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Remember when we talked about how some of the most difficult cases the Historic Preservation Review Board will have to deal with in the next few years are the ones not everyone thinks of as “historic”, like the buildings that came after hundreds of acres of Southwest D.C. got flattened? Well, two have come up lately: The Tiber Island Condos and Coop and Harbour Square, across the street from each other at 4th and N Street SW.
The interesting thing is that it seems to be self-driven—-not always the case in D.C., when preservation groups can submit an application for a property whether or not the owner consents. The Southwest Neighborhood Assembly nominated Tiber Island as a historic landmark back in September, with the support of the coop and condominium association, and the Harbour Square coop association submitted an application on its own behalf last week. If approved by the Board, they couldn’t be demolished or marred by incompatible renovations.
Why are they historic? The applications claim a lot of the same attributes, like being “an outstanding example of modernist architecture and urbanism.” Harbour Square, designed in the early 1960s by Cloethiel Woodard Smith and landscape architect Dan Kiley, has also been home to a handful of politicians and Supreme Court Justices. Tiber Island, designed by Keyes, Lethbridge & Condon, was apparently the first condominium in Washington. The applications give lots more background on the buildings as well as the surrounding neighborhoods.
Say what you want about the architecture—-it’s hard to argue with that kind of history.