Cathedral Mansions, a grand garden-style apartment building with over 400 units, was one of the first buildings constructed by Harry Wardman after D.C.'s 1920 zoning laws changed. Built in the Classical Revival style, the three buildings that make up Cathedral Mansions contains open landscaping meant to blend the man-made structures with the natural scenery found in the city.
With cities like New York and D.C. creating new zoning laws requiring open space in residential buildings, the grand garden building allowed for developers to continue to create larger apartment complexes while also retaining the natural landscape of their neighborhoods. Cathedral Mansions contained three separate buildings, with each having similar but distinct architecture that complemented one another. The buildings furthered the ability for more people to live and work in the city, with its location on Connecticut Avenue NW making it an optimal stop for the city's streetcar system. With the ability to commute using public transportation, apartment buildings like Cathedral Mansions became essential to creating "apartment corridors" where construction boomed during this time, especially after World War I concluded. Its success with the new zoning laws also made it an ideal location for future development in the area, with many buildings following suit in construction and design.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Cathedral Mansions North and Center were separately purchased and remodeled by different developers; Cathedral Mansions South was also purchased in the 1960s, but did not undergo the same level of remodeling as the others. Today, the buildings have a mixture of both commercial and residential units.
DC Inventory: May 17, 1989
National Register: September 9, 1994
This site is included on the D.C. Apartment Buildings tour as an example of a Grand Garden apartment building.