Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Protecting Party Walls

A New Jersey Avenue row house site is "bookmarked" by temporary joists supporting the party walls on either side. Note the "history" outlined on the wall of the building at the left where you can see room divisions and stairs. "If only the walls could talk."

New infill construction with a poured concrete foundation and basement wall on the right. Note the "white" barrier on the left side running beside the adjacent wall. This property is on N Street NW just near the North entrance to Blagden Alley. 

These are not party walls but conjoined walls. The building on the right is currently being constructed and the building on the left is slated to be torn down shortly and replaced by a Reatig project. These walls coexist but are not codependent. Yet if there had not been a "barrier" in place, there would have been significant adherence between the walls and potential for great damage when the basement walls of the building on the left were removed.

In another development (Naylor Court Stables) meticulous brick-by-brick dismantling of an adjacent wall progressively reveals 5 horse-head-height windows four of which had been covered for exactly 100 years! The "structural stars" were a common feature in freestanding buildings such as this one when they were originally constructed. A bolt and plate are under each window and correspond to a horse rein ring on the inside of the stable. You can see the wear and tear on these outer wall equine anchors as horses have tugged on them over the years. The inside rings have been preserved by the owners and have become conversation stimulating artifacts. 

Shilpi Paul has recently nicely profiled this building in its modernized configuration in an article in Urban Turf -  Live/Work Carriage House of Naylor Court

Before - (source - author)

After - (source - Urban Turf)

This is an excellent example of how preserving DC stables and other small Accessory Dwelling Units in DC alleys can create very practical and exciting alternate living options for those who eschew cookie-cutter-condos. 


Anonymous said...

The top vacant lot/construction site, is 1504 6th St NW (just north of P St) -- two blocks from NJ Ave. Are you certain it's a Reatig constrution? This has been a nuisance property for years:

Editor's Response: - the Reatig building is going to be on the left of the wall in the third photo. The upper photo is on NJ Ave. but the Reatig project is on N Street. Sorry for the confusion. Will edit the post.

shorifmiss said...

Part of me thinks this is a bullshit prosecution and another part of me thinks that this person may have been involved a lot more than they can prove right now.
We will know more after debriefing.

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