Housing Complex

Glassy Box Replaces Curvy Building on L’Enfant Plaza

A box instead of a pyramid. (Rendering by SmithGroup)

At one point in the misty past of 2010, there was this plan for the barren plaza off the L'Enfant promenade on 10th Street SW. Then there was this lawsuit by neighboring land owner Heyman Properties, which claimed that an office building would obstruct pedestrian flow (as if there was any on that pedestrian nightmare of a space).

Now, whether due to the lawsuit or not, that curvaceous vision sits in the National Building Museum's Unbuilt Washington exhibit, and L'Enfant Plaza proprietor JBG is proposing an improved version of the dinky glass pyramid—once intended as a mockup of Paris' Louvre—that would provide access to the shops below via stairs and an elevator, and let in more light.

In other L'Enfant news: This wasn't mentioned in the Office of Planning's draft Maryland Avenue SW plan, but I have it on good authority that the State Department is hoping to re-landscape the bricked-over center median of the Promenade—which originally was a long, water-filled channel—as a "diplomatic garden" with plots designed by different foreign missions.

You know, sometime.

  • http://westnorth.com Payton

    Sigh; missed opportunities abound all along that street. It could be a great processional street, defined by a high streetwall, but instead it suffers from under-zoning. The original proposal for a hotel on this site instead would have brought a few more people to L'Enfant after the hordes leave at 4PM.