New Renderings and Details of the 319-Unit Building Planned for U Street

by Lark Turner

New Renderings and Details of the 319-Unit Building Planned for U Street: Figure 1

The 319-unit U Street project at the intersection of Barry Place and Sherman Avenue NW has changed its design over the past few months.

The proposed six-story building at 907 Barry Place (map) is being developed by Howard University and developer Ambling University Development, working with architect Niles Bolton Associates. In addition to the units, it will include 11,500 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and 145 parking spaces.

New Renderings and Details of the 319-Unit Building Planned for U Street: Figure 2

The design is an open cube with a courtyard in the center. Units face either the courtyard or the exterior of the building. Half of the courtyard-facing units will have balconies. Since the last design update, the developers have lightened up parts of the building’s facade and refined the design of the building’s architectural elements.

New Renderings and Details of the 319-Unit Building Planned for U Street: Figure 3

The Office of Planning and the local ANC are supportive of the project.

The building will largely include market-rate units, with 10 percent of the units set aside for those making 80 percent of the area median income and some units set aside for Howard University professors and staff. The unit mix suggests the developers are largely targeting singles: There will be 152 studios, 115 one-bedrooms and 52 two-bedrooms.

New Renderings and Details of the 319-Unit Building Planned for U Street: Figure 4

At a May 21 meeting before the Zoning Commission, the commissioners asked the developers to make some tweaks to the plan — some commissioners even got into the specifics of the design for the courtyard pool — but were largely supportive. The project will head before the Commission again on June 8.

See other articles related to: u street, howard university, barry place

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/new_renderings_and_details_of_the_319-unit_building_planned_for_u_street/9934


  1. Brett said at 5:21 pm on Thursday May 28, 2015:
    Awful--looks like a prison or some neo-brutalist government building.
  1. Nathaniel Martin said at 8:02 pm on Thursday May 28, 2015:
    Um, er. . . well, at least it's got some depth to it, which is something that new buildings in DC often lack, but it comes off as an architectural platypus (i.e., "an animal that looks like it was designed by a committee"). Let's hope that someone edits this down, keeping the depth and variety, but bringing some order and finesse to the composition.
  1. Alan P. said at 8:02 pm on Thursday May 28, 2015:
    It looks nothing like a Brutalist building. I think it's a decent design and pretty much in line with most new buildings in DC (except the courtyard, which is an interesting twist). Hopefully the units set aside for 80% AMI actually get set aside. Setting aside some units for Howard professors and staff is also smart. Anyone know what Howard is doing with the former Howard Inn? Aside from having a Starbucks on the ground floor, what is the rest of the building used for, university office space?
  1. Alan P. said at 8:04 pm on Thursday May 28, 2015:
    ps: I agree with Nathaniel about the excess number of design elements present in the exterior and the hope that the exterior will have a more unified, less scattershot style in its final form.
  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 8:44 pm on Thursday May 28, 2015:
    Howard and Ambling Development: Before it's too late, spend a little money to get an architect with talent to redesign the exterior. Niles Bolton has an impressive planning resume, but they quite often work with design architects for the simple reason that they struggle to produce convincing exterior design work. An obvious choice might be PGN, whose design partner is a Howard U School of Architecture grad. PGN's work is often shown on this blog, and it shows talent. To Nathanial Martin's comment that the design is an architectural platypus, I'll add that it also tries to put lipstick on a pig. I was critical of the exterior design of this building the first time it was on Urban Turf (http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/barry_place_a_319-unit_development_adjacent_to_howard_university_heads_to_z/9208). The new rendering reveals little change. My previous comments stand: Random architectural gymnastics on the Sherman Avenue side fail to conceal the reality (left naked on the other facades) that this is a dumb box with a grid of badly-proportioned windows. If this were the fabbing-up of a pre-existing dumb box building (for example, the "Howard Towers" dormitories shown across the street in the 3rd rendering), I'd say, "Well, at least it's an improvement." But this is an entirely new building that doesn't have to be a dumb box in the first place. It's not an impossible task; it just requires an architect with the right talents.

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