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Modernist Addition to Health Club Building Slated to Fill U Street Gap

By David Alpert*

[Note: Photographs accompanying this news story in the print edition can be viewed in the full PDF copy in the Current & Back Issues Archive.]

The owner of the building at 1612 U Street, NW, which currently houses Results Gym, is planning a modern addition to fill in a gap in the existing streetwall, accommodate more workout space, and make room for a rooftop pool on the old building. To respect the historic brick side façade of the building, the addition will use an all-glass front that keeps the old wall visible from the street.

The building, built as a warehouse, originally had a vehicle ramp on the east side leading up to the second floor. Because the building was designed to have space beside it, it has two designed façades instead of one, including arches over the top floor windows on both façades. The current owner removed the ramp, leaving an empty space, and now proposes to fill it in with the addition.

He originally proposed a four-story addition, but the Historic Preservation Office recommended lowering it to three stories to avoid covering over the arched windows. The architect designed a transparent addition that would allow people from the street or nearby buildings to see through and into the historic building. Existing floor-to-ceiling windows will become doors without disturbing the original bricks.

The owner, David von Storch, wants to replace the Results Gym with a Vida Fitness Center, a chain he owns. According to von Storch, parking isn’t an issue at the site as almost all employees take Metro or buses, and patrons live nearby or ride transit.

The Dupont Circle Conservancy supported the plan and voted to “commend the architect and owner for the project’s uniqueness and sensitivity to the streetscape.”

*David Alpert is founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington (http://greatergreaterwashington.org), a website about livable and walk-able communities, land use and transportation in the Washington, DC metro area. (This report, slightly modified for re-publication here, was initially posted on his site.)

Copyright (c) 2009 David Alpert & InTowner Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.