- Apartment Complex
3700 Massachusets Ave NW Washington DC 20016 View Map
The five-story Alban Towers apartment building complex was designed in 1929 by Robert O Scholz in the Gothic Revival style, complementing the Washington Cathedral and St Alban's School across Wisconsin Avenue. The building was originally an apartment hotel and was later converted to Georgetown University student housing in 1973. Prior to its renovation by The Charles E Smith Residential Realty Companies (now Archstone Smith) the building had been unoccupied for several years.
Charles E Smith commissioned M+J to design and execute the historic preservation program for the project. The exterior of the building is a designated landmark as are the interior public spaces (designed in a Jacobean revival style). The project is an historic preservation investment Tax Credit effort, and a strong program and experience in working with both the DC Historic Preservation Office of the Office of Planning and the National Park Service was necessary for a successful project. The Design Team sought to understand the building's social and historical context in the design. The building interiors have a rough struck plaster finish and decorative tile floors. The finishes and furnishings original to the projects are rich in texture: tapestry brick, dark wood furniture, hammered dull metal lighting fixtures, and ochre-colored walls.
Part of the challenge of the project was to modernize the building without affecting the original character or fabric. Examples of these situations are the architectural and fabrication of replacement suite entry doors that meet current accessibility standards. Other significant issues involve the restoration and consolidation of original materials such as limestone, brick, plaster, and tile and the sensitive replacement of historic doors and windows that were demolished prior to the current building ownership. M+J's original scope of work increased to include the work in the apartment units themselves. The firm developed unit layouts for over 200 apartments and designed building amenities as well as furnishings, finishes, and equipment. Additionally, a fitness center was added to the historic structure. The space includes weight and cardio-machines, a lap pool, and locker rooms. Lastly, M+J restored all of the many public spaces and included an underground parking garage