Housing Complex

JBG Continues to Inflict Outsiders on D.C. Architecture

An Adjmi mixed-use project at 408 Greenwich Street in New York.

Well, JBG has gone and done it again: Brought in somebody who's never before worked in Washington to design residential buildings on its Atlantic Plumbing sites at 8th and V Street NW. That would be Morris Adjmi, who's accustomed to New York City and California. Despite stepping outside the familiar cast of characters, it's not a terribly wild choice; the firm prides itself on contextual design, and is quite partial to columns (some of their stuff, like Disney's headquarters at Celebration in Florida, is downright imperial). Oh, and good old Eric Colbert will serve as the architect of record, designing the nuts and bolts of Adjmi's grand vision.

Unlike JBG's last experiment with an out-of-towner, this one is just outside the U Street Historic District, so Historic Preservation Review Board members won't have the chance to ponder whether he's just too New York for D.C.

UPDATE, 4:30 p.m. - Apparently it wasn't clear that my indignation over a New York architect coming to Washington was a mildly sarcastic response to those who actually think there are some design ideas that don't belong here. I think it's fantastic to have new people in the mix. Just for the record.

  • Thayer-D

    Is a New York architect working in DC really so wrong? My guess is the archiect's penchant for doing contextual work is what's got under your skin, but that would be a bit too honest, so he's a carpet bagger!!!

    Actually, let me rephrase that. The problem is the architect isn't a modernist, becasue how many new neo-modernist boxes have you celebrated in the wasteland of K street's mid-century nirvana? It's fine to have an opinion, but at least be up front about it. Did you complain about Gehry or Norman Foster or any other "stranger" designing in DC? Kind of parochial for an avant guard architectural critic, don't you think?

    Wasn't it JBG that fired Essicoff for the more traditional and contextual David Schwartz to re-skin the new Woodley Park Hotel? Could a less subjectivly driven story see how JBG is stepping out of the norm to deliver designs that most people on the street would find appealing? Now to really shock me, let's see if you actually allow this comment to be posted.

  • Lydia DePillis


    Um, was my sarcasm not apparent? My bad.

    To be clear: I'm thrilled to have new players in D.C.'s architecture scene, columns or no. Chill.

  • sdb

    Nope, sorry, your sarcasm didn't come through at all. Thayer-D hit your tone right on.

  • http://tsarchitect.nsflanagan.net цarьchitect

    No, I got the sarcasm.

    The Disney office building was designed with Aldo Rossi. Adjmi was the star's American partner. The use of classical motifs is driven by an attitude about form and history that has very little to do with blending in and much more to do with how we approach our cultural lineage.

    I know, right, he believes form is connected to ideas. What a truth nazi! He's just trying to build statements!

  • ModerateonModernism

    Is it possible that some folks who dislike post-modernism have issues "getting" sarcasm?

    I thought the sarcasm was obvious.

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  • FL

    I wonder why JBG decided to develop this lot before the lot they own next to the Floridian on Florida Ave & W NW? That one would have seemed to me to be the logical next step.

  • jimmycrackcorn

    Following up FL, when will they break ground on this?

  • A-lo

    Lydia, your sarcasm was rather clear, and well-placed.

  • cozmot

    Jeez, such a fuss over sarcasm/no-sarcasm. Good article, Lydia!

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  • Kris Kristofferson

    Dear Lydia,

    You are not as clever as you think you are.


    ps I am not being "mildly sarcastic."