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Buildings Are Organic: Catching Up on the Construction Notes for Capitol Crossing

by Nena Perry-Brown

Buildings Are Organic: Catching Up on the Construction Notes for Capitol Crossing: Figure 2
Schematic for planned development of air rights above 395.

You would be forgiven for assuming that the above image looks like the planned development for Capitol Crossing — it's actually a drawing from the plans for the same site circa 1991. These and other interesting tidbits abound on Wallace Mlyniec's Construction Notes blog, a series the Georgetown University law professor writes providing updates on and context for various developments in the city.

The Capitol Crossing development, which will create over 2 million square feet of mixed-use space above the I-395 on-ramp at the intersections of Massachusetts Avenue, 2nd Street and E Street NW (map), has been of particular interest to Mlyniec recently. 

Buildings Are Organic: Catching Up on the Construction Notes for Capitol Crossing: Figure 1
Capitol Crossing at the west entrance of 200 Mass

Comprehensive and well-researched, Mlyniec's posts delve into the bygone history of proposed development at sites like the center-leg freeway, for which plans sat in limbo for over a decade before Property Group Partners initiated its now-under construction project. However, specific developments are also used as a point of departure for Mylniec to recount the history of specific aspects of architecture, from the general aesthetic of housing in the city over time to the history of windows and building materials.

He also infuses his entries with descriptive and rich prose, incorporating passages like the following: 

Buildings are organic. Like humans, the grandeur or simplicity of their outer shell would be lifeless without a brain to control its life, without arteries and veins to control its warmth and bring nutrients to its body, and without a soul or spirit to animate it and give purpose to its being. The people who live and work in a building provide the spirit or soul that brings expression to its purpose; but it is the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, the brain and vascular system of a building that allows the life inside it to thrive and to emanate its spirit.

Previously, Mlyniec sent his Notes out to his students, peers and friends; now, the Notes are hosted online for general consumption, opening his insights up to a larger audience.

See other articles related to: construction notes, construction, capitol crossing

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/catching-up-on-the-construction-notes-for-capitol-crossing/13745

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