Wiles Mensch Corporation – DC (WM) provided surveying, civil engineering and landscape architecture services for the renovation and repurposing of an existing building located at 4401 Connecticut Avenue NW, into the new home for WAMU 88.5. WAMU 88.5 is a public radio and news station licensed to American University. The renovation transformed the seven-story building into a world class broadcast facility, complete with academic and administrative spaces. To help connect the station with the community, the ground floor of the renovated building was designed as a translucent showcase for live podcasts, video, and radio broadcasts.
WM completed the required survey work for the entire site and building. This included as-built information for the building, drive entrance and adjacent public space. With existing conditions in hand, WM’s civil team set out to address stormwater issues and deficiencies related to the existing utility infrastructure. Additionally, considerable grading was completed based on the nature of the facility, which allowed for a more level streetscape adjacent to the building. This included grading design that could ensure proper drainage and tie into the adjacent existing surrounding.
The WM landscape group worked closely with the civil team to develop a grading and streetscape terracing scheme that would fit the program, while providing additional planting, seating and access. The final scheme increased the greenspace, number of trees and seating options, that allowed for full DDOT public space acceptance. The final design also allowed an open flow of pedestrians through multiple staircases, where no access existed before.
The modernized space now properly accommodates the different needs of the station’s users including viewers, listeners, talent and hosts. The space is highly flexible to adapt to changing work needs and broaden the content, modalities and reach of this historic station.
WAMU 88.5 is the leading public radio station for NPR news and information in the greater Washington D.C. area.
Photos courtesy of: Gensler