Historic Structures

Adams Building, Washington DC

Date added: September 22, 2010 Categories: Commercial

As an isolated entity, the Adams Building constitutes a pleasant example of the High Victorian Italianate style and contributes to the Landmark II Status of the 800 block of F Street. The facade presents an overall square proportion which could have proven very distruptive in a traditional environment where verticality tends to be dominant. Nevertheless, it has been cleverly treated so that it blends with the surrounding facades. The rise of the elevation is articulated into two stories and a shallow attic above the roof cornice. The resulting strong horizontality of the second story is altered by establishing an implied two bay division, each with an arcade of three segmental arched windows. To emphasize the expanse of the facade, however, the roof cornice and attic run the full width of the building without responding to the two bays below.

Bold, yet simple details enrich the facade in selected areas: around the second floor window, and at the roof parapet and cornice.

While the Adams is shorter than other buildings on the block, it retains the urban scale that characterizes this portion of F Street. Its cohesiveness with the environment is further established by the trios of second floor windows, a feature that occurs also on the LeDroit Building and on the F Street facade of the Atlas-Warder to the west. The height discrepancy of the Adams is mitigated by its adjacency to three-story buildings, which creates an acceptable transition between it and the taller buildings at each end of the block.

Overall dimensions: 34'8" X 70'; two bays wide; two stories and base; rectangular in shape.

Floor plans: In plan, this building appears to have been remodeled, causing great changes to its interior. The entire first floor is completely open. There is a central stairway leading to the basement and a stairway off the west wall leading to the second floor. An opening has been cut into the east party wall which leads into the adjacent building which has been combined with this building to house a single business.