Tag Archives: mary cheh

Architecture Local

Don’t Just Preserve History at Tenley Campus, Interpret It.

With a more creative approach to preservation, American University’s plan for its Tenley Campus could produce better urban design and a more compelling presentation of the site’s history.

Capital Hall and its lawn. Image: Wikipedia.

AU has agreed to preserve several structures on the site: the a former farmhouse called Dunblane House, Capital Hall the main building visible from Tenley Circle, and a Chapel. Together, these buildings form an axis that the Historic Preservation Office has insisted on preserving.

The Historic Preservation Office is right to emphasize this axis; it is probably the most interesting part of the site. The architects at SmithGroup have worked within these requirements to create a private quadrangle between the old house and Capital Hall, which looks good so far.

But AU has also decided to build on the footprints of the existing 1950s buildings and not construct anything that would obscure Capital Hall. The buildings are preserved, but no part of the campus will feel different from the others, even if they are in a slightly different style. The new buildings offer no key to understand on the site they inherit.

 

An abstracted amphitheater frames the Getty Villa. Image: The Consortium/Flickr

To understand what I mean by interpretation, take a look at Machado & Silvetti’s renovation of the Getty Villa. They combined the pragmatic need for an an entry stairway with architectural promenade that helps visitors understand the museum’s curatorial approach. Treating the 1970s replica of a roman villa as an object in a collection, stairs and pathways frame the building in a sequence that calls to mind an excavation. The stair gives visitors a lens with which to understand the building and clears their minds of the drive out to Malibu. read more »

Local

Church, politician hosting parties this weekend

Mary Cheh

This weekend, up north of Van Ness, you have two great opportunities to get food and meet people, one sponsored by Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, the other by the Capitol Memorial Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

On Saturday, Mary Cheh is having her campaign kick-off at Murch Elementary School in Tobago, from 2-4. The event promises of food paired with speeches on the playground, in temperate weather. Mary Cheh has been a very strong supporter of economic growth, pedestrian safety, and neighborhood livability in Ward 3. Outside of the neighborhood, she has also fought hard for the much-needed education reforms of Michelle Rhee, while also fighting against Mayor Fenty’s cronyism and arrogant executive style. Map out Murch ES.

If you’re more of a religious person, especially one that dislikes meat, alcohol, coffee, and evangelists, the Capitol Memorial Church has its annual vegetarian food festival. Because they hold services on Saturday, the event will be on Sunday, the 16th, from 1PM-4PM. According to the DCist article on theevent, the diversity and volume of food is enormous. The CMC professes to have parishioners from 40 countries providing an unlimited transnational smorgasbord for $10 Map out the CMC.

PLUS: The Tenleytown Historical Society, Cultural Tourism DC, and The “Tenleytown Neighbors Association” are hosting a walking tour of Tenleytown on the 22nd, from 10-12:15. Tenleytown’s history is pretty fascinating, and I regret that I can’t really cover it enough on this blog. You should register at no cost to attend.

Local

North of Tilden: Developments in development

Tenleytown: The armpit of the area, a former bank parking at 4501 Wisconsin Ave, has sprouted scaffolding. Developed by the Pedas Family, the site will become a one-story, 3,677sf retail site, although the developer has not listed a client. The Pedases are better known for their empire based around the Inner Circle cinema, but also for Circle Parking and Circle Management. Physically, their most distinctive building is the Michael Graves-designed International Finance Corporation building at Washington Circle. Always a good improvement to see an empty lot get filled.

Mmmmm... postmodernism.
Mmmmm... postmodernism.

Tenleytown: The Ward 3 Aquatic Center, or the Wilson Pool, as everyone will call it, will have a formal opening, complete with Fenty,  on Monday, August Third, at 10:30 AM. The Hughes group have put together an inoffensive structure, but it supposedly boasts the capability for daylighting, natural ventilation, and water-loss mitigation, earning it a LEED Silver certification. The pool has been desperately needed since the shoddily built predecessor started falling apart at a more rapid rate in 2003.

Hawthorne, Palisades, Green Acres?: Opposition to sidewalks continues in the hinterlands of DC, where DDOT has been adding the badly needed infrastructure. This time, it’s over in Palisades, on Chain Bridge Road and University Terrace. Roger Lewis and Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh went on the Kojo Nnamdi show. Lewis shared some interesting history, but it was Cheh that laid down the law, insisting on sidewalks, but also demanding DDOT involve community members more. The two both agreed that the rational need for a network of sidewalks was a no-brainer. Callers disagreed, for some reason, mostly that “they’re not used” and they’ll “ruin the character of the neighborhood.” The panelists offered reasonable responses to the entitled views of opponents.

However, aside from the Cheh-Lewis lovefest, the two missed some important points, such as the dubious wisdom of low-density, limited-network streets in the middle of the city. One of the callers declared that residing in the area seemed like living in the country, but near the city. That’s just swell, but neither addressed whether having such low density a mere 4 miles from the center of town was a good idea. Also, Nnamdi and Lewis both guiltily admitted to driving on University Terrace routinely. Listen to the conversation, it’s worth some down time.