Awards of Excellence 2021
Bonstra | Haresign ARCHITECTS
The Kanawha

The Kanawha
Award of Merit
Best Renovations - Historic Preservation

Project Team

Hedden Residential Property Trust - (Developer)
John Hedden - (Owner)
Bonstra | Haresign ARCHITECTS - (Architect)
Harbor Builders - (General Contractor)
EHT Traceries - (Historic Consultant)
Anice Hoachlander - (Photographer)

Project Description

The Kanawha is a 14-unit modern luxury apartments. Originally built in 1901, The Kanawha was designed by Leon Emil Dessez, a native DC architect whose notable buildings in Washington DC include One Observatory Circle, the residence of the Vice President of the United States at the Naval Observatory, the Lucinda Caddy house in Takoma Park and a number of Victorian fire-engine houses. He was also responsible for some of the original houses in Chevy Chase Village for Senator Francis Newlands and his Chevy Chase Land Company.

As part of the renovation/restoration, The Kanawha was stripped of its alterations down to its original masonry walls and wood floor joists. The ground floor was excavated to increase the floor to ceiling height and extend the floor area into the rear yard. The original full width cast iron veranda was selectively removed and maintained while the added projecting center bays allowed the building footprint to expand up to current day lot coverage allowances. With expressive masonry arches and herringbone brick patterns, the front was repainted and 1950s iron fire escapes were removed, as allowed by the current fire codes, to restore the Dumbarton street façade.

The most sustainable building is one that is already built and is readily adaptable to the changing needs and lifestyles of its occupants, while maintaining existing housing alternatives. Utilizing an existing quality building of long-lasting materials, maintaining it, and bringing an enhanced new life and space for the current generations of occupants, this project preserves embedded energy, reducing landfills and conserving energy for our posterity.

Through unique energy saving strategies, The Kanawha was designed to maximize the wellbeing of its occupants. The split system HVAC units, replacing radiators and outdated window AC units, are SEER 15, providing up to 20% outside air to each unit while exhausting bathroom and kitchen air directly to the exterior through façade louvers. Historic double hung windows are newly weather-stripped to seal drafts. The lobby has an airlock door system exceeding code requirements. All interior materials are low VOC, locally sourced, and are made with recycled products that do not off-gas.

The walkable location of the building encourages sustainable transit opportunities and physical activity to residents, while the rear balconies allow access to the outdoors critical for physical and mental well-being. The landscaping is specifically designed using native plants that require no additional irrigation or water usage. This rainfall is also managed and retained using previous grade surfaces and a series of landscaped walls to slow the runoff to city sewers.

The Kanawha maintains, restores, and increases urban housing in an established historic district of the Nation’s Capital. This urban community is preserved, supplemented, and contributes to an established walkable, human scaled community located near public transit, available retail and food service opportunities while amplifying rear courtyard.

Clark Construction Company Brandywine Realty Trust Glass Jacobson The Tower Companies Trammell Crow Company Trammell Crow Company

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