Rendering of apartment building


Fortitude at Delta Towers a 179-unit, 100% affordable senior living community in Washington, DC—one that exemplifies design strategies for equitable communities in the DMV area. Despite pressure to sell and relocate away from the rapidly gentrifying H Street NE corridor, DHCDC—the owner of existing Delta apartments—partnered with Dantes Partners and Gilbane Development Company to carry out its mission of serving neighborhood seniors.

The project stands on the undeveloped surface parking of the existing Delta Towers, an aging building at the end of its useful life. The new building not only provides units for the 149 seniors currently living in Delta Towers, but also introduces 30 new affordable units for seniors over 55 with incomes at or below 30% of area median income.

Attendees will learn how high operating expenses incurred in the existing building will be curbed by a new and more efficient design that rivals the new buildings currently being built along H Street, how to create spaces that can adapt to the changing needs of residents through the life of the building, and how Certified Enterprise Green Communities properties such as this one cost less to operate and maintain while using fewer natural resources.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe strategies used to achieve energy efficiency while balancing energy savings without sacrificing occupant comfort
  • Describe how the design team was able to maximize the density allowed by zoning, and to respond to the urban challenge posed by the intersection of two zoning districts and five main avenues
  • Describe how the design team was able to design spaces that can adapt to the changing needs of residents through the life of the building, and their own
  • Identify design strategies used by the design team to improve the residents’ mental, physical, and financial wellbeing

Presented by:

Estrella Amador

Senior Designer, KGD Architecture

Estrella has been responsible for the development of many conceptual designs during her 10+ years affiliation with KGD. She understands the importance of a collaborative process and works closely with clients and consultants to respond to each project’s unique challenges and maintain design intent from concept through construction. She places great value on contextual architecture in the development of façades and elevations for her multiple multi-residential projects, which include among others Delta Towers in Washington, DC, and Columbia Hills, a winner of 2019 ULI Excellence in Affordable Housing Award. Estrella has also been a designer on the Office Building of the Future, a winner of AIA Northern Virginia Award of Merit in 2014.


Nia Furr

Associate & Designer, KGD Architecture

Since joining the firm over 5 years ago, Nia has learned quickly to navigate through the residential and multifamily markets of the DMV area. She led the Construction Administration on the recently completed Delta Towers multifamily project in Washington, DC. She is using her skills to develop inventive designs with focus ranging on the smallest interior details to the exterior façade design. Nia, a graduate of Howard University, was a participant of “Design like a Girl” program with District Architecture Center, mentoring the young female architects through navigation of the intricacies of architecture and engineering.