Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Modernism in Your Neighborhood

Project 4 Gallery has always been a bastion for great modern art and design. It's old digs were way cool and a great addition to the U street neighborhood. Just down the street is where they recently moved. It is in the Hamiltonian Building at 1354 U Street NW. This building housed a gallery on the first floor, two architecture firms on the upper floors and the fabulous new location for Project 4. The original facade of the building is a simple brick face, with a great storefront presence on the street. Enter the side door and go up two flights of stairs in a stairway with exposed brick and minimalist lighting. A person walking by on the street would never have any idea what the person in walking up the stairs is about to experience. Pass through the door marked Project 4, you venture outside onto a rooftop courtyard. Facing you is a two story glass and metal clad box, perched way above the street. Simple curtain wall divisions make a simple play of geometry and transparency along the facade. Once inside, the first level of the gallery is partially open to the second level above, with a network of catwalks and perches. The art is experienced in horizontal and vertical instances. Loft-like and almost doorless, the interior spaces play off of the perception of volume, light and view. The entire building is a great study on massing, modern materiality, transparency, spatial perceptions, and incorporating modern architecture into an existing historic fabric. Way cool. Go take a look for yourself.


  1. Hey - it was good to catch up with you during that opening. I enjoy your blog and it's up-to-date coverage of the local scene. Good work and I'll definitely be back for more.

    Just one comment on this article: It wouldn't be a bad thing to credit the architect for this little roof-top gem. Why not put a name in there?


  2. Yes, I agree giving architects credit for great work is important. Our blog wants to focus it's commentary mainly on the actual architecture, and not the architect or firm. We will try to incorporate the architect's name in the future for the reader's references. Thanks.