“Thoughts on the color scheme of the news condos going up in Blagden Alley off 9th NW”


Thanks to a reader for sending – a bit hard to tell in the gray light but a tentative thumbs up or down? I’ll try to head back for updated photos when the sun returns one day!


31 Comment

  • Forget the color scheme – I concerned about the building materials. I walked by this the other day on my way to my favorite coffeeshop in the alley behind this, and i saw them applying the colored “bricks” to the facade. The outside is covered with a thin-looking metal sheet with horizontal grooves. The “bricks” a e a relatively thin brick face, with two protrusions of brick on the back. The bricks were being tapped into the grooves with a hammer. Is this a how brick face buildings are constructed now? I was concerned if the “bricks” would eventually pop out as easily as they popped in. Not to mention how thick the actual building wall was was behind the sheet metal. I realize new buildings aren’t built the way old brick ones were, but I wonder about the construction methods I see being used on many these days. They don’t seem very substantial.

    • What you described is a tile rainscreen system. Totally cutting edge for most of the US and just how things are done in Europe.

      • Brick-face rain screen construction, rather than a traditional masonry wall w/+/- 3 courses is becoming the norm (and, as the reader above stated!) is already the standard across Europe because of its’ strength, versatility and cost effectiveness. Contrary to the original comment, these brick faces will likely be mortared in place so that you don’t have to worry about the errant colored brick popping out while you wander out the alley from La Columbe.

        I love SRA.. The integration oft the pattern, color, and texture on the alley is a welcome addition to an otherwise bland alley. Kudos to the designers on the integration of a beautiful, bright rain screen!

      • “Just how things are done is Europe” is not always a consolation – i.e. Hitler. And “becoming the norm” isn’t all that reassuring either, since for someone buying a home, you want a 100 year norm before your walls collapse. Not saying this is a bad method of construction – I have no idea, but these are definitely not good arguments.

        • “Hitler” isn’t much of an argument either.

        • Hahahaha, i.e. Hitler….that’s a joke, right victoria?

        • Actually pretty sure saying something is the standard of construction in Europe is super valid and gives you absolutely no reason to bring up .. Hitler??

        • Hitler?! seriously? I made no argument, what I did is make a statement. I’m going to assume that in your excitement to troll us you ignored that I used the term “cutting edge.” While having various connotations, this term typically denotes a culmination of the highest lever of technology, development, and understanding of the field.
          If your Hitler reference implies that you believe Hitler, being a cutting edge, rose out of a hundred year iterative process of development all the while being vetted, tweaked, and improved until he was the best maniacal dictator that science, politics, and society could build, then yes that is exactly what I mean. If that’s not what you meant by referencing Hitler, you are a troll.

  • I like the orange tube.
    Seriously though, the patchwork scheme is not my cup of tea, but being along the alley side could add some activity and playfulness. The alley is also a totally appropriate place to try something new or take a risk; plus it’s typically the place where contractors use the cheapest materials they can so doing something extra is a great touch. I’m interested to see the front, I’m guessing something more subdued with blue tile being the accent. Nanowall and Pella isn’t too bad either.
    Two thumbs up for effort, two wiggle thumbs for color scheme.

  • Looks like a Susan Reitag building. All of her stuff looks like the strange spawn of a carpenter who did it with a Rubix Cube. She’s not capable of making anything look normal, and her aesthetic is being inflicted all over Shaw.

  • Thumbs down.

  • I really like it!

  • I believe that they are actually apartments that are owned by UHOP Properties aka United House of Prayer for all People. The majority of Reatig properties around Shaw are owned by UHOP.

  • Nice. Glad it’s not boring flat red brick.

    Kudos for just a little creativity. Scale and color range are nice. Its nice that someone cared enough not to use the cheapest, dullest, material possible.

  • Just saw it today with my mom. I loved it. She did not. It looks great in person. To me. Not to her.

  • way cool.

  • Way better than “Flipper Grey” and the boring beige brick you see all over DC.

  • Beautiful!

  • Gotta love how you can get so many Americans to think cheap patinas and veneers for which they pay through the nose are better because they are the norm in Europe. Just like all those high-end kitchens and faux hardwood Pergo equivalent floors in Europe: the most expensive veneered particle board money can buy!

    • I know you’re just being funny, but in this case it’s not a cheap veneer or pastiche (I’m guessing that’s what you meant by patina?). Your comparison could not be further from the truth. This construction is actually a lot more expensive. The tolerances in both manufacturing and construction are higher as well as requiring novel skills.
      What’s actually kind of funny about your statement is that you have it exactly right, but opposite. Typical European construction is to build high quality shells and building systems that will last for a long time and perform to a better than standard level but contain finishes that are cheaper and of slightly lower quality. The standard American practice is to construct shells with low quality materials with just to standard systems that perform poorly with extremely high quality finishes. I think the term is “lipstick on a pig.”

  • It’s a Suzane Reatig design. Which, per usual, means I hate it. I really, really wish UHOP would stop inflicting her trash on our neighborhood. I love Shaw, and I so substantially detest her buildings. It’s awful.

    • I imagine you’d prefer that SimCity garbage on the corner, The Colonel, which was rendered blah and without any architectural identity by dinosaurs like yourself, the crazies that show up at HPRB meetings with your demands that we all live a theme park, rather than a growing, thriving city.

  • I like it. My only concern is that it will look really dated in a few years. For now though, looks good!

  • I like the colors OK. It seems that rain screen is supposed to let moisture out of the walls, which is good. I wonder, though, if it is better than old style construction with brick – I know it is cheaper. When I see these buildings going up, I do wonder whether we are building cheap for planned obsolescence. I have a hard time seeing them around in 120+ years and still going strong like our older, solid building construction.

    Maybe that’s OK, maybe they will all be torn down for even taller buildings long before then, as has happened over and over again in the evolution of our cities, with perfectly good buildings being torn down to make way for those with greater capacity. But I like seeing old buildings built to last.

  • I think it looks great, and will liven the place during the winter months. I don’t know what the internal construction is, but I don’t see why people are saying it’s designed for obsolescence. Building materials change, and even though brick and mortar seem more permanent, they have real trade-offs.

    I wonder what people said when plaster and horsehair ceilings gave way to gypsum boards. If you’re in an old row house in DC you may have dealt with both…

  • I inquired about these. They will be apartments not condos.

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