West Half by ODA New York is a multi-use complex that combines architecture, interior design and landscape design to promote environmentally-friendly construction and harness a sense of community. Located in Washington, D.C.’s Navy Yard, the 10-story project takes up a full city block and consists of 465 apartments, outdoor terraces and an inner courtyard, among several other amenities. While the top eight levels are strictly residential, the bottom two connect with the community at the street level through restaurants and retail.

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Glass building at the corner of a street with balconies that pop out.

The building consists of volumes with bright yellow underbellies that playfully cantilever off each other in a horseshoe around a central courtyard. This push and pull effect creates terraces and balconies with views directed north towards the Capitol Building and south to Nationals Park. Since the floors are stacked to maximize the number of terraces and enhance the cascading effect of the pop-outs, the facade tapers in towards the courtyard as it ascends, creating a similar effect to the ballpark stands in the Nationals stadium close by.

Related: Green terraces intersect a mixed-use tower in Shenzhen

Glass building with pop out balconies.

Innovative eco-friendly strategies make an appearance in the terraces and are the grounds for the building’s LEED Gold Certification. Cisterns harvest water to irrigate West Half’s many gardens. Extensive green roof systems cover 50% of the roof and require minimal irrigation and maintenance. Through the built-in planters on the roof and balconies, the facades grow and adapt to the changing seasons.

Narrow courtyard at the center of glass building with balconies extending overhead.

The interior of the mixed-used development carefully considers human scale and experience. A rich material palette, natural light and optimal airflow have all been taken into consideration to make the spaces feel fresh and energetic. A blur between interior and exterior conditions is created through layers of transparency using floor-to-ceiling glazing and glass balustrades.

Entry lobby with groups of orange and green armchairs and person at a long wood reception desk.

JBG Smith, the developer, expressed that “the main challenge of the project was to develop an innovative approach that would comply with the strict Washington D.C. regulations for privately developed buildings, while creating something iconic for the neighborhood.”

Outdoor lounge with pool overlooking the Washington D.C. cityscape.

Because of the bustling surroundings, ODA and JBG Smith wanted the development to encourage richer, collective experiences for residents, stadium visitors and tourists. “This building is an expression of what the future of urban living can be,” said Eran Chen, founder and chief architect at ODA.

+ ODA New York

Images by Scott Frances