Gentrification of US Navy Residence, Washington D.C.

Here in Toronto, we hear a lot about gentrification, the conversion of older neighbourhoods to upscale condominiums, workplaces and retail spaces. The phenomenon is both intensely local, and international in scope. Everywhere, it seems, particular types of neighbourhoods, such as dockside industrial areas, are no longer required to serve the uses for which they were created, and are being retooled for new inhabitancies in the information age.

Laqfoil recently played a small part in one such massive endeavour in Washington, D.C.

Laqfoil’s Custom Fabricated Ceiling Panels

Wikipedia lists the Washington Navy Yard as the U.S. Navy’s longest continuously operated federal facility, and Navy Yard as Washington’s earliest industrial neighbourhood. A bustling -mid 1940s the Navy Yard and the expanded Annex area reached peak production with 26,000 employees in 132 buildings on 127 acres (0.51 km2) of land. Following the Second World War, the land requirements of the Navy shrank, and the Navy Yard consolidated its operations to a smaller campus, freeing up a sizable amount of land for redevelopment.

Kaid Benfield, Special Counsel for Urban Solutions, Washington, DC, continues the story:

“In 2004, the 42-acre site of The Yards, including several historic industrial buildings, was transferred by the federal government to Forest City Washington for redevelopment… Washington, DC is finally getting a green waterfront development to be proud of. A 42-acre redevelopment along the Anacostia River, The Yards will comprise some 1.8 million square feet of office space, 400,000 square feet of retail and cultural spaces, 2,700 rental and for‐sale homes, and a significant riverfront park and esplanade. With a great in-town location along a Metro line and only a few blocks from the US Capitol, and with some excellent green features, the project has been certified gold under the LEED for Neighbourhood Development pilot program.”

Blogger Jacqueline Dupree has chronicled the development and shows here how a historically significant watchtower and wall were left in place, and has a great map of the area here.

Twelve12 apartments, located at 1212 4th Street SE, is part of this massive redevelopment, and where, in August, Laqfoil installed a series of custom-fabricated ceiling panels covered with our incredibly versatile stretch ceiling membrane in the lobby.

Here, you can see what the lobby looked like before, as photographed by Ms. Dupree. This time, stretch ceiling was not used to create a different look, as it so often is, but rather to maintain the original design intention for the space after it was discovered that a panelled ceiling would be required in order to create maintenance access to the building’s systems.

We created a system of approximately 60 panels mounted to framework behind rather than sitting on the framework as with a standard dropped acoustic panel ceiling, so the framework is invisible and the ceiling panels fit snugly to each other, while taking up a minimal amount of room height. Six of them are mounted with magnets so as to be removable for access. It was important to our client for all of the lines between panels to be nearly invisible, and we were able to execute this specification perfectly.

–Esther Yates-Abrams

Marketing + Communications, Laqfoil Ltd.

20 Magnetic Dr., Unit # 2
Toronto, Ont. M3J 2C4
Canada

info@laqfoil.com

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