It Was a Loooong Time Coming, But This is What the West Heating Plant Will Look Like

It’s been quite the saga for the West Heating Plant. When GM first reported on it, he was arguably not middle aged (or even a father yet). GM will spare you the long history of all the twists and turns that brought us here. But now ensconced in his mid 40s with a ten year old daughter, GM can share with you the final approved plans for this massive project.

The overall picture is that the plans call for the preservation of the bulky west facade of the existing building. This surely will divide opinions. GM thinks it’s a beautiful example of muscular mid-century industrial design. Others see a massive eye-sore. In either event, it is staying.

But the entire rest of the building is going to be demolished. GM wished it all could be saved and possibly incorporated into a new modern art museum a la the Tate Modern. But the developers claim the building is too far gone, and besides, it’s not like there’s a museum with a massive pile of money looking to move in. So pricey condos it shall be.

While the old building will be wiped away, its shape will mostly be maintained with the new building. Here is what it will look like from the south:

(Here’s what it looks like now, in case you’ve forgotten…)

So the windows on the new building will echo the striking columns of glass that are on the current building. But the texture of the building will be quite different. The facade will be covered with a series of sliding shutters. Here is what they’ll look like:

(Left side is closed, with the panels opening in the other two renderings)

A penthouse will replace the cap on the current building. Its shutters will actually roll up in this nifty fashion:

The east side of the building will be rather dramatic in its own right:

The big cherry offered by the developer to gain community support, though, is the proposed park on the south side of the building. Here is the landscape concept for that park:

The park will apparently try to incorporate relics from the site’s industrial past:

For instance, some winches could end up in the pergola:

Additionally, the project will greatly improve the creekside part of the property on the northeast corner. First of all, it will include public access to the confluence of the canal and Rock Creek, which largely doesn’t exist now.

The southeast corner.

(There are many more drawings and renderings here.)

As reported recently, the project is finally ready to move ahead. But construction (which will start off with mostly destruction) won’t start until after Labor Day. And it will take about 33 months to finish. So don’t expect the final product until probably 2026.

1 Comment

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One response to “It Was a Loooong Time Coming, But This is What the West Heating Plant Will Look Like

  1. Thomas Neale

    Not bad at all — congrats to the developers and the Commission on Fine Arts for working toward a better solution to a difficult problem. The little park where the oil tanks are is a real grace note.

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