Embassy Building No. 10

Embassy Building No. 10 was designed by architect George Oakley Totten, Jr. in 1928 and built in 1929-1930.

The building was designed to incorporate both public and private domestic activities. The symmetry of the facade belies the actual form and plan, designed for the wedge-shaped lot situated in the acute angle formed by the intersection of Lament and Sixteenth Streets, N.W. The three-story building is massed as two gabled units of unequal length, with a circular pavilion marking the point of intersection. An irregularly-shaped infill addition is situated between the two units at the rear.

Embassy Building No. 10, used since 1940 as the headquarters for the District of Columbia Department of Recreation, is significant for its association with Mary Henderson end with George Oakley Totten, Jr. It reflects the tail end of the development activity along Sixteenth Street that created a luxurious ambiance in the vicinity of Meridian Hill Park and Mt. Pleasant at the turn of the century. Embassy Building No. 10 is highly typical of Totten's work, which has been characterized by a willingness to employ numerous styles and rich ornamentation. The facade of the building serves as a catalogue of features associated with the late Victorian Chateauesque style.

Major features of No. 10 's facade include the distinctively high-pitched roofs, round corner pavilion, profusion of decorative dormers, and liberal distribution of Gothic motifs. The interior detailing, however, with the exception of the main staircase, abandons the facade style in favor of neoclassical ornamentation.

DC designation: October 15, 1986
National Register listing: November 6, 1986

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3149 16th Street, NW