post by Catarina Ferreira, AIA

Our Porter House project, a ground up new construction contemporary house in Washington DC's Cleveland Park neighborhood, is about to go into construction. The DC Historic Preservation Office approved the razing of the existing 1950's house and the proposed design to replace it last year, the raze and construction permits have been issued, and the deconstruction work has begun. The existing house is being stripped down piece by piece by the non-profit charity organization Second Chance,, and many of the materials are being recycled.

Existing house being deconstructed

Existing house being deconstructed

Stay tuned for more images as the work progresses. For more images of the proposed design go to


post by Catarina Ferreira, AIA

While visiting a job site this morning we stumbled upon a nearby vacant building. Inside we found a cathedral of sorts: an almost empty shell, most of the floor framing removed, and the unique opportunity to experience a row house as a single volume with light piercing from various directions. The building will likely be converted to cookie cutter condominiums and the sublime nature of its current condition erased forever.

While we certainly have nothing against renovations, we wish there were more opportunities for maintaining some of the inherent beauty of these empty shells.


post by Catarina Ferreira, AIA

Our recently completed roof deck renovation in Washington DC's Adams Morgan neighborhood is an illustration of why design matters. By 'design' I don't mean just what meets the eye, but all aspects of the project, from the inside out.

An unusually small lot in a dense neighborhood made having a roof deck a necessity. The lot occupancy in this case is 100% (a variance was obtained to make that happen) and there is no other outdoor space to speak of. Unfortunately, the original roof deck was poorly built, with pressure treated framing directly on top of the roof membrane and permanent decking boards, which quickly led to serious problems. Many leaks developed, causing damage to the interior of the townhouse. We were hired to fix the problems by replacing the roof membrane, recommending repairs, and rebuilding the roof deck in a technically appropriate manner, while maximizing its usability. Accomplishing all of this was no small task, given that the project is in a historic district and there are strict zoning restrictions.

The new roof deck is a pedestal system on an extra thick TPO roof membrane, a more durable, accessible, and ultimately more repairable solution. A pergola was added, with built-in seating and an outdoor kitchen/bar. An existing hot tub was relocated and made more private, an outdoor fireplace and landscaping were also added along with slat screens around the rear of the deck (facing neighbors windows) for privacy screening and sound attenuation.

The new outdoor kitchen and lounge area, with green wall as privacy screen in rear.

Slideshow of Before Photos

A green wall designed by archi-TEXTUAL and constructed by Impact Construction.

Relocated hot tub + pergola makes better use of corner space.

The new pergola with green wall as privacy screen and built-in seating.