Vizcaya Apartments, formerly known as the Chilchester Arms, is a conventional low-rise apartment building, built in 1936. Designed with Moderne stylistic elements, such as geometric brick and stone ornamentation and Deco-inspired setbacks, these elements illustrate the restrained emergence of architect George T. Santmyers’ (1889-1960) style away from strictly classical revival forms. The location of the building also reflects the growth of transportation networks and residential construction patterns in the interwar period, as the population of the city expanded north from the center of DC.
The building’s location along the bustling corridor of Fourteenth Street is representative of the efficient housing solutions in response to the rapidly expanding DC population. Between World War I and World War II, the federal government’s expansion brought many employees to the area. Without adequate numbers of single-family houses, architects constructed apartment buildings as suitable alternatives, effectively reshaping DC’s once-rural landscape north of Florida Avenue.
DC Inventory: June 8, 2016