A Walking Tour Of Dc: Three “Fronts” Of Change

1402 words - 6 pages

Washington DC streets are structured in three different groups: streets that run east west are numerical, streets that run north south are alphabetical and streets that run diagonal are the states in America. When two diagonal streets intersect, a square or circle is formed. The areas observed in Washington DC appear to have a similar theme: the conflict between the modern and classic. Gentrification and modernism are two major themes that affect the neighborhoods in Washington DC. Three different developments exist: modern buildings, modern interior with a historical front and a historical building.
Mount Vernon Square is the first area observed in Washington DC. The square is located at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and New York Avenue. One important feature of this square is the City Museum Building. The City Museum Building is home to the Historical Society of Washington DC. This building was constructed in 1902 by Andrew Carnegie and was originally used as the District of Columbia Library. Currently it is a historic building under the National Registry of Historic Places and used to hold different exhibits. This building is rather special because of it being home for the Historical Society of DC, formerly known as the Columbia Historical Society.
One important building in this area is the Washington D.C Convention Center. This monumental building was completed in 2003 and is owned and operated out of the Washington Convention and Sports Authority (WCSA). This building is extremely modern and helped renew modernism of Washington DC. The building is compounded in a superblock of its own and located right near the Mount Vernon Square Metro Station. This building helped modernize DC and helped beautify the neighborhood.
A trend in development in Washington DC and the North Capitol Area is to demolish the inside of the building leaving only the front of a building. The new development would go behind and attach to the historical front. Many developers use this as a new marketing strategy for their buildings. Many buildings on Massachusetts Avenue headed toward Union Station have this feature. The restaurant, Sixth Engine recently opened up in a historic firehouse. The front was originally occupied as a firehouse from 1855 up until 1974 and is the oldest firehouse in Washington DC. The massive apartment complex, 400 Mass, surrounds the restaurant. This complex combines both history and modernity.
Around this complex is the strange building on H Street and 2nd Second Street. This building is extremely odd for its narrow width and tall height. This structure is an airshaft built in 1975 as a vent for vehicle exhaust from I-395, which runs underneath the city. The structure got its facelift in 1988 when a contest was held asking artists for proposals on decorations. Val Lewton, a local artist won the contest and decorated the airshaft with the Capitol dome and the Lincoln Memorial. This strange-looking building represents...

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