Façade Redesign 2118 Washington Avenue
A bustling center of industry and commerce in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Washington Avenue declined in the 1970s and 1980s when the manufacturing industry relocated. In the 1990s, the industrial character of Washington Avenue attracted the attention of investors sparking a new wave of development. Today, restaurants and cafes delineate the west side of Washington Avenue encroaching on the last built vestiges of the avenue’s industrial past, and filling empty lots with new buildings, visible signs of the avenue’s changing identity.
Attempting to reconcile Washington Avenue’s industrial ethos with a contemporary commercial building’s aesthetic and functional requirements, dMAS designed a new façade for an existing structure that references the massing and signage of the 19th-century factory buildings that still line the avenue. The concept for the façade sought to participate in reinventing this important corridor while also addressing its historical importance and its unique identity as a Philadelphia neighborhood.
New cladding and fenestration will update the façades of the existing 19th-century masonry and timber industrial building and its neighboring masonry and steel frame structure. A new exterior plaster skin and continuous insulation designed to exceed current energy code requirements will replace the deteriorating existing corrugated polycarbonate siding and stucco veneer. Existing window openings and strategically placed new openings will receive new thermally broken window and storefront systems with operable sash and low-e coated glazing to promote natural ventilation and reduce energy demand. Translucent and transparent glazing create a dynamic and unified façade along the Washington Ave commercial corridor.