The Aya

The Aya

Date: 2017 – 2020
Area: 53,005 ft² / 4,924 m²

Washington, DC

The Aya is an affordable short term family housing project commissioned by the District of Columbia Department of General Services as part of Mayor Bowser’s initiative to close aging, overcrowded facilities. Located in Ward 6, this neighborhood-based program provides a safe environment for women and children and provides access to service-enriched programming that assists them stabilize and exit homelessness.

Awards | Press

2020 AIA DC; Award of Excellence
2020 AIA DC Washingtonian; Distinctive Residential Architecture
2020 AIA DC; Grand Award Winner
2020 VA AIA; Merit Award for Excellence in Architecture

All photos copyright Hoachlander Davis Photography

The design of the building is a response to (1) a site situated on one of Pierre L’Enfant’s original arterial streets (2) a program consisting of small dwelling units and (3) the requests of the local neighborhood shareholders. Any new public housing project requires acceptance from the neighbors. Early community engagement was the key to both design and approval process success. The neighbors wanted a building with no specific front or back as well as keeping the existing clinic on site.

Studio Twenty Seven Architecture Ward 6 Short Term Family Housing The Aya

 

The building’s massing responds to the viewshed along Delaware Avenue SW. Delaware Avenue is an original arterial street in L’ Enfant’s city grid. The building has a ziggurat form that preserves the existing tree canopies and allows for maximum daylighting and views. The building is intended to complement the developing southwest Washington DC skyline while creating an optimal living experience for the tenants.

 

Each floor features a different organizing color to foster a sense of community and ease of orientation.

The program required seven to ten housing units per floor with community rooms, laundry, facilities, monitoring station, private and family bathrooms. The designers added outdoor play areas on each level to avoid taking children down the elevators to reach outdoor play. The ground floor includes a dining area, computer room, exam room, and administrative areas.

The facility houses 50 families in 7-10 housing units per floor with community rooms, private rooms, family bathrooms, and a federally qualified health service clinic in the lowest level. Wrap-around services provide to all tenants including connections to permanent housing programs, housing search assistance, social work staff, early childhood screening, school liaisons, education training, employment services, health care, financial aid, and budget management counseling.

Each floor features a different organizing color to foster a sense of community and ease of orientation.

Studio Twenty Seven Architecture Ward 6 Short Term Family Housing The Aya Site Plan

Each elevation of the building is uniquely different; the glassy north facade contains community rooms on each floor that look out towards the Capitol, the dynamic south facade frames the entrance to the health clinic, the calm east facade contains screened outdoor play spaces on each floor, and the stepped West facade creates a front lawn for each unit.

Studio Twenty Seven Architecture Ward 6 Short Term Family Housing The Aya