Tasked with designing the Park Kennedy in Hill East near RFK Stadium, GTM Architects’ Rosana Torres and Susan Mentus looked to neighboring Capitol Hill’s charming historic row houses for inspiration. “It was important to fit the new structure into the context of the neighborhood, to add to the streetscape,” explains Mentus. So, while the finished project comprises one 286,476-square-foot building containing 262 apartments and 16,000 square feet of retail space, it presents as attached row houses from the outside. Seventeen façades above aluminum storefronts are clad in combinations of brick, cast stone, fiber-cement panels and ornamental railings.
Other ideas drove the design of the interior spaces—among them the striking, industrial-style atrium (pictured), which opens up dramatically beyond the sleek lobby. “We wanted the experience of walking through the building to be unexpected,” Torres observes.
The atrium fulfills that goal. Recalling cavernous, glass-ceilinged 19th-century train stations found in Europe, the airy space is topped with opaque resin panels within a metal suspension system. Though daylight appears to filter through the panels, they actually hide the building’s infrastructure, with floors of apartments above. As Torres explains, “Everything behind the ceiling is painted white and lights shine through the panels.”
Steel-look concrete columns support the ceiling, which is embellished with detailed wood-and-metal trusses. A marble floor and exposed brick walls complete the effect. A window wall overlooking the courtyard incorporates black-painted aluminum doors. The Park Kennedy has earned LEED Silver certification.
Architecture: Colline Hernandez-Ayala; Rosana Torres, AIA; Susan Mentus, AIA, LEED AP, GTM Architects, Bethesda, Maryland. Interior Design: GTM Architects and Cuhpoe Design Studio, Washington, DC. Contractor: McCullough Construction, LLC, Washington, DC. Landscape Architecture: ParkerRodriguez, Alexandria, Virginia.