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Building of the Day Tour: The Wharf

In the 1950s, the District’s Southwest quadrant became the subject of the very first implementation of federally-funded urban renewal in the US. By 1968 these initiatives had already displaced most of the residents and businesses and failed to adequately integrate the neighborhood with the city.

Today, The Wharf is one of the largest developments on the East Coast. It is a large neighborhood envisioned on a small scale, in which every square foot of space is utilized, mobility and accessibility are prioritized, and a fully activated urban environment extended up to (and beyond) the water’s edge. This once underutilized site, in which only nine businesses and 193,000 square feet of built space occupied 23 acres, will feature 3.2 million square feet of mixed-use development when it is completed in 2021.

Join us to explore how The Wharf takes a revolutionary approach to large-scale urban design by bringing the city directly to its waterfront.

Presented by: Perkins Eastman


  • Discuss the history of the Wharf and why the attempted renewal in the 1950’s wasn’t successful
  • Explain the challenges of working with a smaller neighborhood while still utilizing every square foot of space
  • Discuss the challenges of redeveloping in an area that has previously been unsuccessful as well as how the proximity to water affects the types of structures being built
  • Summarize the design strategies being utilized to create a variety of structures among the Wharf