Breakfast links: Today in buildings
If you don't like your historic building, let it fall down?: About 75 people rallied on Monday to protest the proposed demolition of a historically contributing row house at 16th and T. Last summer, a wall collapsed, the result of years of deferred maintenance. The students renting there had to find new housing, and the owner, GW professor Amy Mazur, continued to neglect the building and instead apply for permission to tear it down. A structural engineer said the building must be immediately shored up or razed. Preservationists, neighbors, Councilmember Jack Evans and others are asking the city not to reward the owners for their neglect by granting the raze, which would be cheaper than fixing it. (Friends of Jack, Prince of Petworth)
You say "of its time," I say "faux modernism": Post architecture critic and Modernism cheerleader Philip Kennicott gushes over a glass box addition to the Old City Hall, now the Court of Appeals, in Judiciary Square. According to Kennicott, the architect wanted something "of its own time." BeyondDC points out that glass boxes were new in the 1950s, and we should at least admit that they're one well-worn style of the past like any other.
Making the FBI building work: Roger Lewis looks at the oft-reviled FBI building. It would be enormously expensive to tear it down, not to mention very wasteful of resources. Instead, Lewis asks, should the FBI eventually move, why not build a new addition around the edge to create street-level retail and rehabilitate the rest? (Post) Lewis will also be on the Kojo Nnamdi show today to discuss this and other "historic" buildings, and which should be kept and which "junked."
Good plan, bad design for Walgreens?: The upcoming Walgreens at Van Ness Metro now has architectural renderings. While the functional aspects have improved from the original, Tsar-chitect thinks the architectural style is "arbitrarily messy and unconsidered."
Hotel isn't more important than everything else: The Business Journal reports that DC officials are considering diverting development funds from a variety of projects in Southwest and Southeast to the Convention Center Hotel, which now needs even more public money to open. Other developers and blogs urge restraint. Coincidentally, the just-released issue of Next American City has an article arguing that convention centers really aren't worth the money.
Purple Line beats opponents, highways at TPB: The Transportation Planning Board unanimously voted to add the light rail Purple Line to the region's long-range plan yesterday. (Examiner) The project replaced two road widening projects, of Maryland Routes 28 and 198, which leaders say are not necessary now that Maryland is building the ICC. Montgomery Councilmember Nancy Floreen calls the whole thing "academic" because "because there's no money for anything," (thanks in part to the aforementioned ICC).
And...: It's really hard to report crime to WMATA police (Post) ... Montgomery Councilmember George Leventhal has hired JUTP's Dan Reed ... Maryland Politics Watch thinks we are being unfair in criticizing Maryland Senator Rich Madaleno.Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
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