Dezeen Magazine

Adjaye DC rendering

Adjaye Associates begins transformation of historic Washington DC power plant

Architecture studio Adjaye Associates has broken ground on its project converting the West Heating Plant and Coal Yard in Washington DC into luxury residences and a private park.

Sited on a slip of land between three waterways in the Georgetown neighbourhood in northwestern Washington DC, the project comprises the conversion of a 1940s federal building into luxury residences for international hotel group Four Seasons.

Adjaye DC
Adjaye Associates has broken ground on a power station conversion in Washington DC

The design will preserve many aspects of the original moderne-style building – a six-storey structure designed by American architect William Foster Dewey to house machinery that supplemented the supply of steam heat to federal buildings in the capital city.

"I believe that architecture presents opportunities for transformation and this project proved to be a great example where I was able to respect the history of the West Heating Plant by re-designing it from the inside out," said Adjaye Associates founder David Adjaye.

Adjaye DC structure
The design maintains elements of the original build

According to renderings released by the studio, the design will preserve the monumental squared arch at the end of the structure, restoring it and adding textural details to the light-coloured brick facade.

The sides of the building will be outfitted with new metalwork facades that give "expression to a materiality reflective of the existing building's steel frame, recalibrated within 21st-century systems" according to the studio.

The metal facade on DC design
The studio will implement a metal facade

The shades will be operable to modulate air and light flow and are meant to "reference the heating plant's mechanized components".

Inside, the studio will install a new lobby area with floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the original brick of the site alongside modern details such as a monumental stone fireplace.

Louvres inside will mirror those on the facade and run through the public areas of the building as well as the private ones, which include a reading room and 70 luxury condominiums.

Adjaye Associates will also install a pool for use by residents with an elongated vaulted ceiling with an inset in the middle that reaches up towards skylights.

A public park, designed by Philadelphia-based Olin Studio, will connect to adjacent Georgetown Waterfront Park and Rock Creek Parks and cover the property's parking areas.

Around the property will be a brick wall that is similar to the one used for the foundation of the original building.

Developed by the Levy Group, the project is due for completion in late 2024.

Other projects by Adjaye Associates in Washington DC include the renowned African American Museum, which opened in 2016.