The Project

Architectural Rendering
View from 29th Street
Looking East
03-08-17
Architectural Rendering
View from 29th Street
Looking East
03-08-17
Architectural Rendering
View In Park
Looking North
03-08-17
Architectural Rendering
View In Park
Looking North
03-08-17

Project Overview

The proposed project will transform the long vacant, contaminated, and blighted site bounded by 29th Street NW, the historic C&O Canal, Rock Creek, and K Street in Georgetown from an obsolete steam heat facility decommissioned in 2000 into a Four Seasons-managed residential condominium with an adjacent one-acre public park and bridge connecting Rock Creek Park with the Georgetown Waterfront.

The development team features the world-renowned architects David Adjaye and Laurie Olin. David Adjaye & Associates, the lead designer for the recently opened Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, as well as two award winning DC public libraries, has developed an exemplary design that preserves over 30% of the existing structure and is inspired by the existing structure’s materiality and proportionality. The residential building will have 60-70 residences and be managed by Four Seasons. There is no retail or commercial space proposed within the project.

Laurie Olin, founder of The OLIN Studio, is the project’s landscape architect. Olin is one of the most renowned landscape architects practicing today with notable projects ranging from The Washington Monument Grounds in Washington, DC to Bryant Park in New York City. Olin’s design opens the walled-off site to the community by introducing a grand stairway at the south end of the site that welcomes visitors to his lush promontory overlooking Rock Creek Park and the C&O Canal.

The project also includes a bridge providing a direct pedestrian and bicycle connection between Rock Creek Park, the Georgetown Waterfront Park, and the Crescent Trail and provides access to the waterfront and the refurbishment of the dilapidated seawall along Rock Creek.

The Bridge

Among the project’s several exciting elements is a new bridge over the C&O Canal. The bridge will serve as an important link, allowing for greater connectivity between the C&O Canal towpath, Rock Creek Park, and the Georgetown Waterfront Park, fulfilling a long-standing goal of the National Park Service.

Historic Preservation

David Adjaye’s new design is inspired by the monumentality, materiality, and proportionality of the existing building. The proposed design retains and preserves as much of the existing structure as possible given the extensive environmental and structural issues -- approximately 30% of the existing plant. The preservation strategy includes:

  • Preserving and restoring the monumental western façade on 29th Street
  • Preserving the rusticated brick ‘quoining' on the western façade
  • Maintaining the height, bulk, and mass of the existing structure
  • Preserving and restoring the stone wall surrounding the site’s perimeter
  • Preserving the ashlar rubble stone base on all four elevations
  • Preserving and replicating the height and width of the existing window openings
  • Maintaining the chamfered corner detail on the eastern facade

The design recreates the chamfered corner massing on the east elevation, a signature feature of the existing plant. The new design will feature additional fenestration for light and air, but the new fenestration pays homage to the existing design by matching the height, width, and profile of the plant’s existing window openings and window configuration. The concept design employs an innovative louvered brick screen to allow additional light to the residences in key locations without compromising the building’s muscularity. This design feature was inspired by brick louvers and the brick rustication currently present on the plant’s east and west elevation.

The park will feature design elements and an installation that celebrates the site’s history, including its use as the dry dock for the C&O Canal as well as its more recent history as the site of a coal-fired steam heat plant. Olin’s proposed mound of trees is a gesture to the geometry of the existing oil tanks present in the coal yard and the dimensions of the signature water feature evokes the memory of the plant’s vertical window bays while incorporating materials that provide references to the historic dry dock and industrial Georgetown.

Last, the development team is committed to documenting the history of the site and the building. The team is drafting a full historic resource report that will thoroughly document the plant’s architecture, construction, and operations.

Rock Creek

Over the course of the last fifty years, a series of storms has caused damage to the seawall along the western edge of Rock Creek. The development team will restore sections of the damaged seawall along the edge of Rock Creek. The building of the park and the restoration of the Rock Creek path will enable visitors to traverse a previously inaccessible part of Rock Creek and provide a direct link to the Georgetown Waterfront Park.