Judging Buildings – Renovated Embassy of the Republic of Congo

Pre-renovation with grass front yard via google street view

Thanks to a reader for sending the heads up on this concrete transformation at Embassy of the Republic of Congo (1720 16th Street, NW).

Do you think they should’ve kept the front yard grass?

The building itself is pretty amazing:

34 Comment

  • Pleased it was not converted into condos. Seems to be a quality job so far. Spotted one of the diplomats checking it out with his tinted windows silver Bentley.

  • austindc

    Yeah grass would have been nicer and would help to deal with our massive storm water runoff problem, but maybe they need parking or a place to play street hockey or something. It’s a beautiful building though!

  • Odd -i thought DDOE’s job is supposed to prevent more impervious surfaces from new construction projects??

    • Yes, but I don’t think an embassy falls under DDOE’s jurisdiction.

      It’s a gorgeous old building, and I’m sorry they paved it over.

  • Right…corrupt diplomats need to park their luxury cars somewhere while their countrymen remain in poverty!

    • austindc

      Wait, is the answer yes? Because otherwise they would be circling the block looking for parking when they should be diplomatting and diplomatting hard on behalf of their countrymen. Or better yet, they could save time and money by riding a bike. . . Nah, I’m just kidding, I’m not taking the discussion there. Had you going though!

    • +1 to FD
      And blame America.

  • Ruined. Way to go!!

  • I think you reversed the before and after photos. The paving looks like crap, and it does not appear to be vehicle-accessible. Just for patio parties, I guess.

    Pervious concrete, grass pavers, grid pavers…many ways to manage stormwater runoff while still providing a hard surface.

    @Bloomingdalian: DC does so by taxing impervious lot area. I doubt the embassy pays taxes.

  • I did not know the Congo was such a wealthy country. Good for them.

    • having a concrete front yard = wealthy?

      • I think more like silver Bentley = wealthy.

        • even a concrete front yard at 16th and S would constitute wealthy in my book. Pretty valuable real estate, that. Not to mention the beautiful building on it. : )

          • it’s a nation’s embassy in the capitol of the most powerful country in the world. their embassy has nothing to do with their relative wealth. they need to have a nice place here.

          • If you look around, there are plenty of countries wealthier than this corrupt, Third World backwater with much more humble facilities.

          • Yes I agree with you. The Republic Of Congo, considering their relative poverty, should get a modest one bedroom apartment in Anacostia and run the embassy from there.

            However from the commenters lamenting the concrete STFU whats a couple more of sq ft in a large city like this ? People are ridiculous.

    • I used to work in the Republic of Congo. It has had huge oil reserves over the past 40 years, much of which has disappeared due to corruption and not trickled down to the population. So, considering I routinely saw Bentleys in downtown Brazzaville, it doesn’t surprise me you saw one at the gate.

  • Probably another kleptocracy where the elite have all the money from natural resources, while most of the population is poor.

  • I was going to ask if this was Congo-Kinshasa (a.k.a. the Democratic Republic of the Congo) or Congo-Brazzaville, but I see now it’s the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville).

  • I think the neighborhood would have been better served by the B&B that was originally planned for the site, but neighbors objected to the number of rooms to be rented out, lack of parking, etc, and the numbers didn’t work, so this is what they got instead.

    • -1! I go for the single use approach, i.e. it was one office, now it’s one Embassy, vs. a crash pad for many rich people visiting the City.

    • Yes, precisely. At least with a B&B, they could take it up with the police or their ANC commissioner if they had any problems. Now that it’s an embassy, they’re pretty much powerless to stop the inhabitants from doing all sorts of things that will surely infringe upon their rights.

  • They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. ooo la la la la…. sorry. need a drink

  • The concrete looks like crap, really tacky. And the renovations of the buildings look sub-par as well. The Congo should spend money on their country not their embassy

  • Right, we get the feds investigating bailouts of the Kaisers while foreign interests with questionable backing move into just about the most prime real estate in town. Hope the Congo tolerates TG&LC!

  • Just walked by it. The building looks great. But if it was up to me, they would have to tear all that concret up right away and would also incurr a huge fine.

  • Freaking unbelievable. Its just a yard people. Calm the fu*k down !
    I guess every one on this site is a country analyst/ Yard engineer.

  • It’s not “just a yard”. In my garden, I’ve actually taken care to plant xeriscape/bayscape plants, reduce the amount of concrete, and install a rain barrel, all to reduce storm water runoff, which, long story short, can lead to raw sewage in Rock Creek–something none of us want. I’ve done my bit, and the DC Department of the Environment can help others do theirs if they can’t do it on their own. But it’s probably asking a bit much for us to think that a corrupt third world country would have the EQ or environmental wherewithal to be good neighbors in our city.

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