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Embassy of Turkey (Edward H. Everett House)

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Edward H. Everett House
1910–1915, George Oakley Totten, Jr. 1606 23rd St. NW
  • Embassy of Turkey (Edward H. Everett House)

Sheridan Circle's largest mansion is also its most picturesque, a mélange of Frenchinspired elements spreading 91 feet along its north-south axis with its widest east-west segment (66 feet) balanced precariously on the edge of Rock Creek Park. The main, eastfacing, facade is dominated by an imposing central block with a conservatory and roof garden addition to the south. One barely perceives the thin wedge on the north, added to present a suitable facade oriented to the circle. The long west side overlooking the park is multifaceted, as the site is very irregular, and its many projections allow for extensive vistas. In these asymmetries Totten attempted to fuse formality with a picturesque composition, perhaps intending to suggest that the structure had grown by accretions over time. The more open portion at the south end is not sufficiently subordinate to the main block, and its local symmetries are at odds with the building's overall asymmetrical organization.

With its broad semicircular frontis-piece enriched by a giant Corinthian colonnade, the Everett house recalls numerous late eighteenth-century chateaux. This same basic arrangement had been used by Benjamin Henry Latrobe in his alterations to James Hoban's south facade of the White House (see WH03, p. 152); comparison of the two buildings indicates how differing window patterns and surface treatment can create such widely divergent designs using the same envelope. Shallow sculpted details of arabesques, pilasters, and friezes are derived from the vocabulary of French Renaissance architecture, and their delicate treatment on a small scale contrasts sharply with the size of the building they ornament. Increasing openness in the fenestration from the basement to the third story of the main block is accompanied by increasingly ornate detailing, resulting in a somewhat top-heavy composition.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee
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Citation

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "Embassy of Turkey (Edward H. Everett House)", [Washington, District of Columbia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/DC-01-SK15.

Print Source

Buildings of the District of Columbia, Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 344-345.

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