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Ralph J. Bunche House

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1941, Hilyard R. Robinson. 1510 Jackson St.
  • Ralph J. Bunche House (Franz Jantzen)

Robinson focused on public housing and educational complexes (see NE02) during his long career as an educator and practicing architect in Washington. Single-family houses were uncommon in his oeuvre, the most notable having been erected for fellow Howard University professor Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, who later achieved national fame as a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and undersecretary of the United Nations. Robinson designed a two-story brick residence with shallow hip roof employing the vocabulary and planning principles of the International style that he had witnessed firsthand in Europe. As such it was one of Washington's first modern buildings, a modest house with entry not on its southfacing facade but on the west, behind a brick wall that spans the lot and divides it into a public front yard and private patios. The front facade's asymmetrical composition utilizes five stock rectangular sash windows and one circular one deriving architectural distinction by their placement and interrelationships. Three are grouped together on the ground story to indicate the public nature of the room they light, a reference to International style strip windows. Those on the second story are placed near the house's corners to emphasize both Robinson's abstract facade composition and the private nature of the bedroom story.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee


What's Nearby


Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "Ralph J. Bunche House", [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, 285-285.

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