This ten-story rental building, Atlantic Plumbing’s first completed structure, is located at 2112 8th Street on the site formerly occupied by the Atlantic Plumbing Supply Company. It is essentially a glass box set within a Cor-Ten steel structural exoskeleton. The weathered, rust-colored crossbracing—a familiar industrial form that can be seen along the railroad tracks leading into the nation’s capital—not only gives the building a strong graphic identity, it allows for open, loft-style apartments and provides space to introduce a natural element. Integrated planting beds, private garden plots, climbing vines and landscaped terraces soften the building’s industrial character and recall the overgrown warehouses that once occupied the site. A site-specific artwork inspired by the infamous “gum wall” at the 9:30 Club, the historic music venue located next door, further ties the building to the history of its neighborhood.
Many of Atlantic Plumbing’s apartments feature private terraces and balconies set within the Cor-Ten bracing, but the views are even better on the communal rooftop, which offers all tenants fully equipped kitchen and lounge spaces, outdoor entertainment areas, a swimming pool and an outdoor screening area. The steel-encased glass volume rests on a gray brick base reminiscent of the warehouses that once stood on the site and can still be found throughout the area. Instead of loading docks, its industrial-style windows and large glass garage doors open to highly visible restaurants, a theater and subsidized art studios that are reg-ularly opened to the public and designed to overflow onto the sidewalks to increase pedestrian activity. The building’s address is writ large on its facade in contrasting recycled brick, a homage to the original black-and-white brick “Atlantic Plumbing Supply Company” sign that was built into the facade of the old warehouse and has been carefully reintegrated into the brick walls of Atlantic Plumbing’s lobby.