Pritzker Prize–winning architect Eduardo Souto de Moura has unveiled plans for his first building in the United States, a five-story, mixed-use building to be built in Washington, D.C. The Portuguese architect is working with D.C.-based development firm EastBanc on the
The site, 2715 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, currently houses a small brick gas station at the intersection of two prominent streets forming an entrance to Georgetown. “This site needed to be done,” stated EastBanc president and founder Andrew Lanier. “It’s the entrance of Georgetown. I think it’s one of the most important sites in the city, and it shouldn’t be a gas station.” EastBanc purchased the property for $4 million last March.
Souto de Moura faced a number of obstacles in designing the structure in his classic “neo-Miesian” style, among them the city’s 130-foot height restrictions, the lot’s tiny footprint, and the intent to preserve Georgetown’s historic character. The building ultimately would stand 60 feet tall and include eight 2,000-square-foot residences. Souto de Moura chose red brick to blend with the materials of the historic neighborhood.
The building’s blocky form takes on the appearance of shifting, stacked-up red-brick blocks with glass terraces in between, lending a “positive and negative” rhythm to the facade. The deep-set terrace windows allows more privacy for residents. “Their vision for the site has been not to make a big glass box that lights itself up,” Eastbanc Vice-President Mary Mottershead said in a recent interview, “but sort of a quiet building.”
A 70-seat restaurant housed in a delicate glass box set in a landscaped garden slides jauntily beneath the sturdy brick-and-concrete building’s ground-level cantilever.
According to a local news report, the project must still make its way through the Zoning Commission and the Old Georgetown Board. A groundbreaking date has not been set.