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Washington, DC neighborhoods are in a constant state of construction. Cranes and broken sidewalks are common. And although the noise and detours are annoying, Washingtonians understand that construction is a sign of prosperity and economic health.

Usually old buildings are demolished to make way for the shiny new glass buildings that rise from the rubble. Other times builders preserve the original facade and connect the brand new interior to the former exterior.

But this renovation is fascinating. At CSIS in downtown DC they’re using the BATH FITTER® philosophy. Brand new shiny windows are installed right over the original cement structure. So when it’s finished – if you hadn’t seen the remodel or never known what the CSIS building looked like originally – you’d think it was just another new glass building.

I’m not quite sure why this bothers me as much as it does. When they tear down some of the older buildings, I’m heartbroken by the architectural loss (like the Columbia Hospital for Women).

But hiding the original beneath a new facade… not improving the structure but covering it up… it’s symbolic for a lot of what goes on in this town.


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