20131200 17th WDC

Washington DC

ZGF Architects, Bob Frasca

Client: Akridge Real Estate

Bob Schofield    Vice President, Development - Director Design & Construction


Bridging between the private and the public realm

Working with Christine on the development of a unique glaze for our terra cotta building finish was a wonderful experience. She was well-prepared, artistically inspired, supremely clear in her recommendations and explanations, and extremely accommodating in her response to the building owner’s very precise aesthetic and technical requirements. Christine began the design process by carefully examining the goals for the building, as expressed both by the owner and the architect. She meticulously recorded our ideas and expectations, and offered a thoughtful range of possible glazes that pursued different ideas for color, texture, and finish. Christine’s close attention to the client’s concerns, together with her resourceful and inventive responses, produced a wonderful building finish that is elegant, alluring, and completely original. The owners are delighted with the results, and the project is widely regarded as one of the most interesting new office buildings in the city.

 The clients goal is to create visual enjoyment at the level of use, creating depth in the facades. The building bridges between the private and public realm to give something to people to look at. The buildings skin is important in terms of engagement and a vibrant part of the location. The context is socially, rediscovering architecture as a positive force in people's lifes, really adding something to the public realm.


The buildings skin is important in terms of engagement. This high end office building sits at the point of transition between a commercial  precinct characterized by large scale, monolithic office buildings, and an old residential precinct comprised of small-scale urban houses built of brick, with fine texture and detail. The building attempts to bridge between the two in terms of scale, texture, and color. 


ZGF architects WDC/NYC


The desire of the client is a good texture and an earthy atmosphere in the color, in the rose and brown tones. The nuances should still be visible from a distance.

  • R&D

    the search for complexity in the glaze - in collaboration with Boston Valley Terra Cotta

  • CIMG2966.JPG
  • CIMG3160.JPG
  • review with client

    ongoing research

  • WDC 1200 17th Bob's comment illustrated.JPG
  • construction

    cladding with ceramic elements, produced by BVTC, USA

"Most important is the color and gloss that comes from the glaze – it’s a bright, colorful, unforeseen experience in an otherwise sober and monochromatic setting"

Bryan cannon, ZGF architect

"The owners are delighted with the results, and the project is widely regarded as one of the most interesting new office buildings in the city."

ZGF architects


The development in architectural ceramics is a continuous updating in terms of relationships between ceramics and architecture.


  • Excellence in Office Development Award - ULI Honors
  • Chapter Design Award for Detail in Architecture - AIA DC