The lovely, sylvan west campus of St. Elizabeths, the historic hospital for the mentally ill that is one of Washington’s least-visited, but most beautiful places, is now a demolition site. Non-historic buildings are already coming down as the site is readied for the construction of a huge new home for the U.S. Coast Guard. Between now and 2016, some $3.4 billion will be pumped into converting the site into the new home for the Department of Homeland Security. It was a controversial decision, years in the making, but stimulus money helped spur it in the final hour. Although most of the historic structures will be maintained, they will be surrounded (and likely overwhelmed) by new office buildings. I tried to capture the mix of emotions, which encapsulates Washington D. C. politics, at the groundbreaking yesterday.
Tag Archives: Preservation
So late tonight arrives word that “the Mayor’s Agent” has decided the fate of the building that is home to the Third Church of Christ Scientist, a 16th St. NW structure that is unloved by its congregants, but considered a significant example of “brutalist” architecture. It was granted landmark status, against the wishes of the people who worship there and maintain it. They then petitioned for the right to tear it down despite its landmark status. It appears that they have won this round. Many, many issues are raised by this, including what will be built there in place of the existing structure… which will be discussed here soon.