Photo courtesy of Hoachlander Davis Photography
When Wingate Hughes Architects was first commissioned by LaSalle Investment Management to re-design the third floor at 1620 L Street, NW, its perimeter rock-filled roof was an unlikely asset. We were tasked to make the entire floor a differentiator for the Washington, D.C. building, and we decided to take advantage of the underutilized square footage by retrofitting the third story with four office suites, increasing renting potential, and converting the rock- roof into a deck with shareable amenities. The roof deck became our game changer for the office space, and we replaced the wall bordering the roof with a 3-ton glass “garage”. This transformed the common room and roof into one continuous area. “We are no stranger to defying convention and helping clients rethink their space,” said Gavin Hughes Daniels, co-founding principal of Wingate Hughes. “The third floor’s new infinity office space is an oasis for 1620 L’s tenants in an otherwise hectic city, and the once 80 percent vacant building is now 90 percent occupied.”
Our design team let go of all traditional window and door ideas when determining how to open the patio to the common space. The impressive, 23-foot custom-glass “garage” wall operates effortlessly with a flip of a switch and a hydraulic lift, allowing the patio and the common space to become one. “Wingate Hughes did something for 1620 L that no one had thought of and created an infinity office space reminiscent of a pool that trails off to the horizon,” said Daniels. “Except, this isn’t vacation. It’s an urban retreat for today’s workforce to use daily, enabling productivity, offering balance, and enhancing work culture.” The whole building is invited to use the third floor’s common and roof space for work, play, and meetings.
To make the roof deck a reality, we created a raised platform level with the third floor and placed tile rimmed by grass turf on the new surface. We framed the patio and illuminated the large L-shaped couch with LED lights, selected a durable family-style picnic table for meetings and meals, and installed a community fire pit. In addition to the roof upgrades, the indoor common space has a shared pantry to encourage meeting new people, lightweight furniture to easily reconfigure for gatherings of varied sizes, walls with writable surfaces, a television that moves on a motorized track to make space for wall notes, shared conference rooms, and phone rooms.
Most importantly, though, 1620 L is home to the only infinity office space in D.C. – a true real estate diamond in the rough and an architectural D.C. office anomaly.