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Alice Pike Barney House, Smithsonian Institution

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1902, Waddy B. Wood. 2306 Massachusetts Ave. NW
  • Alice Pike Barney House, Smithsonian Institution (Franz Jantzen)

The most outstanding of Waddy Wood's houses on or near Sheridan Circle was designed for the socialite artist Alice Pike Barney and acquired intact with the artist's furnishings by the Smithsonian Institution in 1971. Its curvilinear gable, yellow stuccoedbrick exterior, and strapwork frames ornamenting the main door and two lobed, second-story windows give the house a Spanish flavor. All other openings are unframed, cut directly into the roughly textured planar walls. Wood's composition is an unusual one, as the windows on the two middle stories are not aligned horizontally: those in the center bay run from floor to ceiling, giving the center bay visual prominence that is reinforced by the recessed fourth-story loggia and the open arch set in the gable. The prominence is belied by the ground story, where the principal entrance (set deep within a fenced courtyard) on the left does not correspond to the central main axis. The secondary entrance on the right is given special attention by a mosaic set in the wall above it. Such informality of facade composition is in direct opposition to the prevalent architectural stateliness of the circle's Beaux-Arts buildings, as is its handcrafted appearance.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee


What's Nearby


Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "Alice Pike Barney House, Smithsonian Institution", [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, 345-345.

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