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HHMI Receives 2012 AIA | DC Washingtonian Residential Design Award
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HHMI Receives 2012 AIA | DC Washingtonian Residential Design Award

Awarded by the Washington, DC chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and presented in the prestigious Washingtonian lifestyle magazine, the annual competition is judged by a panel of esteemed visiting architects. WDG’s design was honored at the Washington architectural community’s annual Garden party at the Arena Stage.

The HHMI Janelia Farm Apartments were built to house visiting scientists and their families. Consistent with a collaborative research community, the housing facility was designed with the intention of promoting community. Unique interior and exterior spaces encourage interaction in a relaxed non-work environment. The four-story building provides 60 one-and two-bedroom apartments.

Jurors praised the modern residential building for its commitment to environmental sustainability and compatibility with the preserved landscape of the former farm. The immediate site was carefully chosen, having been previously disturbed during construction of the main research building. The building also utilizes an array of innovative materials and low-impact environmental techniques.

The innovative building is organized into four metal-paneled “pods”, which are connected to a cementitious-paneled “spine” at 8-degree angles, resulting in a linear serpentine form, and, within, a series of shorter daylighted hallways. The shorter cross-axis reconciles a full grade level change, tucking parking beneath the superstructure and physically bridging to the upper playing fields beyond. Parking is further buffered by low walls of local riverstone found throughout the rest of the campus.

The modern exterior indicates a highly efficient rainscreen wall system, while the randomized pattern of fenestration on the pods was inspired by gene sequencing strips. All structural and non-structural walls were pre-fabricated and panelized. The composite concrete/steel floor joist system greatly improved durability and efficiency, while minimizing waste. These efforts have been rewarded with a coveted LEED®-Platinum for Homes™ certification.

WDG Managing Principal and Director of Design, Eric Liebmann, AIA, LEED AP, observed that, “The AIA|DC Washingtonian Award win is validation of WDG’s hard work and strategic efforts towards reinforcing the firm’s design acumen through the worst days of the recession. The firm’s recent growth guarantees that WDG’s designs will play a large role in establishing the character of the Washington metropolitan region for the 21st century.”

WDG Architecture recently started designing a second apartment structure on the Janelia Farms Campus. Building on the success of the award-winning building and working within the same modern design idiom, the second building modifies the original program by including large and luxurious top floor units for senior research directors.

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