This self-publication provides a comprehensive history of urban development in the quadrant from the introduction of L’Enfant’s plan in 1791 to the opening of Nationals’ stadium in 2008. The document traces Studio Twenty Seven’s research into the evolution of the city and the master planning study of Southwest Washington DC.
Sanborn fire insurance maps dating back to the 1890s were used to document early urban plan and building typologies, illustrating modern development patterns that explain land use history. These maps illuminate how over the last hundred years, in both a physical and perceived sense, Southwest DC became a quadrant removed and isolated from the rest of the city’s urban fabric.
Awards | Press
2013 Filter Gallery Exhibition and Book Release
2013 DC Preservation League: Shaping Southwest
2012 National AIA Convention Lecture
2012 NCPC Southwest Eco District Tour
2011 National Building Museum Exhibition
2009 AIA DC Unbuilt Award for Merit in Design
© Studio Twenty Seven Architecture
“A nation’s capital should embody the finest in its contemporary architectural thought”
“Its architectural form should reflect the dignity, enterprise, vigor and stability of our national government. In these objectives both public agencies and private builders will need to services of the nation’s leading architects. Washington DC today is the capital of an urban nation. As a city it should express our highest aspirations for urban life. No less than the more traditional rural environment, urban life is profoundly concerned with human needs. The art of design of changing cities aims not only at providing better homes and community facilities, more efficient transportation and desirable open spaces, but also a setting in which men and women can live up to their responsibilities as free citizens. The expanding partnership between the federal government and our cities finds ground in these ideals and much of our effort is devoted to giving them expression. As our capital city, Washington DC should lead in this important work. It is a task we must widely share in which I am confident we shall succeed” – President John F. Kennedy, 1963
Hard Edges: Southwest’s transportation canyons isolated the neighborhood from the rest of the city, and the waterfront presented another hard edge condition. Other hard engineering strategies partially contributed to suppressed natural waterways, built up lowlands and altered natural tidal marshes.
Distribution of building types and land use revealing patterns of change, atrophy and development. These physical traces of political, economic and social movement patterns are traced here during the last century.
The DCRLA commissioned two options for a new Comprehensive Plan – each representing the competing notions of what constituted a beautiful city and the urban planning that would achieve it.
Using the metaphor of Haute Couture (French for “high sewing” or “high dressmaking”) the final chapter of the book introduces specific architectural interventions to the area in order to reconnect the quadrant to the rest of the city. Those new interventions include a Ferry Terminal along the mouth of the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers and the return of Fort McNair to the public domain.