Forest Hill Residence

Washington, DC

The existing two-level home was long ago designed by a pedigreed local architect and had undergone a series of expansions over the years. At street level, one perceived it as a discreet, single story brick structure, yet because of its position on a hillside, the lower level dramatically opened out to a stone terrace and Rock Creek Park beyond.
Stylistically, the architecture drew on Modernist & Bauhaus influences, going beyond enclosing interior spaces to create a broader embracement of nature beyond, blurring boundaries between indoors and outdoors. The client wanted a third level addition to accommodate new family bedrooms, while the lower levels would be opened up for use as a large family room, studio and guest suite. The interior of the house was opened as much as possible, eliminating the rabbit warren of rooms and corridors.
Our goal was to renovate and expand the house, dramatically altering every space, but with respect for the design vision of the original build. Structural support for the third level addition was designed to behave like an “exoskeleton”, attaching itself to the exterior of the existing structure. Materials for the addition reflect a lighter panelized and glazed curtain wall system to contrast from the austere brick structure below. The resulting space is one that both recedes and embraces the house’s existing character while letting the addition soar beyond.
Photos by Greg Powers.