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Judging New Architecture – The West/Light

by Prince Of Petworth — November 10, 2016 at 2:45 pm 21 Comments

23rd and L Street, NW

Like how it’s turning out? The West/Light website says:

“Conveniently situated at the nexus of Georgetown, Dupont Circle and Downtown, Westlight brings distinguished new condominium residences to Washington DC’s coveted West End.

Designed by internationally-acclaimed architect Enrique Norten with focal features by award-winning artist Ingo Maurer – the distinctive cantilevered glass building façade unveils breathtaking residences bathed in natural sunlight with vibrant city views framed through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Here, white-glove service is a hallmark – these illustrious residences pair singular design and privileged perks in a destination location.”

New library will be here too:

Rendering via Eastbanc

Here’s how the old library looked before demo:


  • wow

    it’s spectacular. wow.

  • DCjoe

    Love it. Anything that goes against the standard DC glass (or brick and glass) box is good in my book. The fire station project around the block is going to look great also.


  • It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s still just a bunch of glass panels.

  • wdc

    I like it. But I thought other libraries made of glass had problems with the heat/ light degrading the books, no?

    • LT

      not as much of a concern for a circulating collection which generally wears out from use long before light/heat/other climate issues. those concerns would be big for rare books/archives but west end won’t have any of those kinds of special collections.

  • Angry Parakeet

    Neighbor Ralph Nader complained about its size.

  • morecoffee

    Too much glazing, without consideration to the various facades. East, West, and South facades should all be treated differently, with consideration to glare and solar heat gain. There is some degree of self-shading but it doesn’t appear to be sufficient to mitigate summer sun (and let in “good” winter sun).

  • J

    Looks very nice. I would not describe the West End as a destination location, though.

    • FoggyBottom

      Can’t hurt that Nobu is coming to the neighborhood

  • Ross

    It’s just your basic, boring glass box with some of the rectangles moved around. They tried to be different, but I guess anything too interesting and original would’ve terrified the neighbors.

  • Ross

    Let me add that there’s a project getting started down in SE on the site of the Bullpen biergarten with undulating rectangular protrusions/recesses that looks a lot more interesting, at least in the sketches.

  • Anon

    I think this looks great! Many folks don’t seem to understand the economics behind large-scale construction. The only way this was possible was due to the very, very expensive asking price that people are apparently willing to pay. (RE agents paid people to stand in line for an opportunity to purchase some of the condos that were released for sale. My understanding is that many of these condos are being sold to foreign investors using these condos as a land-bank.)

    • Rich

      This is why the “more housing to lower the price” argument easily falls apart. There are many “markets” and some of them have nothing to do with ordinary people who plan to own and occupy space over a reasonable length of time. The building is really ugly and will be instant kitsch. The massing would be less awkward and actually more attractive if it wasn’t facing an entire block. Other than the hotel/gas station, the blocks around there abound with ordinary, mostly homely, sometimes ugly buildings, so i don’t know that there’s any net gain or loss. At least it will be conversation piece. Unfortunately, if it’s mostly owned by foreigners it probably will add little to an area that has little street life, even if they rent out some of the units.

      • Anon

        Your point regarding “many different markets” stands, but that also assumes a surfeit of housing availability for each of those markets. If that’s not the case, then more housing will certainly drive down the rate of change of the cost of housing. Only way to create any meaningful affordable housing in a place like DC is via massive public spending (be it trading land, massive tax breaks, or spending cash to build from the ground up).

        • Anon

          Or massive tax increases for people who buy investment housing and don’t live in it.

          • anon

            DC has this–the homestead deduction. It raises the price for renters .

  • anon29

    Agents paid random people to wait in line so that they would be guaranteed an appointment to write an offer.


  • SBGY

    Looks like shipping containers stacked at Bremerhaven. Don’t like the massing and height in this part of town, though. Maybe it will be more inspirational once completed. Trying to stay open-minded….

  • Joe schmo

    Building is ok but the sales team and their plans to sell have been annoying enough to cut off contact.

  • dappa

    That’s possibly the ugliest building I’ve ever seen. Brutalist and banal at the same time. I wouldn’t have thought a structure could get uglier than the typical faceless K Street rectangles, but they managed…

  • The Jimmy

    Looks to be inspired by cargo shipping container.


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