Morris Adjmi Architects

Atlantic Plumbing 2112

290,000 square feet
11 stories, 310 units
Washington, D.C.

Inspired by old industrial architecture, this contemporary apartment building is wrapped in a structural steel exoskeleton that features integrated planting beds and climbing vines, recalling the overgrown warehouses that once occupied the site, including the Atlantic Plumbing Supply Company.

Located at 2112 8th Street on the site formerly occupied by the Atlantic Plumbing Supply Company, this 11-story rental building is the first of four completed structures designed by MA in what is now referred to as “Atlantic Plumbing”, a four-building development within Washington, D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood.

The new building is essentially a glass box set within a Cor-Ten steel structural exoskeleton. The weathered, rust-colored cross-bracing—an industrial form that can be seen along the railroad tracks leading into the nation’s capital—gives the building a strong graphic identity and allows for open, loft-style apartments. In addition, it creates space to integrate landscaping: private garden plots, climbing vines, and planted terraces soften the building’s industrial character and recall the overgrown warehouses that once stood on the site.

The steel-encased glass volume rests on a gray brick base reminiscent of the warehouses that can still be found throughout the area. Instead of loading docks, the building incorporates large glass garage doors that lead to highly visible restaurants, a theater, and subsidized art studios that are regularly opened to the public and designed to overflow onto the sidewalks to increase pedestrian activity. A communal rooftop offers all tenants fully equipped kitchen and lounge spaces, outdoor entertainment areas, a swimming pool, and an outdoor screening area.

Bernd and Hilla Becher's photography of cooling towers was a tremendous source of inspiration for the project’s Cor-Ten exoskeleton.

Integrated plantings soften Atlantic Plumbing 2112’s façade. The concept was derived from the old, overgrown factories surrounding Washington, D.C. Many of the plants were harvested from abandoned lots in the neighborhood.

An interior garden wall brings the building’s overgrown factory aesthetic inside.

An original brick Atlantic Plumbing Supply Company sign that was built into the façade of the old warehouse was carefully reintegrated into the walls of Atlantic Plumbing 2112’s lobby. Masons reconstructed the original Atlantic Plumbing Supply Company sign before reinstalling it in the new building’s lobby.

On the roof level, Atlantic Plumbing 2112 offers residents a lounge with a kitchen and café seating areas, among other amenities. A large folding door opens the lounge to a landscaped terrace featuring private vegetable gardens.

Atlantic Plumbing 2112 is at the center of this isometric drawing. The multi-parcel development also includes three additional buildings designed by MA: “Atlantic Plumbing 2030”—a new condo building, seen at the bottom of the drawing and “901W”—a pair of mixed-use multifamily buildings connected by a sky bridge, shown at the top.