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October 5, 2010 Southwest

DCPL Tour: The Modernist Enclave of Southwest; Oct. 9

Town Center Plaza, I.M. Pei

The original 1962 Town Center Plaza by I.M. Pei is now the Waterfront Tower condos.

Amid the changing landscape of Southwest D.C., the D.C. Preservation League will be holding a walking tour this Saturday (Oct. 9) of the mid-century modern enclave to celebrate the annual DOCOMOMO Tour Day, which will be held in cities across the country. Noted architectural historian Richard Longstreth will lead the tour, which runs from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. You can register here.

As Southwest, which represents one of the foremost urban renewal projects of the 1950s and ’60s, ages and the area changes to meet the needs of the current residents, questions about what should be preserved and how it should be preserved will continue to be debated among residents, preservationists, city officials and developers. I encourage you to join the tour through Southwest to see the largely untouched mid-century modern gems as well as those that have already been impacted by this new development.

Here are some shots I took the other day in Southwest to preview what is in store as you walk around the area.

Waterfront Station, with its Starbucks and brand new Safeway, has brought life back to the area previously anchored by the dilapidated Waterside Mall, which was designed by Chloethiel Woodard Smith. She was one of the driving forces and architects behind the urban renewal plan in Southwest.

Waterfront Station has brought people back to a once barren space.

Bing Thom’s new design for Arena Stage incorporates new with the old. His new glass structure envelops the original, historic buildings by Harry Weese.

New Arena Stage

Another place that is mixing mid-century modern design with updates is Waterfront Tower, one of the four 1962 I.M. Pei-designed concrete and glass apartment buildings turned into condos. The four buildings were originally known as Town Center Plaza. The totally renovated units have been selling for a year and the building is now 75 percent sold. They range from the high $200s to close to $500K.

Waterfront Tower

The exterior of the I.M. Pei-designed Waterfront Tower has kept the mid-century modern look. The interior has been completely renovated in typical condo style.

I also checked out this Charles Goodman 3 bedr0om/2 bath townhome for sale in River Park. It is listed for$399K.

Goodman townhome

Goodman's River Park will be featured on the tour.