Rooms With a View: An Idealistic Vision

Rooms With a View: An Idealistic Vision (HM2ERK)

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N 38° 52.54', W 77° 1.209'

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River Farms to Urban Towers

—Southwest Heritage Trail —

More than 50 years after it opened in 1964, Tiber Island stands as a tribute to the idealism that marked the new Southwest. Planners hoped the neighborhood's mid-20th-century modern architecture, mix of high- and low-rise structures, balance of intimacy and communal areas, lush landscaping, and magnificent views would draw middle-class families back to the city.

For Tiber Island, the DC Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA) tried something different: a design competition. The local firm Keyes, Lethbridge & Condon's winning entry featured structurally expressive modern architecture: a pre-stressed-concrete "frame" with brick infill. Each apartment building appears to float over the all-glass lobby separating the exterior public space from the private central courtyard. Rowhouses stand at each corner of the property.

RLA's policy for the new Southwest was racial inclusivity. Thus protest arose at the news that one of the members of the original Tiber Island development team had a long history of discrimination against minorities. The firm consequently withdrew from the project. Given the Southwest urban renewal project's national visibility, the incident received significant attention. In November 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination in federally supported housing—such

as here in the Southwest Urban Renewal Area.

Tiber Island's four highrise co-ops started as rental building, but the rowhouses were marketed as condominiums, an ownership concept until then unknown in DC.

Considered one of the finest examples of mid-century modern architecture in the city, Tiber Island was added to the National Register of Historic Landmarks in 2012.
Year Placed2018
Placed ByCultural Tourism DC
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, March 6th, 2019 at 7:02pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 324758 N 4304918
Decimal Degrees38.87566667, -77.02015000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 52.54', W 77° 1.209'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 52' 32.4" N, 77° 1' 12.54" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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