Bye bye, St. E’s

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.

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Filed under Architecture, Culture

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