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urban townhouse terrace

This c, 1900 townhouse in Washington, DC has a wonderful connection to the public street, but unlike many period rowhouses of its ilk, it does not have the typical rowhouse garden giving onto a rear alley. Rather, this house abuts the rear alley with a non-conforming-to-code, two-story masonry structure containing a structurally deteriorated storage area with an unsound roof deck above.

With many zoning and code constraints guiding possible options, the goals were to: re-build the masonry structure in-kind; create a tiny urban garden that extends the interior living room to the out-of-doors; introduce passive solar strategies to admit and control daylight; and create a private urban alley-side roof garden.

The solution was to screen the roof terrace with a steel and mahogany trellis, a manufactured planting “wall”, and integral bench/planter. A retractable canvas sunshade protects the terrace from the western sun, thereby satisfying the need for a garden, shade and privacy.