Custom Through-Body Color Highlights the Terra Cotta on 655 New York Ave in Washington DC

655 New York Avenue is an 11 story multi-use office and retail building, which is currently under construction in the Mount Vernon Historical District in Washington DC. Designed by Shalom Baranes Associates, this unique structure is comprised of 10 levels of office space, above ground retail, and 3 levels of below-grade parking. In order to maintain visual cohesion, the exterior facade uses a combination of glass and terra cotta that will part of a unitized curtainwall system installed by Ferguson Neudorf.  The terra cotta, manufactured by Boston Valley Terra Cotta, is a custom through-body color, which means that the clay has been specially formulated with a combination of clay, minerals, and stains, fired to achieve a unique color, forming a permanent bond. This project combines a historic construction material with a contemporary building solution, further blending the aesthetic of the area’s past and present into one.


655 New York Avenue, Washington DC, Douglas Development, Shalom Baranes Associates, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Mount Vernon Historic District, boston valley terra cotta

Rendering of 655 New York Ave courtesy of Shalom Baranes Associates.

For the owners at Douglas Development, this project has been a massive undertaking (view the time-lapse construction site video here). The process of bringing this structure to completion includes the acquisition of surrounding buildings and lots over an approximate 12-year time span and the relocation of 605 and 607 New York Avenue, two feats of modern preservation, which make the existence of 655 New York Avenue possible. While most of the historic buildings have been preserved during this project, four non-contributing structures were demolished to make room for the 756,000 square foot mega-complex. The new 655 New York Avenue sits comfortably among the 19 remaining historic buildings, which have undergone extensive restoration during the course of the new construction in order to become integrated into this new development.