Three houses, two apartment buildings, an industrial shop, a bank branch and an academic village have won the 1982 design awards from the Washington Metropolitan Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
The six, chosen from 59 projects submitted by Washington-area architects, are a sample of today's architectural thinking. Each project, including two by the same firm, is different from the others.
All seem to have been spared the excesses of Post Modernism. The honored architects also felt no need to copy Williamsburg houses or the Petit Trianon.
But the winning edifices weren't designed to stand alone. All are polite. They make the effort to harmonize with their better neighbors and escape the human filing-cabinet syndrome. The buildings speak the language of their streets. Some borrow architectural elements such as towers, bays, brick color or even stripes from earlier adjacent buildings.
Recently, Bauhaus modern has been thoroughly hit by the wrecking ball of critical opinion. But most of the Washington winners make strong allusions to stylistic devices from the first third of the 20th century: Art Moderne, its jazzier bastard sister Art Deco, and the cleaner-lined Early Modern. The heirloom elements can make the new buildings more fun and sometimes even more functional but they have to be used well. It's not enough to inherit a diamond choker -- you must also have a swan-like neck.
Most of the buildings sensibly have paid attention to saving energy.
As has happened for several years, the firms of Keyes Condon Florance, Arthur Cotton Moore Associates, Hartman-Cox and Wilkes, Faulkner, Jenkins & Bass won awards. But this year, Martin & Jones, a younger firm, won for the first time.
Martin & Jones won its award for Barclay House, a nine-story, 27-unit condominum at 2501 K St. NW, a small corner site in Foggy Bottom. The architects used color -- cream, rust and black brick and paint -- projecting bays, pillars as well as posts and varying window styles to relieve the massive facades of the building. The basic structure is a cream-colored brick similar to the '30s buildings adjacent. The addition of the rust brick and the black trim keeps it from being a pastiche of the older buildings.
Signal Development Corp. is the owner and contractor.
The CFC Square apartment building at 1111 30th St. NW, by Arthur Cotton Moore/Associates, borrows a tower bay shape, red brick and dark mortar from the nearby Victorian structures on M Street. The point is made in photographic murals of Victorian Georgetown mounted in the lobby. The apartments facing north are flooded with what Victorian artists called "the good north light" from glass mansard roofs. In the inner court, facing two 1956 and 1979 office buildings, the apartments use a lighter color brick and mortar and a simpler, more modern form. The architect calls it the "chameleon" effect. Some others have called it "Moore Modern."
Georgetown Mews Associates owns the project constructed by Professional Construction of Maryland Corp.
The firm of Keyes Condon Florance won two awards for the Potomac Electric Company Combined Shops Building at 34th Street and Benning Road NE and the Brookland branch of Perpetual American Federal Savings & Loan, 915 Rhode Island Ave. NE.
The bank branch, with its rounded end and its racing stripe design, goes back to the streamlining popular a half-century ago, when mechanical motion was thought both romantic and progressive. In fact, it looks like a 1930s bus station. The architects point out that the site is at a Metro entrance. The branch also has a circular drive to its drive-in bank facilities. What the designers call "banker's blue" glazed masonry is the skin of the building but the essence of Art Deco, glass block, is used to lighten it. The parapet is raised in front to become the building's sign.
The contractor was M. Cladny Construction Co.
The PEPCO Combined Shops Building, the Benning Service Center, is a one-story steel frame structure with factory-finished metal panels enclosing 34,374 square feet to hold diverse workshops from a smithy to a concrete precasting facility. A truck road goes through the building. The exhaust ducts for the air and heating systems and the doors are painted a brilliant red, which cheers up the standard warehouse look considerably. Inside, strong basic colors -- red, yellow, blue and orange paint -- are used again to relieve the tedium.
The contractor was A.A. Beiro.
The three houses at 3403, 3407 and 3411 36th St. NW by Wilkes, Faulkner, Jenkins & Bass are in a block where Winthrop W. Faulkner, his brother and his father built housing at different times. Winthrop Faulkner, the partner in charge of the project, now lives in one of the three new houses. The triangular lot has been subdivided to accommodate a swimming pool for all three. The brick piers and single width brick "fence" and Bradford Calley pear trees behind provide unusual privacy from the street. On the outside, houses are white-, grey- and beige-painted brick veneer with redwood inserts. All are virtually the same austere modern design. But inside each house, the 3600 square feet of space is arranged differently to accommodate the owners' needs: a two-story room, a four-passenger elevator, principal rooms on the second level.
Richard Cimermanis was the contractor.
The National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, N.C., by Hartman-Cox is an academic village with the wings connected by largely glass corridors. The studies, library and service areas, conference rooms and offices are grouped around common centers to promote collegiate encounters. The building's distinction comes from using solar glass-paneled roofs and sometimes angular walls. The glass also collects passive solar heat. T.A. Loving of Goldsboro was the contractor.
The Washington Metropolitan Chapter AIA awards will be presented to the architects, owners and contractors at a dinner Oct. 2.