The project, organized along a 19th century alley, was conceived as gallery space, design oriented retail, and residential apartments. As an extension of the Georgetown commercial experience, using both scale and materials - the project is designed to express its own unique identity in a well-established area of Washington, DC.
Opportunity Cady’s Alley, created as “design center west,” utilizes thirteen separate existing structures to establish a western gateway into Washington, DC from the Key Bridge. The project organized along a 19th century alley occupies most of a block of historic Georgetown and was conceived as gallery space, design oriented retail, and residential. The center is a part of a joint development effort contributing to neighborhood revitalization of what had been an underutilized and generally run-down portion of the Georgetown streetscape.
Creation The majority of the buildings began as two-story row structures fronting on M Street, the main retail spine in Georgetown, with a common rear property line on historic Cady’s Alley, a full level below. The rear appendages of the buildings were removed and replaced with contextual new construction that created frontage for the alley as well as a meaningful public space that orients the entire development. At the center of the block, M+J inserted an open passageway through one of the smaller existing buildings on M Street leading to a small courtyard open to the alley. The passageway draws pedestrian activity off of M Street into a mews environment. Offices and retail shops line the alley, increasing pedestrian traffic and establishing the alley itself with a sense of place.
The design concept acknowledges the light industrial design of the surrounding area. It incorporates appropriately scaled and detailed lintel elements over large windows and a mixture of masonry and natural stone materials for the infill structure. As an extension of the Georgetown retail experience, in both scale and material the project is designed to express its own unique identity in a well-established area of Washington. The facility is the centerpoint of a larger urban design initiative, connecting the alley to three other adjacent mixed use developments. Four architecture firms worked in collaboration on the larger concept which received a national AIA award for Urban Design. M+J’s project also won a Washington, DC AIA award for architectural merit.