Historic Preservation Awards

Library_Laylights (3)

Architects, planners, builders, preservationists, and many enthusiastic members of the public came out this past Thursday for the 2014 District of Columbia Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation at the DAR Constitution Hall. Hosted by the DC Office of Planning, Historic Preservation Office, and DC Preservation League, the awards recognized projects across the city that exemplified the best of historic preservation.

Before the program began, Katie Irwin of Quinn Evans Architects led tours of the lay light restoration in the DAR Library Reading Room—one of this year’s winning projects. What is now the reading room of the Daughters of the American Revolution’s famous genealogical library was originally built as an auditorium; it is connected to Constitution Hall. Large 9’x9’ leaded glass lay lights allow for natural illumination of the space (in photo above).

The event kicked off with remarks by Ellen McCarthy, Director of the Office of Planning, Mayor Vincent Gray, Edward Dunson, President of the DC Preservation League, and Lynn Forney Young, President General of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. All spoke about the positive role preservation pays in DC and many commented on the beauty of Constitution Hall.

To view short videos about each project, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN-Ku-lou7_1h8nndDElElA.

Photos from the event will be available soon on flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/14880935@N03/).

FULL LIST OF AWARD RECIPIENTS

DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
1925 6th Street NW: A labor-of-love homeowner project in the LeDroit Park Historic District. Rebecca Westcott

Arch Square, 801 7th Street NW: Rehabilitation and expansion of a signature corner in the Chinatown neighborhood of the Downtown Historic District. Douglas Development Corporation; McCaffery Interests; R2L: ARCHITECTS; Antunovich Associates; Winmar Construction; EHT Traceries, Inc.

Le Diplomate Restaurant, 1601 14th Street NW: Transformation of an abandoned 1920s laundry into an anchor restaurant along the 14Th Street corridor. Starr Restaurants; Stokes Architecture; Shawn Hausman Design; Brian Orter Lighting Design

Northern Exchange, 1401 R Street NW: Conversion of a vacant telephone exchange building into condominiums and retail on 14th Street NW. P.N. Hoffman & Associates, Inc.; Eric Colbert & Associates PC; Trevor Costa, Project Architect; EHT Traceries, Inc.

DAR Library Reading Room Lay Light Restoration Project, 1776 D Street NW: Restoration of extraordinary skylight roof in the former auditorium space of the DAR Headquarters complex.
Daughters of the American Revolution; Quinn Evans Architects; The Christman Company; Femenella & Associates, Inc.; Hutchinson United Rigging

Yuma Study Center/Convent of Bon Secours, 4101 Yuma Street NW: Renovation and tasteful expansion of a Tenleytown neighborhood signature landmark. Yuma Study Center; Quinn Evans
Architects; Forrester Construction Company; AtSite, Inc.; Tenleytown Historical Society

Meridian Public Charter School/Harrison School, 2120 13th Street NW: Renovation and contemporary addition to a Victorian-era school building in the U Street Historic District. Meridian Public Charter School; Bowie Gridley Architects; Forrester Construction Company; Brailsford & Dunlavey

ARCHAEOLOGY AND EDUCATION
St. Elizabeths Hospital Campus, 2701 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE: Recognition of the U.S. General Services Administration efforts at St. Elizabeths for both an archaeological project related to first phase construction, and preparation of a handsome and well-illustrated book, St. Elizabeths Hospital: A History. U.S. General Services Administration; Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.; Thomas Otto; The Louis Berger Group, Inc.

HPRB CHAIR’s AWARD
Francis L. Cardozo Senior High School, 1200 Clifton Street NW: Twenty-first century rehabilitation for a landmark school. District of Columbia Department of General Services; Hartman-Cox Architects; Grimm + Parker Architects; GCS-Sigal, LLC

STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICER AWARD
Sherman Building Earthquake Recovery Project, 3700 North Capitol Street NW: Restoration and repair of extensive damage caused to the most significant building on the Armed Forces Retirement Home-Washington campus. Armed Forces Retirement Home – Washington; Quinn Evans Architects; R. Bratti Associates, Inc.; The Christman Company; Hayles & Howe; Keast & Hood Company; Oak Grove Restoration Company; PRESERVE/scapes Consulting, LLC

INDIVIDUAL LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Douglas Jemal: Mr. Jemal is responsible for many projects in Washington’s downtown that have served as the catalyst for the redevelopment of that area, including 7th Street Row in Chinatown, the old Woodward & Lothrop Department Store building, and other signature projects along F Street NW.

Ten projects were recognized ranging in size from an individual homeowner project to the archaeological study of the St. Elizabeths Hospital campus. They were presented by Gretchen Pfaehler, Chair of the Historic Preservation Review Board; Edward Dunson; Steve Callcott, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer; and Ellen McCarthy. Additionally, Douglas Jemal, founder and president of Douglas Development, received the lifetime achievement award for his efforts in historic preservation in downtown DC. Each project was highlighted by a short video explaining how it had come to be with excerpts from interviews of people involved.

Following the ceremony, guests and awardees mingled over sweet and savory treats and beverages in the lobby area of the Hall. It was a great opportunity to congratulate the winners of this year’s awards, discuss upcoming projects, and reconnect with old friends.

In biking heaven!

by Andrea Limauro

I have been in biking heaven for the past week. Where is biking heaven you might ask?

It’s right here in DC! Biking heaven, also known as the new green-painted on-street biking lane on 1st St NE, is just being completed this week. The bike lane is only one of several separated bike lanes in the nation’s capital – however, in contrast to the ones along Pennsylvania Avenue, 15th Street NW, or L Street NW, this one comes with all the goodies: physically separated from car traffic and sporting a bright and visible green look. What’s not to love?!

Signs that you are looking at an urban biking heaven: the bike lane is physically separated from car traffic; it is painted a soothing and comforting green color and takes you where you need to get to safely.

Signs that you are looking at an urban biking heaven: the bike lane is physically separated from car traffic; it is painted a soothing and comforting green color and takes you where you need to get to safely.

Until recently, biking on 1st St NE through fast-growing NOMA was like biking through DC’s version of the wild-west: cyclists had to contend with a street bordered on both sides by new shiny buildings and construction zones, a bottleneck of double parked trucks, cars idling in the opposite traffic lane waiting for somebody to come out of Union Station, and swarms of train raiders crossing everywhere. In other words, 1st St NE was the total opposite of bike-friendly.

The top portion of 1st St NE as it meets Union Station (on the left of the photo) as it is today. As you can see, the Budweiser truck (and the one in front of it) is parked for deliveries in the opposite lane of traffic essentially preventing anyone from being able to drive/ride north safely (also note the kegs sitting in the middle of the yellow middle double line). Unfortunately this is how this section of 1st St NE presents itself to a biker on a daily basis.

The top portion of 1st St NE as it meets Union Station (on the left of the photo) as it is today. As you can see, the Budweiser truck (and the one in front of it) is parked for deliveries in the opposite lane of traffic essentially preventing anyone from being able to drive/ride north safely (also note the kegs sitting in the middle of the yellow middle double line). Unfortunately this is how this section of 1st St NE presents itself to a biker on a daily basis.

Fortunately, our wonderful Bicycle Program team at DDOT has started to work on this stretch of the 8-mile Metropolitan Branch Trail that runs from Union Station in the District of Columbia to Silver Spring in Maryland. Since I bike daily over the entire length of the trail to get to and from work, I can say with confidence that DDOT just made the most hazardous stretch of the entire 8 miles much safer for cyclists. Before last week I used to dread this portion of the trail because of the aforementioned double parking and other hazards. With this project completed, my 10-mile plus daily bike commute is now mostly either on a trail, a bike lane or at least a sharrow (a sharrow is the short-form for “shared lane bicycle marking”. This pavement marking includes a bicycle symbol and two white chevrons and is used to remind motorists that bicyclists are permitted to use the full lane) – Thank you DDOT for this biking bonanza!

So why are these green bike lanes so great? According to the Green Lane Project, an advocacy organization working with several US cities (including DC) to create more separated green bike lanes, “protected bike lanes bring predictability and order to busy streets: drivers like knowing where to expect riders, and pedestrians report fewer bikes on the sidewalk. Protected lanes also add vitality and energy to the street, attracting new businesses and helping create a community people want to be in, not just move through. In New York City, local businesses saw a 49% increase in retail sales after the construction of protected bike lanes, compared to only a 3% increase city-wide.” And as for DC “a recent study showed that bicycling tripled on 15th Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue following the installation of protected bike lanes.”

Green biking lanes are not a temporary fad by the way. According to the Green Lane Project the number of these lanes in the US “has nearly doubled to 142 protected bike lanes within the first two years of the Green Lane Project, and it is expected to continue to grow dramatically.”

So, talking about growth of green bike lanes, my next bike heaven dream is to see the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lane continue to Union Station over Constitution and Louisiana Avenue NW/NE (*note that this is not in DDOT’s MBT plan).

What is your most dreaded bike commute stretch in DC and where would you like to see the next biking heaven built?

Some interesting links:

– Here is the link to DDOT’s Bicycle Program where you can find, among other things, DDOT’s 10-year Bicycle Master Plan http://ddot.dc.gov/page/bicycle-program

– Here is the link to the Metropolitan Branch Trail project which envisions “that the MBT will one day be an entirely off-road trail”: http://www.metbranchtrail.com/

– Here is the link to the Green Lane Project: the Green Lane Project is a PeopleForBikes program helping cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets: http://www.peopleforbikes.org/green-lane-project