SOME acquired a steeply sloping triangular site which presented strict space limitations and the challenge of building over Metro tunnels. Their mission: to provide a new multi-use building housing a very diverse set of uses, including their new headquarters; a large community health care center; a large job skills training school; transitional housing for displaced women and children; supportive housing for recently homeless individuals; family housing serving residents at 30% of median incomes; a daycare; retail space, new offices and supportive services space; and significant parking. The building will also serve neighborhood and citywide residents.
Wiencek + Associates’ complex design deftly interweaves ample space for each of the diverse uses. A three-story masonry plinth grounds and unifies the structure, housing retail, the health care center, and the training school. Two separate residential towers sit atop the plinth, each intentionally clad somewhat differently. The oblique angle of the towers and the rising site allow integration of significant outdoor terraces at various levels, providing separated recreation and amenity spaces for each of the three diverse housing populations, the daycare, and offices.
Wiencek + Associates sought to design a building in an impoverished area that would fit into any of Washington’s wealthiest neighborhoods. While construction has just begun, the complex design not only fulfills all of SOME’s needs, but also will become the hub of the under-served neighborhood and catalyze further progress. The thoughtfully organized spaces and varied finishes give patrons and residents the sense that they are a priority.