Home & Design

Bold Aerie

An outmoded office building in downtown DC gets a new lease on life

Located a stone’s throw from the White House, Metropolitan Square appears as a stately Beaux Arts structure, a visual complement to its illustrious neighbor. Yet behind the venerable façade lies a modern, 12-story office building constructed in 1982—an outside-the-box solution to placate the historic preservation community.

In 2017, owner Boston Properties tapped Gensler’s Washington office to mastermind $60 million in improvements intended to lure new tenants to the 670,000-square-foot property (also home to DC mainstay Old Ebbitt Grill). “It’s a dynamic reimagining of shared amenity spaces that brings new life to this timeless location,” explains architect Jeff Barber, who led the project. He and his team revamped the atrium; renovated the roof deck; and added conference rooms, a tenant lounge and a fitness center on the second floor.

The most dramatic change took place in the atrium (pictured above). Formerly a bland pass-through, it’s now a bright, airy destination, connecting to the second floor via a broad stadium stair. White oak accents unify its expanse and delineate areas for congregating. Fresh wall finishes and glazing reflect light from the existing patterned-glass ceiling down to the new Saint Clair marble floor, while metal extrusions painted gold frame the office windows above. Updated building entrances marry the atrium’s new character with the historic façade.

Metropolitan Square received a 2021 AIA Northern Virginia Award of Merit.

Renovation Architecture: Jeff Barber, AIA, LEED AP, Gensler, Washington, DC. Renovation Contractor: Davis Construction, Rockville, Maryland. Photography: Jessica Marcotte.

You may also like:

Checklist: Build
Insights from Devin Kimmel of Kimmel Studio Architects on how—and when—to hire an architect
Creative Legacy
Distinctive Building Group’s Matt Trunnell merges passion, workmanship and a lifetime in the industry
Color + Contrast
Erika Bonnell marries family-friendly function with a dose of drama in a Wesley Heights makeover
HOME&DESIGN, published bi-monthly by Homestyles Media Inc., is the premier magazine of architecture and fine interiors for the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia region.

The company also publishes an annual H&D Sourcebook of ideas and resources for homeowners and professionals alike. H&D Chesapeake Views is published bi-annually and showcases fine home design and luxury living in and around the Chesapeake Bay.

The H&D Portfolio of 100 Top Designers spotlights the superior work of selected architects, interior designers and landscape architects in major regions of the US.

Stay Connected with HOME & DESIGN Newsletter

Copyright © 2021 Home & Design. All rights reserved. | Back to top
magnifier