22-Unit Condo Planned for Shaw Gets Historic Approval

by Lark Turner

A night rendering of the new project.

A 22-unit condo building planned for Shaw received the go-ahead from the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) late last week.

The five-story building, from developer Mufu Sanni and architect Michael Vallen, does not appear to require any zoning variances, meaning the HPRB approval was the last major hurdle for the project. The site at 801-811 N Street NW (map) is currently composed of six vacant lots facing the Immaculate Conception Church, a designated landmark. The project had previously received support from ANC 6E, according to District Source.


The same development team built 1306 8th Street NW (map), a small condo building nearby. The developer and architect will have to make further tweaks to the project with the HPRB staff, but won’t need to go before the board again.

Renderings: Vallen Design Studio

See other articles related to: shaw, hprb, convention center

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/22-unit_condo_planned_for_shaw_gets_historic_approval/9697


  1. LionOfLeDroit said at 2:26 pm on Monday March 30, 2015:

    Everything about this building’s architecture screams “suburban Reston circa 1995”. 

    City Market at O is already an architectural and urban planning disaster (i.e. bizarre color palettes, no retail frontage on the main retail corridors of 7th & 9th).  As a Shaw resident, I plead with this project’s architect to please do better - this is just awful.

  1. Ecg0792@gmail.com said at 3:10 pm on Monday March 30, 2015:

    [This comment has been removed by the moderators due to its inappropriate nature.]

  1. DesignScore said at 4:09 pm on Monday March 30, 2015:

    Shaw may become our very own Blanche Debois, without the streetcar.  We can only imagine how unattractive this will be in the light of day.  Is this due to poor taste or a lose of nerve in a tight market?  Design Score:  D+.

  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 5:01 pm on Monday March 30, 2015:

    It’s hard to disagree with LionOfLeDroit.  And 1308 8th Street, while completely inoffensive, isn’t exactly cause for celebration either.

    This design has the materials one finds ubiquitously in depressing suburban developments in the U.K. (brownish red brick & gray stucco) overlayed on the deadly block form of the American “podium construction” apartment building, a formerly suburban creature now invading urban areas.  In fact, the whole thing has a worst-of-both-worlds quality to it, the dumb fat American box whose wrapping was “value engineered” by British quantity surveyors. (A professional largely nonexistent in the US, the quantity surveyor has considerable power, typically wielded to cut anything nice—good materials, ornamentation, cornices, large windows—from the project, on the grounds that it’s extravagant.)

    We’ve seen a zillion versions of this building already, and thus we know that without active intervention to prevent it, we’ll end up with a horribly proportioned building in which all the finish materials (even the nice ones) somehow look cheap.  Vallen Design Studio, it’s time to up your game.  And developer Sanni—don’t worry, to the extent that we need more expensive things (larger windows in the main block, nicer brick, less stucco) on the facades, we also need simplification that can balance it out.

    Both architect and developer need to look closely at the night view.  Aside from the uplit roof overhang and bright sides of the bay-top balconies, could your design be more banal?  How likely is it that condo owners on your “penthouse” level will want such glaring lights outside their windows?  Unlikely, which is good news for light pollution, but bad news for you.  Without those accents, you’re left with next to nothing architecturally.  Time to recalibrate.

Comments are closed.

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