After 20 years sitting vacant in Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill Historic District, the southern portion of Bridgeport Hospital has been stripped of its later additions and revived as 700 Constitution, a modern and fully amenitized apartment community that retains its historic 1920s red-brick exterior.

As it stood, the building presented several challenges to adaptive reuse. The high-pressure boiler and switchboard gear still served Bridgeport Hospital’s operational north wing, and the team was required to construct a replacement central utility station before construction could begin. Then, since the original architectural and structural drawings had been disposed of by hospital staff, the design and development teams had no record of the original layout or site conditions. This led to the rediscovery of hidden architectural features as additions were removed, including original exterior walls and Palladian-style windows.

Restoration work included repairs to historic brickwork and entrance canopies, replacement of decorative cast stone features, and removal of aluminum cladding over historic cornices. A new pedestrian entry plaza takes after the hospital’s historic drop-off, with upgraded tree wells, new perimeter fences, streetlights, and monument signage.

The building’s historic layout provides large windows and high ceilings for its new spaces. The interior has undergone a roof-to-basement renovation to meet the needs of modern renters, with a fitness center, a community room, a yoga studio, an e-lounge, a package delivery system, and a rooftop deck with grills and bioretention gardens.

The hospital floors have been reconfigured to support 139 studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartment units, with greater room depths and narrowed corridors. The new interiors reflect a mix of the building’s original classic architecture, with ornate light fixtures and elegant millwork, with contemporary interior features, including floor-to-ceiling windows with stark black frames.

While the street-facing façade had to meet historic preservation standards, the design team, including Reston, Va.-based Architecture, Inc., was able to create a more contemporary plaza and balcony overlook facing the back. The plaza sits over two levels of new below-grade parking and features a pergola, a fire pit, and lounge seating for resident use.

One of the first projects approved under the District’s Stormwater Management Regulations, its green roof areas and landscape planters serve to hold stormwater and reduce runoff. A large concrete vault on-site has been converted into an underground infiltration vault, with permeable pavers installed overhead to catch and retain surface runoff.