Housing Complex

Behold, New Streetcar Barn Renderings!

Speaking of things Ward 5 is looking to get rid of: On Thursday, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts reviewed new plans for the proposed streetcar barn on the campus of the soon-to-close-for-renovations Spingarn High School. Which means we get to take a look at some new renderings.

The District Department of Transportation's original design was big and bold and busy-feeling—not necessarily a bad thing, but the Historic Preservation Review Board found it to be too big and "insufficiently civic in nature." So now DDOT's come back with two variants on a more subdued design that better match the landmarked school the car barn will neighbor.

Here's what the first scheme, dubbed "vertical/civic," looks like:

And here's the second scheme, labeled "horizontal/podium":


The Historic Preservation Office likes these designs much better. Its staff report for Thursday's HPRB meeting finds that "both schemes represent a significant improvement over the earlier concept" and recommends that HPRB "find the revised concepts for the car barn on the Spingarn site to be consistent with the purposes of the preservation act." David Alpert's a fan, too. Now, the question is: How will neighbors who objected to the earlier design respond?

  • Liz


    If it were only just the barn designs the neighbors object to. Unfortunately, they seemingly object to the streetcar, the placement of the streetcar barn (even though there won't be a high school there anymore), the barn design, and every part of the project. I'm one of the neighbors, living in Carver-Langston. I've written to Kenyan McDuffie to alert him that some of the neighborhood is in favor of the streetcar and the barn placement, because we absolutely need more public transit options in this city, and especially options not run by Metro. I received no reply from his office, so I'm assuming they're only talking to people they agree with. Good to see forward progress! I'll be at the streetcar meeting tomorrow night to voice my support.

  • Lukas

    Then Liz, you should be sure to send a note to the Historic Preservation Office.

  • Amy

    Agree, Liz! Please do voice your support to the HPRB.

  • KeepIt100

    Who cares what David Alpert approves?

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  • Joe

    It's ashamed the DDOT and HPO doesn't see this as an opportunity to do something really inspiring and in keeping with architecture worthy of a capital city. At one time, public works were considered an opportunity to create works of art. This looks like something you would see while driving down the Dulles toll road.

    I'm curious, do the neighbors adjacent to this site find this type of architecture attractive?

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