14th and Wallach Gets Green Light; New Renderings Revealed

by Shilpi Paul

New rendering, courtesy of PGN Architects.

On Thursday, Madison Investments and PGN Architects got the go-ahead from the Historic Preservation Review Board on their plans for a 60-unit residential project at the northeast corner of 14th Street and Wallach Place NW.

While the HPRB voted to support the project, they did ask the team to return to the Board at some point in the future to discuss a few design details.

The team has been in communication with the surrounding community over the past few months, and the design they presented to the Board had been revised since the last time we reported on the project. Generally, the new look is slightly less contemporary, with more masonry on the facade. The west and south walls are mainly made of stone and glass, while the rear eastern wall includes brick and metal.


The Historic Preservation staff asked the team to take the redesign further, and to use the same materials on the west, south and east walls. Other recommendations, which can be found here, include further refining the infill portion between the two historic buildings on Wallach Place, and refining the storefront. Several members of the Board also asked the architects to “shave off” portions of the facade, including a cantilevered portion on 14th Street NW.

As we’ve reported in the past, the building is also asking the Board of Zoning Adjustment for a few exceptions regarding zoning, most notably the elimination of a parking requirement.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/14th_and_wallach_gets_green_light_new_renderings_revealed/7738


  1. Johnny said at 9:10 am on Friday October 25, 2013:

    I like the design as it is. Too bad the HPRB has to offer their usual input. Which is to make it more boring. “use all the same material and no cantilevering. Just a big box with windows would be GREAT!” 
    Dc would look so much cooler if it weren’t for them.  Every time its the same. “Make it shorter. Make it blander. Make it look faux historicy whenever possible so that it ‘blends in’”
    Builders in DC have learned to churn out box after box because what’s the point of trying to make something cool when they know they will just be sent back to the drawing board.

  1. Gumpper said at 9:36 am on Friday October 25, 2013:

    How true.  “Less contemporary, with more masonry on the facade” is the story of HPRB meddling with every building that has gone up on 14th Street in recent years.  The neighborhood is going to become very boring if this trend isn’t abated.  Just look at Clarendon—big masonry building after big masonry building.  And, unfortunately, the NIMBYs feed this because they know that HPRB will always make buildings smaller (even if the feel of the building is increased by the use of masonry rather than glass).

  1. Architect Guru said at 10:42 am on Friday October 25, 2013:

    Love this design.  Agreed HPRB will dumb this down to another boring DC building.

  1. Burd said at 11:04 am on Friday October 25, 2013:

    @ Johnny


  1. Colin said at 11:16 am on Friday October 25, 2013:

    There is nothing wrong with this building—go ahead and build it! And why is the Historic Preservation Review Board even involved? Except for the derelict building being renovated there is nothing historic about this building.

  1. h st ll said at 11:23 am on Friday October 25, 2013:

    Build it build it build it!

  1. AP said at 1:58 pm on Friday October 25, 2013:

    @Colin - Because it’s in a historic district.

  1. Tom Buckley said at 2:47 pm on Friday October 25, 2013:

    HPRB is probably involved because there are tiny row-houses that sit about 10 or 20 feet from this monstrosity which have signatures in their masonry from pre Civil War builders. This building will be built with the lowest-quality materials possible to save on cost and will not last 1/4 of the time that those town-houses did. Even if the review process is poorly done, its important to recognize the history on this block, and that will only be overshadowed by this thing.

  1. Tim said at 10:00 am on Saturday October 26, 2013:

    Cities change, cities evolve.  The New can complement the Old.  Let’s get this thing built !!

  1. Elliott Baye said at 12:41 pm on Saturday October 26, 2013:

    Who ever wrote the recomendations needs to go t a remmedel writing class. Whow.

  1. zcf said at 2:23 pm on Saturday October 26, 2013:

    In Annapolis, we called the historic society the hysteric society. 

    There are lots of buildings worth saving for historical value.  But most buildings are not.  My neighborhood in Mt Pleasant is case in point.  A lot of the old buildings are super run down and don’t really have any architectural merit.  (i.e. Looks like a dump).  My neighbor’s house has a crumbling brick exterior.  It’s one of those unpainted brick exteriors.  I’m sure it was goergeous in its heyday, but the building is literally CRUMBLING.  I don’t even think you can just repoint it.  Because if you touch a brick it’s so brittle, it just falls apart.  Each brick needs to be replaced, and there are termites. 

    I wonder if the hysteric society would let them just knock it down and re-build, even using the same plans (if possible).  My guess is a big fat no.

  1. mary said at 4:27 pm on Monday October 28, 2013:

    I’m glad HPRB is involved. If not, all we’d have is a bunch of trendy glass bldgs. that will not be so trendy in 10-15years. There’s room for a good mix and new development should accent the historic character of the area.  Personally, I love contemporary styling and architecture but it has it’s place. Many communities are trying to replicate the kind of historic character that our neighborhood is blessed with.

  1. suzanne said at 11:19 pm on Monday October 28, 2013:

    It looks okay to me. Hopefully, the parking lot at 14th and Clifton St NW will be developed (one day) to look just as nice with a sensible mix of retail options.  The 14th St Corridor badly needs a more affordable home goods store that offers a variety of home furnishing options, a hardware, beauty salons, and spas.

  1. Sam said at 2:15 pm on Tuesday October 29, 2013:

    “Who ever wrote the recomendations needs to go t a remmedel writing class. Whow. “


    Surely your reply was post-ironic hipster comedy, no?

  1. John said at 2:56 pm on Tuesday October 29, 2013:

    The funny thing is that architects would have so much more freedom in Clarendon or anywhere along the orange line because there isn’t an HPRB. The planning commission and the county have been waiting for years for a developer to propose something innovative and contemporary. Yet bland, very traditional, and lots of masonry is still the norm in Arlington.

Comments are closed.

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