HOW CAN URBAN SITES FOSTER MICRO-COMMUNITES?

Capitol Hill Micro-Communities

INSERT COMMON SPACE.

Washington, DC

8,950+11,920 SQFT

COMPLETED 2021

Project Gallery

This project is the conversion of an existing five-story 1940’s era masonry building, formerly in use as a medical facility, into two residential micro-communities: Co-living apartments in the existing facility, and a mirrored pair of two-over-two Residences on what was once the site’s parking lot.

The effort to foster community among the site’s new residents was the primary project guidepost from site planning through to construction.

When the lots were subdivided, they were sized such that the new condominiums extend the existing bay pattern of the adjacent historic rowhomes.

...plus an extra 5 feet, enough for a sheltered passage to a shared interior courtyard from which each of the units is accessed.

While the majority of the building’s visible facade pays homage to its historic setting in painted brick, a slice of copper shingles above the shared entry draws interest from the street. An eased corner and simple masonry details at the floor bands, fenestration, and cornice echo the historic context in a modern language.

The central courtyard, accessed from the street via a custom-fabricated metal & glass gate, is finished with white siding and white decking tiles to maximize the amount of light delivered to the center of the residence floorplates.

Large window openings maximize transparency on the courtyard’s opposing sides, activating the shared exterior space and imbuing the center of the units with natural light.

Unit staircases line the courtyard, filtering light and view to the unit interior.

Public living areas are located on the 1st and 2nd levels, adjacent to the courtyard, and private living areas are located on the cellar and 3rd levels.

The kitchen for each unit is at the center with a long, eat-in island. The two-tone cabinetry has integral edge pulls.

Each unit also has a private outdoor space – the two upper units have roof decks; the two lower units have a terraced backyard accessed from both the main living area and the primary bedroom suite.

At the very beginning of the project, the design team endeavored to achieve balance between maximum residential density and shared community space. Through careful subdivision of the lots, this yielded an interior courtyard shared by condominium owners and rear balconies and courtyard for the OSLO Hill residents.

The latest entry in Ditto Residential’s portfolio of highly successful OSLO co-living communities, OSLO Hill is focused on young people just entering into professional life. Each of the five floors contains six bedrooms with small ensuite baths surrounding a central common living space.

The project team worked closely with the Capitol Hill historic preservation representatives to preserve the street presence of the historic 201 8th Street building, while upgrading it to appeal to the next generation of Capitol Hill residents.

Residents now enter the building via the rear. An entry gate off Constitution Avenue leads to a trellised courtyard. The passthrough elevator is accessed directly from exterior and opens straight into each unit.

This building is business in front and a party in the back: with street-facing individual personal spaces kept intentionally small, the interior emphasizes a shared living experience with spacious eat-in kitchens and sitting areas located in the back, connecting to the rear courtyard which functions as the primary social space.

Large new windows connect each unit’s common living space to the courtyard via new balconies and sunken terrace allowing for connectivity across units.

The team included an artist-in-residence who curated DC-specific art installations for each unit.