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Cafritz Building

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1949–1950, LeRoy L. Werner. 1625 I St. NW

One of the earliest speculative office buildings to be constructed in Downtown West after the close of World War II, the Cafritz Building also provided for one third of the building's area to be turned over to parking spaces at the center of the building with offices around the perimeter. When complete, a large compressor in the penthouse fed air throughout the windowless garage core to ventilate the interior space.

The main facade, facing I Street, was designed with elements that recall the Streamline Moderne period of the pre–World War II years. Above that base, the facade is divided into a central section of fourteen bays flanked by sections of ribbon windows that extend around the corners. The corner window treatment provides a sense of weightlessness to the rest of the facade, where a solid limestone wall is punctuated with simple sash windows. The polished granite sheathing of the first floor is the only vestige of the older classical treatment of office facades that were divided into base, shaft, and entablature.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee


What's Nearby


Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "Cafritz Building", [Washington, District of Columbia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of the District of Columbia, Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 221-222.

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