Designed by Mihran Mesrobian in 1931 for Max Gorin, the president of the Southern Construction Company, Sedgwick Gardens is a significant Art Deco building. Mesrobian designed many significant buildings in Washington, including the Hay-Adams Hotel, Carlton Hotel, and Wardman Tower — the latter of which also includes a rare interior designation.
The highly decorated copper roof that crowns its central tower accentuates the focal point of the complex, and copper is also used on the opalescent lamps and fan motif below in the porte-cochère. Wrought iron railings along the roofline parapet add yet another decorative touch and provide variety as they alternate with the pinnacle stone panels which pierce the skyline.
The building also features a similarly elaborate interior. The lobby itself cost about half a million dollars, with more than two dozen pillars specially imported from Italy, each individually hand painted, glazed and baked. A marble fountain in the center was designed to be stocked with shimmering goldfish, and expensive dark-stained wood characterized the lobby's furniture and the reception desk.
All of Sedgwick Gardens' 116 units feature sun porches and bay windows, and larger apartments even included two bathrooms, considered an incredible luxury during the 1930s. Promotional brochures advertised the building's air conditioning unit, a complex cooling system that used pumps to circulate water through the building to carry unwanted August heat up and out through the roof. Combining Art Deco motifs with Byzantine and Moorish influence, Sedgwick Gardens is a transition from the medieval revival styles of the 1920s to the more explicitly Art Deco buildings of the 1930s.
DC Inventory: May 28, 2015
National Register: February 23, 2016