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Zeta Phi Beta is an international, historically black sorority founded on the campus of Howard University on January 16, 1920. In 1920 five women from Howard envisioned a sorority that would raise the consciousness of their people, encourage the highest standards of scholastic achievement, and foster a greater sense of unity among its members. These women believed that sorority elitism and socializing overshadowed the real mission for progressive organizations. Since its founding, Zeta Phi Beta has historically focused on addressing social causes.
In 1959, Zeta Phi Beta purchased its current headquarters, located at 1734 New Hampshire Avenue NW on Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. MMD was the Architect for the renovation of the building and interiors.
The challenge for the large-scale renovation was to ensure that historic details were not lost and to maintain its cultural sensibility. The reconstruction of this historic mansion was significant for the African-American community as ZPB is an historically African-American greek-lettered sorority. MMD’s role was to ensure the historic finishes and details were respected. We decided to embrace the original fabric of the exterior by bringing complimentary use of historic detailing to the interior of this mansion to fit the contemporary use of the building as a national headquarters. We led design for all the finishes, trim details and materials — all in the spirit of the original structure.
The structure maintained the importance and splendor of its original era and was completed in time to prepare for the organization’s centennial anniversary.
A private residence located in the historically designated community of the Dupont Circle district, we restored this mansion into a repurposed national sorority headquarters. The building was brought back to life through modern conveniences and amenities, all the while respecting the historic ecology of the area