The Daily Feed


NYU-DC, Facade Rendering.  Courtesy of Hickock Cole Architects.

A lot of universities’ have academic hubs in D.C., but none have one quite like this.  This month, Hickock Cole Architects will break ground on a brand new academic center for New York University on L Street, NW.  NYU’s new Constance Milstein and Family Academic Center, also known as NYU-DC, will be a 12-story building with academic space and six floors of dormitories.

The new building is also aiming for LEED Gold.

NYU-DC will be located at 1307 L St, NW.

The Features

Behind the Design: Westend Bistro

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

“When I came on board with the project, the design aspect was quite well advanced, however I participated towards the end in making sure we created a concept that was casual, friendly, warm and high energy, keeping in mind we were building a neighborhood bistro.”   – Eric Ripert on the design of Westend Bistro, exclusively for We Love DC

Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert, opened in 2007 at the Ritz-Carlton, Washington D.C., is not your typical, often lackluster hotel restaurant.  Apart from the exceptional service – synonymous with the Ritz-Carlton brand, one would never guess that they were dining amongst hotel guests and visitors.  Westend Bistro feels like that friendly, neighborhood spot.  The place you know you can always count on – with phenomenal food and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. 

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The Daily Feed

Museum Plans Revised

Proposed Model via Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup

The design concept for the National Museum of African American History and Culture has been revised, and the building will now be 17 percent smaller than the original architectural plan.  Although the building will be smaller, according to The Washington Post, the edited design was “favorably reviewed by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC)”.

The architecture team of Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup won the contract to design and build the museum in April 2009, and the Smithsonian museum will be located at Constitution Avenue between 14th and 15th streets NW.  Construction is expected to begin in 2012.

The museum will be the last Smithsonian museum to be built on the National Mall.

Click here and here to learn more about the planned project from NCPC.

The Daily Feed

Palladio Exhibit Opens At NBM

Photo courtesy of

‘Capitol – Cloud City’s Cousin – 07-09-10’ courtesy of ‘mosley.brian’

The Italian Renaissance master Andrea Palladio was, and remains to be, incredibly influential for many architects and designers.  Although he is best known for his publications, and was highly coveted in the Architecture scene throughout Europe, Palladio did manage to make a strong impression on a certain famous American.  Thomas Jefferson loved Palladianism and found his inspiration there for Monticello, the Virginia State Capitol.  Our beautiful U.S. Capitol building is also an example of a Palladian format.

Palladio and His Legacy:  A Transatlantic Journey opens today at the National Building Museum and will share “31 rare drawings” from the collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects Trust.

The National Building Museum is located at 401 F Street NW.

Interviews, The Features

A We Love DC Interview: Spotlight On Design

Tadao Ando, March 2, 2002.  Image Courtesy of the National Building Museum.

Since 1997, the National Building Museum has been offering professionals, tourists, and aficionados the opportunity to hear some of the most distinguished architects and designers in the world speak about their passion.  Paul Kilmer, Director of Public Programs, introduces the Spotlight on Design speaker series as an occasion to “celebrate an architect, designer or firm, and give them the opportunity to share with us the significance of their work – celebrating design innovation”.  Furthermore, it allows us to “demonstrate how critical and important good design is to quality of life”, says Kilmer.  Past speakers have included Pritzker Prize Laureates, American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medalists, and the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Medal recipients.

Oh how I would have given anything to be a fly on the wall when Tadao Ando presented!

In the spirit of the Spotlight on Design speakers series, We Love DC chats with Martin Moeller, the Senior Vice President and Curator of the National Building Museum, who gave us some details about the makings of the wildly popular lecture program and how he feels about design and architecture in D.C.

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The Features

Behind the Design: Immortal Beloved

Image Credit: Max Cook

Design is everywhere.  Your toothbrush is designed, your office is designed, and even the carts at the grocery store are designed (next time check out the difference between the elongated single carts and the compact double carts – the latter makes maneuvering through a crowded aisle much, much easier).  Design is truly meant to improve the physical and emotional relationship that we have with a space or a product.

Having spent a couple of years studying design, my sense of awareness in regards to its implications has been heightened.  No matter what I do, I take notice – the good, the bad, and the extremely ugly.  And one type of environment that has always left me wondering is the hair salon.   Why the heck do they all look and feel like clones?  High-end salons are almost always ornamented with chandeliers; trendy salons love to play glaring music – the louder the better; and I don’t think a “budget cut” salon exists without some dated, checkered vinyl flooring.  Can’t someone please answer my salon design woes and create something truly unique?

And in fact someone has finally answered my prayers! His name is Kelly Gorsuch and he is the owner of Immortal Beloved.

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The Features

First Look: Behind the Design, Buddha Bar DC

via Max Cook

There is nothing understated about Buddha Bar.

From the moment you find yourself standing in front of two enormous, yet intricately detailed, iron-clad gates, reading the brand’s etched signage, you just know that you are about to embark on a rather exceptional experience.

The play on monumental proportions continues once you step inside the door.  Don’t be fooled by the cozy entryway, with its stunning mosaic stone rugs, because as soon as you turn the corner to enter the bar and dining area, the ceilings rise and the floor plate drastically expands. Quite atypical for the DC-scene, Buddha Bar consists of 9,500-square-feet of space and has 22-foot high ceilings.

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Interviews, People, The Features

A We Love DC Interview: ArchitectDesign

Image Credit: National City, Stefan Hurray of ArchitectDesign

D.C. is home to its share of blogs and bloggers, and our passions cover a wide range of topics.  Residential architect, Stefan Hurray of ArchitectDesign focuses his writing on architecture, design, and travel – often times, sharing with loyal readers some of the inspiration he finds in his very own backyard (i.e. Logan Circle). recently shared with me his passion for architecture, design, and of course, D.C.

We Love DC: What is ArchitectDesign?

Stefan Hurray: A visual diary of places I find inspiring. It might be something I’ve visited myself or the occasional magazine story.

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The Daily Feed

Washington Iconic Structures

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Skigle’

The National Building Museum is opening a new exhibit called A Century of Design: The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, 1910-2010. The CFA advises the President and Congress on “matters of design and aesthetics” that affect government buildings and the preservation of national monuments.  On display from May 15 through July 18, the new exhibit will pay homage to the influential role that the CFA has had on 10 major projects in D.C. – from the Lincoln Memorial to even our beloved (or loathed, depends on the day) Metro System.

In commemoration of the exhibit, on May 19th from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, the National Building Museum will co-host Power, Architecture, and Politics: The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the Design of Washington – a symposium that will further explore the essence and influence of the CFA.

The Daily Feed

Architecture and Design on Film

Photo courtesy of
‘AFI Seats’
courtesy of ‘Kevin H.’

The Initiative for Architecture and Design on Film will be screening the latest documentary, Contemporary Days: Robin and Lucienne Day Design the UK. Robin and Lucienne Day transformed British design after World War II with modern furnishings and abstract textiles, yet, all the while remaining sensible in their approach.  The film follows the Day’s personal and professional lives over the course of their careers – spanning more than 70 years.

The film premieres at 7:30 PM on May 15 at the National Geographic Museum’s Grosvenor Auditorium, and a question and answer session with Directory Murray Grigor and Cinematographer Hamid Shams will follow the screening.

Tickets must be purchased in advance!

History, The District, The Features

Behind the Design: National Press Club

Photo courtesy of
‘National Press Club #27’
courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

The National Press Club, rich in historical context and paramount in its mission, is best-known as a retreat for the affiliates within the journalism industry. As a Washington, D.C. fixture, the feeling evoked upon entrance into the Club could best be compared to the dilemma that a young child may face as they enter the formal living room of the home – you are in complete awe of its presence and utterly afraid of breaking something, yet, somehow still manage to want to touch everything in sight.

The good thing is that what differs between this presented scenario and that of my first visit to the National Press Club, is that at the Club exploration is not only encouraged – it is celebrated.

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The Features

Behind the Design: Sweetgreen

Photo courtesy of
‘Sweetgreen #14’
courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

A bit over a year ago, as I was sitting in my Institutional Design Studio, I was flipping through my favorite magazine – Metropolis – when I came across a feature story on Georgetown’s Sweetgreen.  I was in awe of the historic retrofit, the building used to house the Little Tavern hamburger ‘hut’, in conjunction with its eco-friendly and streamlined interior – I knew that as soon as class was over I would be off towards M Street in order to explore further. Could it be true? Does a piece of design paradise exist with-in a 460-square foot envelope just down the street from me?

Fast-forward a year later, to yesterday actually, where my investigation of Sweetgreen continued with Nic Jammet, one of the restaurants three owners (the others are Jonathan Neman and Nathaniel Ru), at their newest location in Logan Circle.

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History, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Drawing Toward Home

DTH_Bowen House

Bowen House, Woodstock, Connecticut, c. 1846.  Joseph C. Wells, architect.  Courtesy Historic New England.

“A major component of the American pursuit of happiness has long been a home of one’s own (the automobile is a distant second: the one a castle, the other a chariot).”   – James F. O’Gorman, lead curator for Drawing Toward Home.

When talking about art we often highlight forms such as painting, theater, sculpture, dance, and photography – just to name a few.  However, often overlooked are the artistic endeavors of both the historic and modern architectural community.  The newest exhibition at the National Building Museum, called Drawing Toward Home, highlights the intricate and often-complex domestic architectural drawing.

As a traveling exhibition organized by Historic New England in celebration of their Centennial, the 100-plus drawings featured provide a unique look into the vast history of the New England Style home.  Ranging from the Federal to the International Style and spanning over 200 years, Drawing Toward Home “reminds us that the architecture of New England is a touchstone of American Architecture”.  The exhibition is uncomplicated; simple to follow and clearly displayed.  Organized chronologically into four sections, beginning circa 1800 and ending around 1980, Drawing Toward Home is much like the foundation of the architectural drawing itself – a cohesive way to convey pure information.

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The Daily Feed

Architecture Beat – Francis Gregory Library in SE


Credit: Exterior Rendering by Adjaye Associates

Having the ‘coolest’ library in the neighborhood is not far fetched for those living in SE. Just released are a few renderings by Adjaye Associates, whom, in collaboration with Wiencek Associates, have developed quite an interesting design for the Francis Gregory Library. Libraries seem to be all the rage when it comes to design lately (check out the Agave Library in Phoenix) so it’s quite nice to see DC sharing some of the attention.  I am pretty sure though that not everyone will be pleased with this addition to the DC architectural scene. What do you think?

See more renderings thanks to DC Metrocentric.

The Features

Behind the Design: Blue Duck Tavern

Photo courtesy of
‘Rocking Chairs – Blue Duck Tavern’
courtesy of ‘prettylovelythings’

Author’s Note:  So often we move through space too quickly – trying to get from one place to the next, without ever taking the time to stop and look around.  Behind the Design is a new series that hopes to encourage an appreciation for the places we forget to take a moment and truly experience.

Located in the West End and tucked within the Park Hyatt, Blue Duck Tavern has become a staple among the DC foodie scene.  With a farm-to-table menu that includes a variety of delights – even worthy of a Presidential date night, Blue Duck Tavern deems to be deserving of all its food-related accolades.  However, often taking a back seat to the well-deserving menu is the other half of this award-winning duo:  Blue Duck Tavern’s interior. Continue reading

The Features

Why I Love DC: Samantha

Photo courtesy of
‘(heart) D.C.’
courtesy of ‘rockcreek’

I can’t tell you why I picked DC.  People ask me this question all the time when they first meet me and I just don’t have a ‘real’ answer.  Was it because of the political scene? Nope, I was about to enter a Masters program for Interior Design.  Was it because I had family here?  That would be another negative.  I got it; it must be because of the weather, right?  I am glad to say once again that weather was not the reason why I wanted to move to DC (perhaps on some subliminal level I foresaw the impending snow storms of 2009/2010).  The best answer that I can offer you is that I believe it was just a feeling that brought me here – a feeling that has since developed into a full-blown love affair.

That’s right everyone — I totally, utterly, completely, whole-heartedly love DC.   Continue reading