Program: A 12-story, 350,000-square-foot office building with a health club and retail space on the ground floor and three levels of underground parking. The structure was designed as part of a pair with a courtyard in between; the second (north) building is in the works after having been delayed because of a slow market.
Design concept and solution: Mindful of the way Washington height limits tend to lead to chunky, squat office blocks, Krueck + Sexton Architects sought to design a pair of buildings with more interesting proportions. They focused on shaping the space between the structures. Inspired by the idea of walking through a canyon—with its changes in relief and light—they designed folds in the facades facing the courtyard space. When the second building is finished, the reflective glass façades will bounce light between the two structures. The architects aligned the folds of both buildings to pinch in on the First Street side so that pedestrians at the entrance will perceive the structures to be narrower than they are. Inside the south building, the columns follow the shape of the facade, tipping to match the angle of the curtain wall, so that each floor is slightly different from the one below. To complement the smooth glass skin, the architects chose sleek finishes for the lobby: terrazzo floors with recycled glass chips, backlit patterned-glass walls, and a wall-size light box.