New DC office buildings are generally the province of top-tier law firms, meant to communicate power rather than comfort. But the approach to the design of Signal House—a new office building near Union Market—reflects a different point of view, blurring the lines between asset classes and applying a hospitality lens to the building’s shared spaces. Partnering with Carr Properties and Gensler, our team delivered a place imbued with a deep sense of personality and local pride.
Evoking a contemporary, warehouse-inspired vibe that nods to the surrounding neighborhood, Signal House was designed to be a warm, inviting space where people would love spending time. From the concierge-like desk that greets visitors in the lobby to tenant-branded pennants in the fitness center, every touchpoint was carefully considered. At the penthouse level, a mirrored and skylit elevator lobby is a portal to a dazzling collection of shared spaces—including a large multipurpose room, catering room and display kitchen, and three-sided wraparound terrace with DC skyline views.
At a time when the office market was in turmoil, the efforts to create a visionary project paid off. Not only did Signal House achieve a rapid lease-up within the context of the COVID era, it did so while attracting marquee tenants including a Stephen Starr restaurant, Industrious coworking spaces, and TikTok’s first DC office location.
The team used music to thematically connect three smaller spaces at the penthouse level, making each suitable for meetings and more—the recording studio is also perfect for podcasts, the karaoke room has a full setup but is also a prime Zoom room for small teams, and the DJ booth has a turntable setup and a record collection sourced from nearby Birdland Records.
Acoustic considerations informed notable elements of the décor: we developed an STC-rated operable wood-framed wall system and commissioned Studio Herron for a series of 82 custom jacquard textile panels to control sound and lend a graphic punch to the spaces.
Streetsense carefully considered the needs of event attendees, vendors, and workers in the building’s support spaces. The lineup includes a full catering suite concealed behind a commercial kitchen with a wood-burning stove, a broad bar with an indoor-outdoor connection, single-user restrooms with a variety of bold wallcoverings, and a parenting room and changing tables for family-friendly appeal.
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