Friday, October 24, 2008

Green Festival DC Coming November 8th & 9th to DC Convention Center

We've learned today that Green Festival DC will be at the DC Convention Center on November 8th & 9th. Scheduled speakers to include architect William McDonough. Transit riders receive a $5 discount off the regular $15 price by showing their fare cards.

From the event website:

At the Washington DC Green Festival™, a joint project of Global Exchange and Co-op America, we’re celebrating what’s working in our communities—across the District, Maryland and Virginia—for people, for business and for the environment.

You’ll enjoy more than 125 renowned speakers and 350 green businesses (start your holiday shopping now!), great how-to workshops, green films, a Fair Trade pavilion, yoga classes, organic beer, delicious organic cuisine and live music.

Find out about DC environmental initiatives; and learn how neighbors, community nonprofits and city departments are working together to make their cities healthier places to live.

More information at
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Listen Now: DC Height Limits Topic of The Kojo Nnamdi Show

Roger K. Lewis, architect, University of Maryland professor emeritus of architecture, and columnist of the Washington Post's "Shaping the City" column, discusses Washington's skyline, its effects on metro area residents, and common misconceptions about the DC Height Act on The Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU 88.5 FM.

Listen now: Real Audio | Windows Media
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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Modernism In Your Neighborhood

One of the most exciting neighborhoods architecturally right now in DC is the North Shaw/ U Street area. During the last few years this pocket of mixed industrial/residential buildings has transformed from a dead crumbling zone to a hot bed of architectural innovation. One of the pioneering architecture firms in this neighborhood, DivisionOne Architecture has launched another innovative and modern project that is soon to be complete. The Condo building is located at the corner of Florida Ave and 11th Street NW. Over a dozen new projects have been built in the area, some great while others seriously lack in good design. The Lacey, is an exception on both accounts. It is a fantastic example of innovative modern architecture, and it stands out from all of the other projects on the blocks nearby. At first sight, the structure is unique from everything else in the neighborhood. I think this is appropriate. The surrounding context has no real typical typology. There are some very small nondescript Victorian townhouses, some post-industrial warehouses mixed in with larger public buildings of no particular style. The heights are all varied, creating a unique rhythm to each block. The scale of this building is on the larger side, but it fits with the scale of the other large buildings. It is much smaller than the ten story modern condo developments just down Florida Avenue. The massing consists of a continuation of the contextual deep front yards and a larger cantilevered glass box overhanging delicately above the lower level setbacks. There are a series of metal stairs leading from the street level to the first floors of the street facing units. This plays on the larger scale townhouse entrances in the area. The floating glass box above creates interest to its elevation by playing with a "Modrian-esque" pattern of glass that varies from translucent to opaque. Balconies inset have a shadowline-punched effect to add a nice depth the the elevation. The most innovative piece of the design is circulation from the street to each unit. It avoids completely the traditional interior corridor system by utilizing a central exterior spine that bisects the main massing. This allows for more natural light to enter into the inner sides of each unit. The spine protrudes out to the side and creates a dynamic detail to the street front of the building. The vertical circulation to each level of the external spine is clad in a system of metal louvers which cast playful shadows alongside more solid ends of the primary massing. A matrix of horizontal and vertical gestures in the side concrete panels are almost violently sliced by the steel framework of the courtyard circulation. The rear of the building is as equally designed as the rest of the building. The glass box is fractured by a more minor vertical steel balcony element and a very strong horizontal concrete frame. Overall, this building adds a strong modern and technologically innovative design to the neighborhood. It stands out on it's own. The large variegation of the other buildings on the block make that appropriate. It is a building that says, "I am modern, I am innovative, and by using these elements I create amazing urban spaces." It is always exciting to come across such a dynamic piece of modern architecture in our city. It gives me hope that more and more people will be exposed to how great modern architecture can invigorate their lives and just keep wanting more of it.
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Art for Change

By now you've seen the red, white, and blue image with the tag 'HOPE'. This image, by street artist Shepard Fairey, has become one of the most recognizable images from the current election. In Irvine Contemporary's new exhibit, Fairey is joined by Al Farrow and Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky) in the politically-themed three-person exhibition Regime Change Starts at Home, running October 18 - December 6, 2008, with an opening reception on Saturday, October 18th, from 6-8PM.

An Artist Talk with Fairey and Farrow will also be held at The Corcoran Gallery of Art on Friday, October 17th at 7PM (ticketed event). See 'Upcoming Events' on the sidebar for more information.

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Date Set for 2nd Anacostia Waterfront Community Information Fair

This past January we reported on the 1st Anacostia Waterfront Community Information Fair, where we learned not only about all of the projects on the boards and in the pipeline along the Anacostia Waterfront, but also about a lot of entities that already exist along DC's lesser known waterway.

Today we obtained a 'Save the Date' for the 2nd Anacostia Waterfront Community Information Fair, to be held Saturday, November 15th, 2008, from 1 - 5 PM at Nationals Baseball Park. So be sure to 'save the date' and see what's coming to the shores of the Anacostia.
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