Housing Complex

This Is What D.C. Would Look Like With Taller Buildings

Last week, as part of their congressionally mandated review of the 1910 Height of Buildings Act, the National Capital Planning Commission and D.C. Office of Planning unveiled a few images from their modeling study of what the District would look like under various changes to the law. Today, NCPC released a whole lot more. So here, to tickle your collective imagination, are views from a few vantage points of what the city's skyline could look like if the height limit were raised within the L'Enfant City (south of Florida Avenue and west of the Anacostia River), around the "topographic bowl" just outside the L'Enfant City, and at a few selected high-density clusters. Which do you like best—or hate most?

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  • NE John

    Save the trees

  • 202_cyclist

    How about a study looking at keeping the currently height limit within the L'Enfant City but increasing it to 175-225 feet at the Van Ness, Friendship Hts, Georgia Avenue, and Columbia Hts metro stations?

  • Bryan

    Except it wouldn't look like this at all, since any new buildings would not all a) be built at once, b) have entirely blank, grey walls, c) be viewed only from non-street-level viewing perspectives, d) be uniformly allowed to reach the new maximum height, and e) be uniformly square/rectangular.

    I mean, I get that it's just a "massing" study/illustrative concept, but every visual choice here seems to have come from someone who desired the raising of building heights to look as scary, dangerous and unwise as possible.

  • NE John

    How about no

  • http://visiteverylibrary.tumblr.com/ J. Green

    I don't think anyone wants to increase building heights anywhere near L'Enfant but I guess we know where you stand on the issue.

    If you could do this again in other parts of the city it would be appreciated.

  • crin

    What would the buildings look like from Reston, or Kansas? Anything from far enough a way looks small.

  • tntdc

    Because developers want to tear down hundreds of 13-story buildings and replace them with 20-story ones. What an environmental waste ! American disposable homes/buildings, etc. all in the name of the construction and development industries.

    Meanwhile several DC and inner beltway Metro stations are almost barren ground.

  • tntdc

    and Buzzard's Point is going to just be a soccer stadium, not high-rise anything.

  • Chris hauser

    Poor old lonely poplar point, nobody pays attention to poor old lonely poplar point.

    Almost like she doesn't want to be noticed.

  • chris

    Agree with Bryan -- zoning != effective FAR. There are too many variables to predict 'what [x] would look like', beyond a simple extrusion -- and even then it would face regulatory review and ANC input, etc.

  • drez

    Leave it alone, please.

  • drez

    I notice that there are no massing study images from, say, 16th and FL NW, or N Cap and Fl, or 4th and S Cap, or Benning and H NE.
    How will this impact the skyline within the city?

  • drez

    If gray wants to win my cold bitter heart he would put a 20 year study on this.
    After that, DC will be too full of middle class and rich people for this savagery to ever be done.

  • Reuben

    That is, if every new building constructed was just a plain white block

  • sad

    This is SO sad. This is going to be the new urban renewal. Once you do this, it cannot be undone. There are so many ways this will have a terrible ripple effect and anyone who thinks this will somehow change the economy, well, they're just wrong.

  • NE John

    I hear you loud and clear sad. Interesting there are so many of the younger crowd in on the build higher efforts. They just don't know DC, and it would be the end of character and trees of this city.

  • ACyclistInTheSuburbs

    what if you built to 200 ft ONLY on the infill sites at SW ecodistrict? They are slated for building anyway (no tearing down 13 story buildings), have access to 4 metro lines plus commuter rail, and are in an area where few people are effected by the views. Do that, then revisit the issue in say 5 years.

  • pat b

    given the eastern end of the city has very little developement, it'd be nice to
    see things like NoMa develope around Benning Rd Station or Rhode Island Avenue Station.

    A little more developement across the city using Metro as an artery system may be just as effective.

  • seeseehpounder

    Why stop at 225? Go higher. The fact that everyone commenting is scared is funny. It's probably what New Yorkers and Chicagoans were saying 100 years ago. You guys probably throw your piss and shit out your windows too.

  • Cyrus

    "I notice that there are no massing study images from, say, 16th and FL NW, or N Cap and Fl, or 4th and S Cap, or Benning and H NE.
    How will this impact the skyline within the city?"

    As for 16th and Florida, see the views from Meridian Hill Park? That's very close to it, just a couple blocks north depending on where in the park you are. I have the impression that vantage point would be from near the statue of Joan of Arc, the best view there is in the park, but can't be sure.

    As for the other three intersections, it depends. If construction is uniform to the maximum height, then it would look worse than the worst of these pictures, because none of those are really vantage points. But construction almost definitely wouldn't be uniform to the maximum height, so who knows.

  • Mark

    I've been trying to understand this for the 12 years I've lived in DC, but I've still not heard a convincing argument for why we should maintain the low height limit. People say words like "economy," "trees," "tradition," "identity" as if they constitute arguments..., but they don't. The impact on the economy is debatable (I think increased density downtown would be a great help to the economy). Ditto with the impact on the "trees."

    People complain that the values of some specific properties would drop because of lost views. I guess that's an argument, but it's a lame one (and addressable).

    Just let developers respond to the demand for taller buildings!

  • LiteralAboutWhiteBlocks

    the new buildings in the pics above show no retail.

    I thought office of planning was all supportive of mixed use, with street level retail?

    Did they change their mind?

  • mehmet

    save the trees. people are getting killed by government forces just because to keep their trees, parks green in TURKEY. The journalists are inprisoned who make news this agains government. Thre s no free media in Turkey.

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