The Architectural Significance of the Bower Hill at Mt. Lebanon

The two buildings that we call home are unique. Only one other building in the United States is built using the same architectural influences as the General Neville and the Brackenridge. That building is Prospect House on Nash Avenue in Arlington, VA.
Prospect House, built in 1965, was designed by Donald Hudson Drayer whose significance as a world class architect follows.
One can find several references to Prospect House online and you will find those following, as well, but searches show nothing on our two buildings, constructed in 1967 and 1970. Library of Congress searches validate the existence of Prospect House documents being stored there but they are not accessible online.
In reading the information available on Mr. Drayer, it is noted that he is famous for using two of nature’s elements in his designs – skies and foliage. One look from our balconies confirms that he certainly took those into consideration when placing our buildings on this wonderful corner of the world we call home!

The Architect: Donald Hudson Drayer

From the 1950's to his death in 1973, Donald H. Drayer was one of the more productive architects in the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area, notably in the area of large scale apartment and residential developments. Drayer received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Washington University School of Architecture in 1931. In 1934, Drayer became an associate architect with the United States Public Buildings Administration. From 1937 to 1941, he worked with the private builder and architect William Waverly Taylor, Jr.
Drayer opened his own office in 1941 but left in 1942 to serve in the navy through 1947.
After his Naval service, he worked at the Chevy Chase Land Company from 1947 to 1949.
Between 1949 and 1954, Drayer served as office manager for the firm Associated Architects and Engineers.
In 1954 he resumed his private practice and continued to work as an architect until shortly before his death in 1973.
Drayer's rendering style was distinctive, characterized by dramatic foliage and skies. A significant quantity of Drayer's functional contemporary designs were actually built, based primarily on architectural drawings by him for residential buildings, commercial buildings, and housing developments in Washington, D.C., and surrounding suburbs. The majority of the drawings were executed from 1945-1973.
Among his commissions were single detached houses, some for prominent clients such as Lyndon Johnson and Albert Gore, Sr., and apartment houses and complexes such as Grosvenor Park in Rockville, Maryland, Prospect House in Arlington, Virginia, and the Colonnade in Washington, D.C.

Excerpts from an article on Prospect House printed in the Washington Post in September of 1995 By Louie Estrada, a Washington Post Staff Writer

"Looking to enlarge their units, some residents have bought adjoining condos and knocked down walls. A few have bought studio condos located below the bedrooms and installed a spiral staircase to gain access to the room.

The renovations are possible because the studio condos are sandwiched between the larger units in an intricate maze of layering. While the condos vary in size, there are five basic floor plans created by architect Donald Hudson Drayer, who specialized in designing large luxury Washington area apartment houses after World War II.

The larger units are about 1,530 square feet. The one-bedroom and two-bedroom units are either split-levels or duplexes. In the duplex condos, a small foyer from the hallway leads to a seven-step staircase to the 13-foot-tall living room with the balcony overlooking the monuments to the east. A second six-step staircase from the living room leads to the dining room, kitchen and bedroom. Those upper rooms are built on top of the communal hallway and extend over a studio unit next door. Because of the design, the elevator stops only at every third floor. The hallways are lined with hundreds of crimson-colored doors and the walls are painted an antique white.

While Prospect House boasts such amenities as a swimming pool, underground parking, a bike room, a 24-hour answering service and security, residents still have to squirrel away quarters for laundry. Most of the units do not have washers and dryers, making the basement laundry facility a popular place for visiting with neighbors."

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