Sedgwick Gardens

Sedgwick Gardens designed by Mihran Mesrobian in 1931 for Max Gorin, president of the Southern Construction Company, is a significant Art Deco building.

The plan of this apartment complex consists of two U-shaped structures which join to form the lobby and entrance creating the overall effect similar to an E-shaped plan, which breaks at the central bar in the E forming a welcoming courtyard entrance with a massive porte cochere at the juncture of the two streets, Connecticut Avenue and Sedgwick Street. One U faces Connecticut Avenue with a large courtyard and the identical one faces Sedgwick Street. This arrangement forms four wings off the central core and allows for ample light and air to reach all of the apartment units. The back of the apartment complex (which forms a slight V) faces open garden space with a view over the Melvin Hazen Park.

The building is constructed of red brick with horizontal bands of white brick ornamenting the facade and giving it an Art Deco appearance. Indiana limestone is used for the more elaborate ornamentation and stone carving which includes the massive porte cochere with its tympanum of pierced stone forming an abstract lacey pattern, its statues of female guardian "angels", and various friezes with zigzag and floral patterns, the rose panel in the central tower with its pierced stone created by a zizag pattern, the bas relief figures struggling to break out of the stone panels, the carved peacock panels (a middle eastern symbol of eternal life), and the carved stone rose in a panel above the stone balcony. The highly decorated copper roof crowning the central tower accentuates the focal point of the complex. Copper is also used on the opalescent lamps and fan motif below in the porte cochere. Wrought iron railings along the roof-line parapet add yet another decorative touch and provide variety as they alternate with the pinnacled stone panels which pierce the skyline.

The interior is also very elaborate. The lobby itself cost about half a million dollars. "No expense or attention to detail was spared. More than two dozen pillars were specially imported from Italy. Each was individually hand painted, glazed and baked. In the center was a marble fountain stocked with shimmering goldfish. The reception desk and the lobby furniture was Grafted from expensive dark stained wood.

All of Sedgwick Gardens' 116 units have sun porches and bay windows. Two baths, considered an incredible luxury during the 30's, were included in the larger apartments. Promotional brochures advertised the buildings's air conditioning unit, a complex cooling system which used pumps to circulate water through the building to carry unwanted August heat up and out through the roof." Sedgwick Gardens with its Byzantine and Moorish influence combined with Art Deco motifs provides a transition from the medieval revival styles of the 1920's represented by Tilden Gardens and the Broadmoor to the more explicitly Art Deco buildings of the 1930s represented by the Uptown Theater and the Macklin Apartments in Cleveland Park.

This apartment building retains its integrity and is a significant landmark along Connecticut Avenue with its prominent porte cochere and tower on the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Sedgwick Street for all who are walking or driving along Connecticut Avenue to see. It is a building which not only addresses the corner - it celebrates it with an extraordinary exuberance.

National Register Nomination: February 2016



3726 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008