A Look at the New Fannie Mae Headquarters

by UrbanTurf Staff


The new headquarters for Fannie Mae on 15th Street NW will have quite a design.

Below are renderings — recently filed with DC’s Board of Zoning Adjustment — of the new office building that will replace The Washington Post headquarters in the 1100 block of 15th Street NW (map). Carr Properties, the building owner, is working with SHoP Architects and WDG Architecture on the project.


Fannie Mae will lease 85 percent of the new building and will occupy starting in late 2017. More from the zoning filing:

Overall, the building, inclusive of the existing Columbia Center, will consist of approximately 1,252,060 square feet of gross floor area (GFA)…The proposed addition will contain approximately 838,480 square feet of GFA distributed throughout 12 floors with a retail mezzanine and a small portion of the penthouse. The addition will be constructed to a height of 130 feet as measured from the elevation at the midpoint of the building along 15th Street to the top of the parapet.

The Post is moving to One Franklin Square at 1301 K Street NW next year. More renderings of Fannie Mae’s new headquarters below:


This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/a_look_at_the_new_fannie_mae_headquarters/10177


  1. Nathaniel Martin said at 9:33 pm on Monday July 27, 2015:

    The courtyard design looks quite interesting and even exciting. So why is the curtain wall on the main building blocks so deadly dull? Surely SHoP can do better, given the many funky facades the firm has designed elsewhere. I do hope that the Albert Kahn building on the site will be preserved, but I suspect that is not the case. Too bad—it’s a slick little number, and it would have been cool to see it incorporated into an even slicker new project.

  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 11:13 am on Tuesday July 28, 2015:

    A hearty second to Nathaniel Martin’s comment, plus a minor rant:

    Why do developers hire out-of-town ‘starchitects,’ when these gods of architecture all seem to choke on DC’s restrictions?  After a career of adventurous buildings, they all seem to decide that the DC project is the one to retreat to basic boxes,  flawlessly executed, but ultimately dull. In contrast, many of our local DC firms have figured out how to maximize results. 

    At City Center, for example, “Sir” Norman Foster created the four most boring buildings (the 2 office buildings and 2 condo buildings) in his entire vast, world-spanning portfolio.  City Center’s two rental buildings, by DC’s Shalom Baranes & Associates, are no less polished in execution, but infinitely more interesting and inventive.

    The courtyard shown here for Fannie Mae, with diagonal bridges above, is indeed engaging. It bears comparison to the design that DC’s Eric Colbert & Associates is proposing for a courtyard at an Eckington site. (See June 18 Urban Turf blog:  http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/boundary_companies_jbg_propose_691-unit_project_for_eckington/10018.)  But the buildings of the Eckington project (designed, recall by a LOCAL firm) are about a zillion times more interesting than starchitect SHOP’s sleep-inducing glass boxes shown here.

    In the proposed Fannie Mae complex as shown, the architectural standout building will be the pre-existing Columbia Center building, designed by (anyone, anyone?-) DC’s Hickok Cole. One might think that its faceted façade (which creates a lot of interest, inside and out, while sacrificing very little square footage) and stunning lobby might serve as inspiration for the complex which is ostensibly an addition to it.  Yet Columbia Center’s sole purpose in the project is to push the effective height up a foot or two by shifting the measuring point northward on 15th Street. What a waste.

  1. befrank said at 11:17 am on Tuesday July 28, 2015:

    Dubai meets low-rise DC?

    At first glance this reminds me of the tech building that is (or at least used to be)  north of Chinatown and south of the Carnegie library.  It too had the connecting walk paths between the two buildings.  Not a fan of that building or this rendering.  Can’t quite see Fannie Mae in this building.  I hope a new design comes to light.

  1. thisisjamesj said at 11:52 am on Tuesday July 28, 2015:

    Even with the assorted catwalks this design is terrifically boring.

  1. Brett said at 12:28 pm on Tuesday July 28, 2015:

    I partially echo skidrowedc’s comments. If these developers want boxes, I can sketch those for half the price of these “starchitects” and I’ll even throw in a little contrast for free.

    I do, however, disagree about these walkway connectors or skyways. The 70s have called and want their architecture back.

  1. jpw said at 3:52 pm on Tuesday July 28, 2015:

    Hmm, looks just like SHoP’s proposal for Uber HQ, minus the boxes in boxes idea: http://www.dezeen.com/2015/05/29/shop-architects-studio-oa-uber-san-francisco-headquarters/
    Both are let-downs considering the firm’s past work.

  1. NewbieWaDoobie said at 4:42 pm on Tuesday July 28, 2015:

    skidrowedc: Yes, Shalom Baranes & Associates are great from where I sit.  Their plans show that as well; always well developed and thorough.  I know I’m happy to see their plans compared to other shops.  Many an architect shop should take their plans and compare them to SBA.

  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 5:54 pm on Tuesday July 28, 2015:

    Wow, JPW, you’re right!  But even there, it sure looks like Fannie Mae and DC are getting the cut-rate version—none of the crisp metal details at corners, none of the double-height spaces expressed on the outside, not even the elemental interest created by the two main volumes being different heights and proportions.

    NewbieWaDoobie—Shalom Baranes hasn’t always hit home runs.  The City Market at O, for example, is rightfully mocked as “The Black Fortress” by nearby residents due to its horrible street-level presence.  But even City Market at O is more interesting than what most of the starchitects are peddling here.  Have you seen Gehry’s dismal design for the Eisenhower Memorial?!

  1. NewbieWaDoobie said at 12:35 pm on Wednesday July 29, 2015:

    skidrowedc:  The “Black Fortress”, not so good I take it.  I just moved to the area 6 months ago so I’m still getting to know the area overall.  I haven’t seen Gehry’s design but I can imagine….I’ll check it out.

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