hip hyattsville: shout across the roof decks

It doesn’t take long for the edginess to grow tiresome at Arts District Hyattsville. This is part THREE of a series on Hyattsville, the “Silver SprUng” of Prince George’s County.

By Dan Reed (View article online on Just Up The Pike)

After visiting the Arts District Hyattsville sales office, I’m pumped to check out what kind of homes are offered at this groundbreaking new community in Prince George’s County. From the outside, Arts District houses try to throw the traditional townhouse mold out the window. Cornices and window frames are painted in bright colors – greens, reds, blues and purples. The windows themselves are huge and without the fake muntins that, to me, scream “McMansion!” Then there’s the metal: steel-clad turrets, a fun play on the age-old rowhouse façade and a conscious tribute to Franklin’s, the popular restaurant a few blocks south. If you look at a house by itself, it’s easy to say “I can imagine some edgy, creative types living here.”
But that’s just a single house – which in any real D.C. rowhouse neighborhood would look ridiculously avant-garde. In Arts District, you’ll see that house repeated over and over again on each block, with another steel turret at the corner, beckoning you to see a few more on the other side. Has the industrial aesthetic finally gone tract-house? It seems to be the case, and it’s a shame: I really liked the steel when I first saw it at Franklin’s.