The West Square project is designed to reinforce and enhance the existing urban fabric and to accentuate the public space while addressing the length of the block on West First and West Second Streets. A strong urban edge is provided while a generous setback allows for a large but yet urban green buffer between the residential units and the public realm. The setback encourages wider sidewalks that will enhance the pedestrian experience around the entire block and will serve as an impetus to the design of the adjacent blocks therefore creating a comfortable and vibrant pedestrian network throughout the neighborhood.
The length of the block along West First and West Second Streets is mitigated by anchoring the corners with distinctive buildings. The use of individual residential entrances on West Second Street addresses the scale and character of the street and enhances the pedestrian experience. Residential units face all streets including West First Street in anticipation of the planning of West First Street as a walkable mixed use residential street. The parking structure is fully wrapped by the residential building with the exception of the entrance on West First Street. The façade of the garage provides the opportunity for a different architectural language that contributes to the proportioning of the long façade while deemphasizing the use.
Multiple entrances to the building are strategically located to encourage continuous activity around the block. The main lobby and the residential amenities are located on D Street allowing for a more public, transparent façade reminiscent of retail storefronts. In addition, and if future demand warrants, flexibility will be built in to transform the ground floor residential units on D Street to retail. The secondary entrances are located close to the corner of C Street and West Second Street for people coming from the Broadway Metro Station; and near the corner of West First Street and D Street to provide a pedestrian connection on that side of the block. The lobbies are very transparent and attempt to give a glimpse into the interior courtyards from the side walk. The lobbies are recessed from the face of the building allowing a deeper and wider open space at those locations.
The massing and architecture takes its cues from the building layout strategy and provide a rhythm and articulation that breaks the long side of the block while emphasizing the corners at West First Street and D Street, and West Second and C Street. The scale of the building although modest is further alleviated by the use of three story projections, particularly along West Second Street, that provides a continuous datum of approximately thirty-five feet above the sidewalks. The reduction in height of the building projections helps integrate the building to the overall scale of the neighborhood while keeping a strong identity as the new comer on the block.