This c, 1900 townhouse in Washington, DC has a wonderful connection to the public street, but unlike many period rowhouses of its ilk, it does not have the typical rowhouse garden giving onto a rear alley. Rather, this house abuts the rear alley with a non-code-conforming, two-story masonry structure containing a structurally deteriorated storage area with an unsound roof deck above.
With many zoning and code constraints guiding possible options, the goals were to: re-build the masonry structure in-kind; create a tiny urban garden that extends the interior living room to the out-of-doors; introduce passive solar strategies to admit and control daylight; and create a private urban alley-side roof garden.
A pergola, a trellis, a green screen, and a retractable canvas canopy make this west-facing urban terrace an oasis in the middle of a street of dense rowhouses.
The solution was to screen the roof terrace with a steel and mahogany trellis, a manufactured planting “wall”, and integral bench/planter. A retractable canvas sunshade protects the terrace from the western sun, thereby satisfying the need for a garden, shade and privacy.