Gates of Ballston
Gates of Ballston in Arlington, Va.
Award Type: Advisors' Award
After decades of heavy use, The Gates of Ballston, a 464-unit housing complex of low-rise, landscaped Colonial Revival-style buildings just outside the nation's capital in Arlington, Va., had an ideal location but a crumbling infrastructure. Built between 1938 and 1940, the complex had never been renovated, and each of the community's 45 two-story buildings had heating and air conditioning problems, outdated kitchens and bathrooms, leaking roofs, deteriorating walls and severe mold damage. The once-beautiful grounds had been neglected for 30 years.
Determined to maintain its stock of critically-needed affordable rental housing in the face of ever-increasing pressures for new development, Arlington County joined forces with a nonprofit housing developer, AHC Inc., to give The Gates a long-overdue makeover. Distinctive architectural details were restored, with sensitive additions to accommodate larger apartments; interiors were upgraded; new landscaping was installed, and a bright new community center was constructed. Today, more than 350 of the complex's units are rented at affordable rates.
"Approaching age 70, The Gates of Ballston is once again what its builders intended -- an inviting urban oasis, a place that welcomes people home," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "The developer and county officials who worked magic here deserve to be congratulated for saving The Gates from demolition and providing high quality, mixed-income housing for this diverse community."
Along with AHC Inc., co-recipients honored for the restoration of The Gates of Ballston are: Arlington County Housing Division; Collins & Kronstadt, AIA;; Traceries, Inc.; and Harkins Builders.