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Ellen M. McCarthy
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Mount Vernon Square Design Workbook, Washington, DC  

The Mount Vernon Square District is emerging as an exciting new civic, hospitality, retail and residential district in Downtown Washington D.C. Far more than just the intersection of New York and Massachusetts Avenues, it is becoming the intersection of culture and commerce, of religion and media, of classical and contemporary architecture —the heart of “D.C.” The district that surrounds the ‘Square’ can be a place of meeting for the entire city, crossed by thoroughfares connecting Washington from east to west. 

It is also an urban neighborhood that is walking distance from the U.S. Capitol and the National Mall, all of downtown Washington, and the lively U Street district. Massachusetts and New York Avenues provide broad boulevards and intimate parks. Seventh and Ninth Streets are becoming active pedestrian entertainment, retail and cultural destinations filled with activity and local color. At the center of it all is the former Carnegie Library building, a striking piece of architecture and an important symbol for the District of Columbia.

It provides a beautiful venue for ceremonies, entertainment events, meetings, and exhibitions, offering attractions to locals and tourists and bringing activity to the surrounding streets. Mount Vernon Square District is the location of the new Washington Convention Center and will also soon be home to a new Convention Center hotel as well as a landmark mixed-use destination being planned on the site of the former Convention Center. In addition to these planned projects, there are ongoing improvements in the Shaw neighborhood and adjacent undeveloped sites and properties ripe for repositioning. 

Good design is of great importance! This document has been created as a starting point in a conversation about the Mount Vernon Square District as a great new destination for Washingtonians – one that is vibrant, intermixing a great variety of uses in a design that is unique. This workbook demonstrates the potential of the district, emphasizes its spirit, and offers possible directions for a new vision to come to fruition as a great symbolic landmark of the local city. It also provides an urban design framework and acts as a preliminary guide for new and repositioned development, so that collectively, the area can become a distinctive gateway to the city for convention-goers and tourists and a place of gatherings and fun for residents.

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Mt Vernon Square Design Workbook

Project at a Glance

Project Title: Mount Vernon Square Design Workbook, Washington, DC
Type: Other
Start Date: October 21, 2010

Milestones and Deliverables

Mount Vernon Square Design Workbook, Washington, DC :
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