The Woodward Building project involved the conversion of an early 20th century office building located in the Washington DC Fifteenth Street Financial District (a locally designated historic district a few blocks away from the White House) to market rate apartments.
The original 1911 building designed by Harding & Upman had a nearly seamless second phase added in 1929 by Architect George Ray. The original building had been designed in a Renaissance revival style featuring an ‘E’-shaped plan bilaterally symmetrical oriented to an H Street entrance and punctuated by an elaborate granite portico. The addition extended the H Street façade and a ‘T’-shaped retail arcade winds through the building at the first floor while cast iron storefronts face the street on the two exposed elevations.
The Martinez+Johnson Architecture rehabilitation effort converted the Woodward Building into multi-family residential use, an ideal utilization of its unique floor plate. The base building, lobby, and upper floors were rehabilitated while the distinctive facades were cleaned, stabilized, and restored. In the retail tenant work and signage, original storefronts were recreated from historic photographs and the large wood windows were repaired and reconditioned. On the interior, the first floor lobby (including its ornamental stair connection to the second floor) was restored. The upper floors were redesigned around the existing structural elements and conditions (the building is a steel frame with clay tile floors and cladding of columns) into 189 individual apartments. Newly designed elevators, loading and receiving spaces, mechanical systems, building amenities (such as a health club, a two story parking garage, and exterior and interior common recreational space), and new life safety systems were incorporated.
As a significant building in an historic district, the Woodward Building design process included extensive dialogue with the historic preservation community while pursuing Historic Preservation Tax Credits, which required the residential conversion to meet The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Rehabilitation of Historic Structures and approvals by the National Park Service. The finished rehabilitation project stands as a case study for how the investment tax credits serve as a catalyst for major, high quality adaptive re-use projects that reinvest in America’s cities.