West Heating Plant – Washington DC

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Description

From the General Services Administration Web site:

The West Heating Plant is a six-story, near monolithic structure realized in a vestigial Art Deco style. The solidity of the brick exterior is relieved by rhythmic, linear fenestration – the whole depending upon the play of voids against solids for architectural effect. The coal house and ash house, sited in close proximity to the main heating plant building, echoes the plant’s architectural composition – both in terms of massing and material.

The West Plant was to supply heat to existing and future government buildings in downtown, thereby providing relief to the overburdened Central Heating Plant at 13th and C Steets, S.W. Appropriations required for the construction of the West Heating Plant were made in 1940 as the plant was “a necessity not only for serving the needs of additional space facilities which are developing in connection with the national defense program but also as a supplement to the present plant in taking over part of the load in the event of a breakdown” (Quoted in “Washington Evening Star,” June 23, 1940). Additional appropriations were made in 1941 setting construction costs at 7 million dollars. The project was commenced in March 1942, but was suspended in September as the United States’ entry into World War II required steel for battleship construction. With the end of the War in 1945, construction on the West plant was resumed with urgency as the Central Plant was now serving over 130 buildings in the District. A steam distribution network was established in which a primary tunnel radiated from the West Heating Plant, ran along Virginia Avenue, and interfaced with the old system at 21st and D Streets, NW.

The property was sold in 2013 and redevelopment plans are currently in review. The D.C. Preservation League included the West Plant in their 2014 Most Endangered Places list.

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Location Info


1051-1055 29th Street NW
Washington , DC 20007

Coordinates: 38.903718, -77.057279

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