Washington Real Estate

Written by James Lyons
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Washington real estate and Washington DC architecture dazzle avid historian and savvy investors. Even those who have very little interest in architecture find DC's architecture to be especially interesting. With more and more people moving to the nation's capitol and its surrounding communities, Washington real estate is on the move. What was once labeled a dangerous city is now the popular place to live.

Early Washington DC architects believed their job was to design the greatest capitol the world had ever seen, something reminiscent of Ancient Rome. These early architects were loyal to the federal style, which included columns, Grecian pediments, and marble. The democratic process found its way into the city planning as competitions among architects were held to design Washington's Capitol and the President's White House. Amateur architects dominated these competitions.

A Brief History of Washington Real Estate and Architecture

Professional architects took control by the mid 19th century. One of the most prominent architects of that time was Benjamin Latrobe who designed the Decatur House and St. John's church. By the 1870s, Washington real estate and architecture to a Victorian turn as evidenced by the Old Executive Office Building. In addition, the Jefferson Building arm of the Library of Congress and the Old Post Office are clear illustrations of Victorian style.

In the early 1900s, Daniel Burnham delivered the Beaux Arts panache to Washington real estate. The McMillan Commission bankrolled Burnham's Union Station, which now includes a shopping mall. The McMillan Commission also planned the Lincoln Memorial, which sparked the return to a larger and sparser mixture of Neoclassicism. John Russell Pope, the master architect of the 1930s and 1940s, designed the heralded West Building section of the National Gallery of Art.

Following World War II, Washington DC architects started blending International Modernism's crisp lines and striking simplicity with the classical feel of present construction. The Kennedy Center is a fair example of this attempt to blend styles. In fact, the Kennedy Center is considered by many to be the genesis of postmodern architecture in Washington DC. The Canadian Embassy is a beautiful example of postmodern architecture in Washington DC.

Washington Real Estate Today

Now that I've bored you with a little Washington DC architectural history, I can bore you with the current state of Washington real estate. In the 1980s, the nation's capitol was given the nickname "Murder Capitol" because more murders occurred in this city than in any other city in the nation. Many people asked, "How can crime be so bad in the nation's capitol?" Consequently, real estate values all over the city went down.

Eventually the local and federal governments stepped in and took action to overhaul things. A majority of the crime took place in the Southeast quadrant of the city. More officers were hired and the economy took a major turn, especially for mid to lower income people. The result was a much safer city. Even surrounding cities in Virginia and Maryland improved in many ways during the 1990s.

Over the past 10 years, Washington real estate has been a hot item for investors and people just looking for a home. From old brick neighborhoods like Georgetown, to artistic communities like Dupont Circle, Washington real estate is back on the rise. It's not cheap if you want to buy a home in DC, but it can be inexpensive to live joyfully in this great city--free museums, cheap public transportation, the National Mall, etc.

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