A DC architecture firm wants Washingtonians to reconsider alleys

3D viewfinders used in self-guided tours. Photo by Liz Gorman, on loan from EL Studio.

The local architectural firm EL Studio wants people to rethink alleys, and that’s it hosted an “Alley Hop” on Nov. 11 in Columbia Heights to showcase the potential of passengers to become living and social spaces.

From kl. 14.00-16.00, three prototype spawning environments in scale will be exhibited at the pop-up, which is located in what will be a spawning home between the Girard and Fairmont streets, northwest. Just outside, visitors can take maps and 3-D seekers into certain nearby alleys to see their past, present and possible futures (community gardens, venues for public art and stages for performances are a few options).

This month’s outing explores the hidden obstacles to development in Columbia Heights. These include zoning issues, elevation limits, usage restrictions, parking issues, and supply access.

EL Studios location in Naylor Court. Photo by Liz Gorman, on loan from EL Studio.

The company estimates that more than 82,000 single-family homes in DC have spawning fronts, which could mean room for 187,900 new residents whose spawning housing was added. By showing communities what development could look like, they hope to gain support for the idea. “Designing public spaces is a slow process,” says Elizabeth Emerson, co-founder of EL Studio. “You have to get involved in the community. You have to have the community buy-in.”

They also say that’s why the whole “Alley Hop” experience is designed for ordinary residents, not just architecture and urban planning geeks. “This has to be something that your grandmother could use and understand,” Emerson says.

Sign up for free here.

Zach Bright

Zach joined the Washingtonian in October 2021. He has previously written for The Colorado Sun, The Nevada Independent and SRQ Magazine.

Leave a Comment