Title: NEW HOUSING IN TENLEYTOWN
Alan Zapatka, Masters of Architecture 2005
Directed By: Thomas L. Schumacher, FAAR, Department of Architecture
Tenleytown, the second oldest neighborhood in Washington, DC, (after Georgetown) was founded in the 1790's at the intersection of River road and Wisconsin Avenue. Long before the grid of Washington was platted, this crossroads settlement, which includes the highest elevation in Washington, was founded by John Tenally, a blacksmith.
Historical highlights include Dolly Madison et al seeking refuge there while watching the federal city burned down by the British in 1814, and Union soldiers standing guard at Fort Reno thwarting an attack by Confederates from the North in 1864.
Currently, Tenleytown is a vibrant area comprising many single-family houses, a few apartment buildings, a Metro stop, schools, churches, movie theaters, office buildings, restaurants and retail.
Despite Tenleytown's strong character and history, there are surprising gaps in its development. Specifically, across from the crossroads of River Road and Wisconsin Avenue there is a large block zoned for an allowable building height of 90' and an FAR of 4.5. Currently there are thirteen one and two-story, non-descript retail establishments, a five story office building and a lot of asphalt parking. Clearly this site is underutilized.
This block presents a rich opportunity to build multi-story mixed-use buildings which would capitalize on the scenic views of the site, integrate existing and new retail establishments at the ground level, and most importantly, add more housing with pedestrian access to the Metro. This would help alleviate the "chronic housing
shortage" in Washington; moreover, it would enhance the visual character of the
neighborhood while further animating the streetscape.||en_US