Municipal Fish Market at The Wharf

The Project

Washington, D.C. is known as a concrete town to many in the design world, but it is metal being used to make a statement at the historic Municipal Fish Market at The Wharf.

One of the main attractions at The Wharf is the Maine Avenue Fish Market, which dates back to 1790 and is the oldest continuously-operating fish market in the country.

The Wharf is also home to a $25 million redevelopment project, completed in the fall of 2018, led by developers PN Hoffman and Madison Marquette. The development includes six new buildings, all of which respond to a historic structure while balancing the funky character of the pier barges.

Completion Date:
Washington D.C., USA
Ajay Glass Co.
Optimo & KarrierPanel
Sq. Ft.:

Metal Melds the Old with the New

A challenge faced by StudioMB in designing the Fish Market at The Wharf was incorporating new construction into a historic site, which had been significantly altered over time.

The design team needed a material that would unify the metal barges with the sole remaining buildings and decided that insulated metal panels were the best option for five of the new buildings – a distillery and a bar; a doughnut shop and coffee; shop two restaurant buildings, and an operations building.

Steel columns from one of the historic sheds were refurbished, and together with metal panels, define the architectural character of the new structures, connecting the old and new in an understated manner.

Building with Sustainability in Mind

Performance was an important factor in selecting materials for The Wharf. The owners are pursuing LEED Silver certification by taking a campus approach, which captures the economies of scale in the certification process.

The campus approach allows an owner or developer to use the boundary of the entire site in pursuing a LEED certification.

Kingspan panels offer superior quality and high R-values, a critical component when pursuing a LEED certification.
“The buildings are part of an interesting approach to sustainable design and LEED, and the metal panels are a very critical component of that.”

- David Bagnoli, Principal at StudioMB

Metal Panels Provide the Finishing Touch

The Municipal Fish Market at The Wharf utilizes more than 25,000 square feet of Kingspan insulated metal panels (IMPs), including Optimo, a flat wall panel available in a variety of finishes, and KarrierPanel, a universal barrier wall system.

Adding Art to Panels

Some IMPs at the Municipal Fish Market at The Wharf are vinyl wrapped, some have a granite finish, and some are even painted with vendor murals to relate to the carnival-like neon signage of the barges. For instance, the interior of the Tiki TNT bar includes a tropical mural painted directly on the Kingspan panels.

Products used on this project


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Case study PDF of the Municipal Fish Market at The Wharf in Washington DC, USA

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