/Neighborhoods Have the Best New Architecture/Buildings? Old Architecture?

1931 12th Street, NW

I just noticed that the condos, the Wesleon, are finished at 12th and U St, NW next to the Moderno building. And it got me thinking about new architecture around town. We hear lots of complaints about new architecture/buildings that we don’t like however we don’t hear too much about new architecture that we do like. I actually like this one here and think they did a good job blending it with the Moderno next door. So are there examples of new buildings that you guys do like? If so where? And while we’re on the topic – what are your favorite examples of old buildings/row houses and other architecture that you like around town? Are there particular neighborhoods that have especially nice examples either new or old?

For old school I’m voting Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and Capitol Hill, particularly around East Capitol Street.

35 Comment

  • My favorite contemporary architecture street is 11th between V and W, probably to be overtaken by what’s going on over by 930 club.

  • Agreed. 11th and 10th between V and W are two of my favorite blocks in the city as far as residential architecture is concerned.

  • For old architecture I’m partial to my own block: 1300 Corcoran. But I do love E. Capitol for the set-back facades. It feels so neighborhood-y.

  • mt vernon sqaure

  • I second PoP’s examples & would add Kalorama (some of the most beautiful apartment bushings in the city) and the Cathedral area (beautiful homes).

  • 1st Street NW between RIA and Bryant.

  • The mansions of yore on Logan Circle are my favorite, particularly the one with the green stone. For new architecture, I like the renderings of the building next to the 9:30 Club as well. The glassy Progression Place building is also kind of cool, I think.

  • justinbc

    My favorite street for old school architecture is easily North Carolina Ave in SE / Capitol Hill. I wanted to buy on that street so badly (partly because I’m from NC, but also because it’s beautiful), but the inventory of stuff for sale there is just so minuscule we never could find a listing.

    • I’ve always wanted to live on Connecticut Ave. for exactly the same reason. Probably shouldn’t be a top consideration when house-shopping…

      • justinbc

        I dunno, I think in a city full of beautiful housing options it’s the little personal things that matter 🙂
        (plus it also helped for my preference that NC Ave happens to fall right in front of Eastern Market)

        • I’ve always wanted to live on Caroline Street (doesn’t hurt that it’s a beautiful block in a prime location). 🙂

  • Congrats on getting Bravo as an advertiser!

  • I live at 11th and W – the whole neighborhood is pretty great when it comes to boutique contemporary apartment buildings and SFHs. The building submitted by the OP is also really cool, though they’ve were working on it for 3 or 4 years. Seriously, I don’t know what took them so long to finish that building!
    I am worried that the new stuff that is slated to be built around here will be cheap crap. Examples – The Ella and The Lima. Totally boring, overpriced architectural garbage.

  • Surprised no one has mentioned Georgetown yet. I’d put a couple blocks over there up against Logan or Dupont, though can agree that the mansions around Logan Circle are tough to beat. For higher density apartments, Kalorama takes the cake with its many beaux arts apartments giving it a Parisian feel. We’re lucky to have lots of great old architecture around this town.
    As for more contemporary architecture, I think the best examples are the single family homes hidden away in Forest Hills. Among the newer multifamily brick buildings, the new Harper on 14th is not bad.

  • I may be alone here, but I have been impressed by some of the buildings in NOMA. The Archstone building has an interesting mix of materials/textures (although the inside looks kind of like a Vegas lounge). The NPR building is also cool. There’s a lot of glass in the area, it glistens.

    and I echo the sentiment that Forest Hills has some of the best contemporary architecture in the city. also, areas of Potomac Heights heading into Maryland.

    old architecture: love Loughboro (reminds me of the south) and even older, P street between 18th and 17th. I love the limestone rowhouses.

  • Old Architecture: The strings of Fleches and Cupolas in Bloomingdale are truly iconic as far as old stuff goes…
    Ledroit has a crazy mix of very cool houses…. T between 2nd and 6th.

    New Architecture: Nothing in DC is terribly exciting. Not compared to Chicago or other big cities. Just big square glass and steel boxes. I can’t think of a single exciting building.

    • Maybe the Boilermaker Shops and Lumber Shed? The latter is quite literally a glass box but I always like seeing new life being given to old structures.

      • I love both of those buildings (and the merchants within them), but how to classify them? Boilermaker is definitely old architecture, rehabbed to look as much like the old industrial building as possible. Lumber I think you could classify as new, as the only real historical part that was saved was the steel skeleton; the glass boxy feel definitely screams “new”.

    • Agree 100% about the Bloomingdale “turrets”. (And thanks for expanding my vocabulary: “flèche”. I’ve been calling them cupolas, but always felt off since I conceive cupolas as being round. Many of the “turrets” there are much more angular.)

      • I agree–I love Bloomingdale and it’s rows of turrets (or fleches, or whatever).

        • Your not wrong…the cupolas are the pyramid shaped parts and the fleches are the little metal points on the very top (which come in all styles, but once you lose yours to lightening, they are IMPOSSIBLE to find a replacement!).

          I agree that they are cool.

  • The new libraries are wonderful. Anacostia Library designed by North Carolina architect Freelon is my favorite.

  • in terms of old architecture, look no further than the 600-1100 blocks of East Capitol Street. and the 1000 block of Mass Ave NE is gorgeous as well.

  • It’s hard to pick a single street, but the tree-lined residential streets in Mount Pleasant, like between 17th-19th and from Irving up to Ingleside Terrace, are among the most beautiful and harmonious streets in DC, aesthetically. I guess that’s why it’s so expensive to live there.

  • I don’t know about the neighborhood but for new architecture my favorite residence is Travis Price’s house by Rock Creek Park. So much glass! Suspended from beams. Doesn’t look like anything else in this city that I am aware of.

  • My favorite example of newer architecture in the city is the Canadian embassy on Penn Ave. Fantastic example of neoclassical/postmodern architecture. It has those neoclassical/postmodern elements and also fit in well with the classical stuff around it, excluding some of the modern monstrosities like the Perkins building. Unfortunately they have a new neighbor, the Newseum, which is not nearly as nice and that brings it down. If you could have the Postal Building, the National Gallery (both wings), the Canadian Embassy, and the Federal Triangle Buildings all next to each other without the other bad buildings like the Newseum and the FBI building that would be fantastic.

  • I love the classic Wardman houses on the 3800 block of Kansas Av NW in CoHi. The big trees and fairly well maintained houses are beautiful. I think most the houses are nearly 100 years old.

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