Studio Twenty Seven Architecture to publish book on Southwest Washington DC

Process—————6 December 2010

Studio Twenty Seven Architecture is publishing a book illustrating their master planning study of Southwest Washington, DC.   The vibrantly illustrated book provides a comprehensive history of urban development in this quadrant of the city beginning with the introduction of L’Enfant’s plan in 1791 to the opening of the Nationals Stadium in 2008.

Studying Sanborn maps dating back to the 1890’s, the book explores the history of land use and illustrates modern development patterns in the quadrant.  The maps illuminate how over the last hundred years Southwest has become a quadrant removed and isolated from the rest of the city’s urban fabric in both a physical and perceived sense.  This is not anecdotal observation but a chronic condition identified by residents, politicians, and urban planners.   Southwest compromises about 25% of the city’s 61.4 square miles, but holds only 2.1% of the city’s population.  Throughout the twentieth century the area has atrophied and now maintains only 20% of the cultural and commercial assets that it held in 1920.

Through the metaphor of Haute Couture (French for “high sewing” or “high dressmaking”) the final chapter of the book introduces specific interventions to the area to reconnect it with L’Enfant’s original plan that governs the rest of the City.  These new interventions include the introduction of a Ferry Terminal along the mouth of the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers and the return of Fort McNair to the public domain.

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