The Hecht’s Company Warehouse is an iconic DC building, an Art Deco gem. It was built by the Hecht’s Department Store and until recently had been in a sad state of deterioration. It is now being renovated – into apartments. What a change – soon people will be cooking in their homes where before a railroad moved goods across the warehouse. What would this all look like?
A great jolt of excitement spread through me as I read an e-mail saying that the Art Deco Society of Washington had arranged a tour of the conversion – which was ongoing. The warehouse is a construction site, so I put on my hard hat and was absolutely enthralled.
This conversion is flagship and sympathetic. Two people who worked for the Contractors took us round, and were extremely enthusiastic: as they said, doing a conversion for such a well-known building is a unique experience. How was it keeping the nature of the building – and even building onto that atmosphere?
Structurally, a fair amount of the glass had to be replaced – I think they have five glass contractors. You can see from the full photo above that there’s a huge amount of glass, especially those bottle glass type windows. Corning found the original mold for it! They were able to cast new glass from the original mold and just pop it in. There were many tales like this.
The lobby is wonderful with a huge, found art installation made from elevator cogwheels, furnace doors and other wonderful industrial parts. Looking up at it – it’s huge – gives a thrill. What could have been a better focal point for the lobby?
The sculpture for the outdoor courtyard.
The units themselves are almost all unique, using to full effect the warehouse’s own features. This is a bedroom.
The units’ interior design is inventive – I love this metal pantry door, almost like a meat locker! They kept the concrete floor and buffed it up a treat.
There are different size apartments and if you like, you can enjoy the incredible view from the top floor – and when it’s finished, you’ll have your own outdoor space too. How about a view of the fantastic design at the corner of the roof?
I’m am intrigued and mostly delighted by the way warehouses are no longer crumbling but are becoming homes. I personally enjoy how industrial design is being interpreted in these conversions. Do you like industrial design or are you more in favor of warm wood? Whatever your vibe, let’s work together to create your glorious designs.