Two Howard Dorms Are on the Road to Residential

by Nena Perry-Brown

Rendering of renovated Slowe Hall. Click to enlarge.

Two years ago, UrbanTurf reported on Howard University's plans to convert two dormitories in LeDroit Park into residential properties. Now, the details of those conversions are emerging.

Slowe Hall, 1949. Click to enlarge.

Bonstra | Haresign Architects is helming the conversion of the buildings, which were originally built to house single Black civilians working ancillary to World War II. At completion, the 75 year-old dormitories, one block away from each other at 211 Elm Street NW (map) and 1919 Third Street NW (map), will have a total of 166 studio-to-two-bedroom apartments between them. 

Carver Hall was a men's dorm named after George Washington Carver and Slowe Hall was a women's dorm named after Lucy Diggs Slowe. Howard University purchased both after the war; the current conversion is via a 99-year ground lease the school awarded to Urban Investment Partners and Neighborhood Development Company.

Rendering of renovated Carver Hall. Click to enlarge.

While dormitory-style living has made a comeback in recent years, these properties are slated to be retrofit into market-rate apartments, requiring work to configure the narrow footprints of the buildings from a series of rooms sharing communal bathrooms and lounge space into a series of apartments with ample private space.

Rendering of loft unit at Carver Hall. Click to enlarge.

Some of the original common areas were also converted into rentable residential space. The ground level of Slowe Hall is now occupied by residential units, and the terrace level in Carver Hall was used to create 14 loft units which take advantage of pre-existing clerestory windows.

Both buildings also required some creative approaches to maximizing their existing features. Walls were removed to integrate an existing double-height lounge on the ground floor at Carver Hall into the main level, bringing light in and creating open access between courtyards at the front and rear of the building. Because Slowe Hall had nine distinct elevations on the first floor, the architect used ramps and infill to level the flooring and improve accessibility. 

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/two-howard-dorms-on-the-road-to-residential/15584

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