Awards of Excellence 2019
Hickok Cole
1701 Rhode Island Avenue NW

1701 Rhode Island Avenue NW
Award of Excellence
Best Washington DC Office Over 150,000SF

Project Team

Akridge - (Developer)
Alcion Ventures, L.P. - (Owner)
Hickok Cole - (Architect)
The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company - (General Contractor)
Akridge - (Broker/Project Management)
EagleBank - (Acquisition & Construction Lender)
Alan Schindler - (Photographer)

Executive Summary

Emerging from the site of a 40-year old former YMCA, 1701 Rhode Island is a seven-story, 104,000-SF office building carefully crafted to elevate and activate its presence within the community and among new tenants, while preserving its historic personality. Boasting a unique copper facade and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, it is a striking addition to the Central Business District and provides the ideal landscape for small-to-medium sized businesses seeking an elegant, centrally located office space with a connection to the neighborhood’s old charm and character.

In order to transform the building into an office layout, the city’s zoning required the preservation of major portions of the building’s structural elements. As a result, the design team collaborated with the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) and the City’s Historic Preservation staff to produce the building’s signature façade, which was designed to pay homage to nearby St. Matthew’s Cathedral’s copper dome. The building’s aesthetic naturally transitions to compliment the historic commercial townhouses north of the site, while visually connecting with its neighbors to the south.

The main lobby entrance is centrally located within the building façade, and visitors are invited to meander alongside canted weathered steel planters full of lush landscaping and trees on one of several pathways leading to the building’s front door. The dynamic two-story lobby space is shaped in natural stone, dimensional sycamore planks and blackened steel walls. These walls frame a feature cube element constructed of backlit burnished aluminum panels that change color to welcome occupants and engage passersby, seamlessly unifying the interior with the exterior.

The top floor is set back to reduce the street wall height, and the primary facades incorporate varying window depths to produce shadow lines reminiscent of those found in the adjacent townhouses. Using a large bay pattern, the building is able to maintain maximum views from the interior with a composition that is sympathetic to the surrounding context but distinctly modern. Tenants enjoy access to multiple landscaped terraces as well as a pocket park, exterior landscaping with seating for more than 20 people, and a penthouse conference facility and lounge. The office building contains communal lounge space for tenants and boasts a naturally lit fitness facility with maple wood walls reclaimed from the original floorboards of the YMCA’s gymnasium.

1701 Rhode Island won the 2019 Award of Merit in Commercial Architecture by the American Institute of Architects Northern Virginia Chapter and was ranked a walker’s, rider’s and biker’s paradise by The transit-friendly property generated significant leasing interest from clients of various sizes and industries. Citing the building’s efficient, light-filled floor plates, memorable design and prominent and transit-rich location, WeWork committed to lease the entire building in February of 2019, making it the co-working giant’s first flagship location in Washington, DC and ensuring 1701 Rhode Island will be teeming with a diverse group of professionals for years to come.


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