Alas, in the block immediately to the east, a deep hole awaits resolution of issues to determine if the planned Virginia Performing Arts Center will be built there.
The Commonwealth of Virginia is more sure-footed with three ambitious downtown projects. These include reworking the former Virginia State Library and Supreme Court (a 1940 art moderne masterpiece) into executive offices that include new digs for the governor and his cabinet, plus temporary chambers for the General Assembly. In Capitol Square, the Old Finance Building has been expanded to include a bold new classical fa‡ade on Governor Street. At Main and 14th streets, immediately west of Main Street Station, a sprawling state parking garage is complete.
For contemplation and edification, the Virginia Center for Architecture, a glorious amenity at 2501 Monument Ave. (which opened in April), continues its inaugural season with two major exhibitions. One of the region's most prominent architects will be saluted in an exhibition Sept. 16-Nov. 6: "Hugh Newell Jacobsen: An American Architect." It will include models and photographs of works by a talent who has continued to make a splash in the Washington, D.C., region since the 1960s, when the modernist (he studied under Louis Kahn) began updating Georgetown row houses and designing pristine buildings with structural clarity and clear understanding of context. Jacobsen will speak at the center Sept. 20 at 7 p.m.
Another exhibition, "Affordable Housing: Designing an American Asset" opens Nov. 12. It will examine 18 domestic projects and how they can contribute lasting value to urban, suburban and rural communities. Edwin Slipek Jr.
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