Home & Design

20 Years of Great Design: Places

OPEN DIALOGUE  Massachusetts-based Safdie Architects designed the United States Institute of Peace headquarters in 2011 to foster the organization’s role in international conflict resolution, with two dramatic atria expressing openness and transparency. It was the first LEED Gold-certified building on the National Mall.  At night, the structure’s domed lattice roofs glow like beacons on the capital skyline. Photo: Timothy Hursley

MAKING HISTORY  The long-awaited Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture opened its doors in 2016, within view of the Washington Monument. Its three-tiered exterior, designed by architect David Adjaye using 3,600 bronze-hued, cast-aluminum panels, evokes ornate ironwork created by slaves in 19th-century New Orleans. Lead Designers: David Adjaye, OBE; Philip Freelon, FAIA, Freelon, Adjaye, Bond/SmithGroup. Construction: Clark/Smoot/Russell.

OUT OF ITALY  The 2014 debut of Fiola Mare brought high style and Italian coastal fare to Washington Harbor. Inspired by eateries dotting the Adriatic shore, interiors by HapstakDemetriou+ combine coffered ceilings, intimate banquettes dressed in nautical stripes and views of the Potomac River. James Beard Award-winning chef Fabio Trabocchi has earned a Michelin star for his seasonal menus and artful presentation. fiolamaredc.com  Photo: Greg Powers

DIPLOMATIC TIES  House of Sweden’s blond wood, glass and stone exterior casts a glow on the Georgetown waterfront. Home to the Swedish embassy, the building designed by Gert Wingårdh and Tomas Hansen hosts a steady stream of special events and exhibits. “House of Sweden highlights important priorities like democracy, openness and transparency through its design,” says Swedish Ambassador Karin Olofsdotter. “Since its opening in 2006, close to one million people have walked through its doors.” houseofsweden.com

DOWNTOWN DEBUT  When CityCenterDC—a 10-acre, mixed-use development—hit the scene in 2013, it brought a host of high-end boutiques and restaurants, luxury condos and apartments to Northwest Washington. The pedestrian-friendly complex features changing art installations (above), a farmer’s market every Tuesday through October 29 and a brand new hotel, The Conrad, Washington, D.C., which opened in March 2019. citycenterdc.com

ON THE WATERFRONT  The first phase of District Wharf—a mile-long mixed-use development on the Potomac—debuted in 2017. Combining residences, restaurants, concert venues, shops and hotels, the walkable neighborhood also boasts numerous outdoor gathering spots along its piers and promenades. Phase 2 of the development spearheaded by PN Hoffman and Madison Marquette is now underway, with completion scheduled for 2022. wharfdc.com


GRAND SLAM  Amid much fanfare, the Washington Nationals moved into their new stadium near the Anacostia River in time for the 2008 baseball season. The 41,000-seat venue is everything fans hoped it would be: situated to take in iconic DC landmarks, with state-of-the-art technology and LEED Silver certification that made it the most sustainable ballpark in the country when it was built. Architecture: HOK Sport and dp + partners, llc. Contractor: Clark/Hunt/Smoot. Photo: Kenneth M. Wyner

CROSSING THE LINE  Twenty-five years after its copper entry doors were boarded up, the 110-year-old First Church of Christ, Scientist, building in Adams Morgan was born again in 2018 as The Line DC (above, left), one of Washington’s hippest hotels. In the soaring lobby (above, right), original Palladian windows have been preserved and brass organ pipes repurposed to create an awe-inspiring chandelier. Design: INC Architecture & Design. thelinehotel.com/dc Photo: Gary Williams

WASHINGTON DESIGN CENTER  After 29 years in a windowless building near the National Mall, the Washington Design Center moved to a light-filled, downtown location in 2014. Today, its 22 showrooms occupy the second, third and fourth floors of the stately, Post-Modern Franklin Court Building where the roster of furniture, fabric and carpet showrooms includes Schumacher (above), photographed on opening night. designcenterdc.com. Photo: Bob Narod 

GLENSTONE MUSEUM  Washington’s abundant arts scene got even richer with the 2018 expansion of Glenstone Museum in Potomac. Five years and $200 million in the making, the addition of a boldly modern building (right) designed by architect Thomas Phifer and 130 acres of sustainably landscaped terrain put Glenstone on the map as a world-class art institution. glenstone.org Photo: Scott Francis

CHARM CITY REVIVAL  In 2018, The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore unveiled a nearby annex, 1 West Mount Vernon Place. This circa-1850 Greek Revival mansion was fresh from a three-year, $10.4 million transformation. Spearheaded by Marks, Thomas Architects, the project restored plaster panels, a grand staircase (above) and fluted Corinthian columns. The annex now showcases paintings, sculpture and decorative arts from The Walters’ collection. thewalters.org  Photo: Jeffrey Totaro 

HOT SPOT  In 2015, Nick Stefanelli transformed a gritty warehouse near burgeoning Union Market into a mecca for Italian fare—and urban-chic décor. The chef worked with Grupo7 Architecture + Interiors to design the al fresco courtyard (pictured) and interiors where the open kitchen is offset by glazed aqua subway tile. In 2016, Masseria received a Michelin star. masseria-dc.com  Photo: Scott Suchman

GRAND ENTRANCE  After suffering damage from a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in 2011, the main hall of Washington’s Union Station (pictured) underwent a five-year overhaul. The project not only reinforced the 1907 structure with seismically sound steel framework, but also restored its ornamental plaster ceiling. The finishing touch: more than 120,000 sheets of gold leaf, applied by The Gilders’ Studio. Architect of Record: John Bowie Associates.  Photo: Colin Winterbottom

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