Sunday, February 27, 2005

Historic Watergate

This past week, the Watergate entered history as a modernist landmark, in a move that saved it from a dramatic redesign/redevelopment.

The scale and mixed-use program of Watergate required the formation of Washington's first private-initiative Planned Unit Development, a new and largely untested idea in urban planning. The building is a master work of prominent European Modernist Luigi Moretti, one of the most important twentieth-century Italian architects, and represents the only example of the architect's work in the United States. . . .

Furthermore, execution of the complex, curvilinear design exhibited at Watergate precipitated the use of a computer to efficiently calculate measurements of building elements, making Watergate one of the earliest known examples of computer-aided design in the country.

Evidently the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board was comfortable making this designation even though it lacked one crucial piece of historical information: the identity of Deep Throat.

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