List of tallest buildings in Washington, D.C.

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Aerial image of Northwest Washington, D.C.

This list of tallest buildings in Washington, D.C. ranks high-rises in the U.S. capital city of Washington, D.C. The tallest structure in the city, excluding radio towers, is the Washington Monument, which rises 555 feet (169 m) and was completed in 1884. The structure, however, is not generally considered a high-rise building as it does not have successive floors that can be occupied. The tallest habitable building in the city is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which rises 329 feet (100 m). The second-tallest building in Washington is the Old Post Office Building, which is 315 feet (96 m) high. The third-tallest building in the city is the Washington National Cathedral, which rises 301 feet (92 m) above grade. The cathedral is built on high ground known as Mount St. Alban, 400 feet (120 m) above sea level, which makes the central tower the "highest" point in the District.[1] As of November 2011, there are 410 completed high-rises in the city.[2]

History

Diagram of the Principal High Buildings of the Old World, 1884. The Washington Monument (although not in the Old World), is the tallest structure represented.

Washington's history of skyscrapers began with the completion in 1894 of the 14-story Cairo Hotel, which is considered to be the city's first high-rise.[3][4] The building rises 164 feet (50 m) and 14 floors.[3] Washington went through an early high-rise construction boom from the late 1890s to the mid-1930s, during which time the Old Post Office Building and the Federal Triangle were built. The city then experienced a major building boom from the early 1940s to the late 1990s, during which the city saw the completion of 31 of its 48 tallest buildings, including One Franklin Square and 700 Eleventh Street. However, although the city is home to several high-rises, none are considered to be genuine "skyscrapers"; only two completed buildings surpass 200 feet (61 m).

The height of buildings in Washington is limited by the Height of Buildings Act. The original Act was passed by Congress in 1899 in response to the 1894 construction of the Cairo Hotel, which is much taller than the majority of buildings in the city. The original act restricted the heights of any type of building in the United States capital city of Washington, D.C., to be no higher than 110 feet (34 m), 90 feet (27 m) for residential buildings. In 1910, the 61st United States Congress enacted a new law which raised the overall building height limit to 130 feet (40 m), but restricted building heights to the width of the adjacent street or avenue plus 20 feet (6.1 m); thus, a building facing a 90-foot (27 m)-wide street could be only 110 feet (34 m) tall.[5] However, building heights are measured from the sidewalk or curb to the edge of the roof. Architectural embellishments, mechanical rooms, and common rooftop structures may be exempted from the overall height limit, provided they are set back from the roof line.[6][7] The heights of buildings listed here may therefore exceed the general height limit as measured for the purpose of the city's zoning laws.

In modern times the skyline remains low and sprawling, keeping with Thomas Jefferson's wishes to make Washington an "American Paris" with "low and convenient" buildings on "light and airy" streets.[5] Washington's height restriction, however, has been assailed as one of the primary reasons why the city has inflated rents, limited affordable housing, and traffic problems as a result of urban sprawl. To escape the District's height restriction, those wishing to construct higher buildings close to downtown often do so in Rosslyn, Virginia, directly across the Potomac River from Georgetown.[5]

One of the most recently completed buildings in Washington, D.C. is Capitol View, which is 171 feet (52 m) high.[8] As of July 2008, there is one high-rise under construction in the city that is expected to rise at least 150 feet (46 m), with one more proposed and one approved for construction. Onyx on First is the only high-rise under construction in Washington; upon completion, it will be the 14th-tallest building in the city.[9] Two other large developments taking place are Square 54 Residential I, which is proposed for construction, and the PNC Bank Building, which is approved. The Square Residential I building at George Washington University is expected to rise to a height of 160 feet (49 m) and 14 stories,[10][11] while the PNC Bank Building is expected to rise to a height of 151 feet (46 m) and 12 stories.[12] As of July 2008, there is a total of four high-rise buildings under construction, approved for construction and proposed for construction in Washington.[2]

Tallest structures

The Washington Monument is the tallest structure in the District of Columbia.
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the tallest building in Washington.
The Old Post Office Building, the second-tallest building in Washington
The Washington National Cathedral, the third-tallest building in Washington
The United States Capitol, the fourth-tallest building in Washington
Georgetown University's Healy Hall, the sixth-tallest building in Washington
The National Archives Building, the sixteenth-tallest building in Washington
Thomas Jefferson Building aerial photo
The Thomas Jefferson Building, the ninth-tallest building in Washington

This lists ranks Washington skyscrapers that stand at least 150 feet (46 m), based on standard height measurement. This includes spires and architectural details but does not include antenna masts. An equal sign (=) following a rank indicates the same height between two or more buildings. The "Year" column indicates the year in which a building was completed. Freestanding observation towers, while not habitable buildings, are included for comparison purposes; however, they are not ranked.

Rank Name Height
ft (m)
Floors Year Notes
01.0 Hughes Memorial Tower[A] 761 (232 ) 1989 Tallest free-standing structure in the District of Columbia and the wider Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area. The radio tower's height allows for broadcasts to reach as far west as West Virginia.[13]
01.0 Washington Monument[A] 555 (169) 55 1884 Tallest non-communication structure in the District. Was the tallest structure in the world from 1884 until 1889, and the tallest monument in the U.S. until the completion of the San Jacinto Monument in 1939.[14][15]
02.01 Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception 329 (100) 1 1959 Tallest building in Washington, D.C. since 1959. Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1950s.[16][17]
03.02 Trump International Hotel (Old Post Office Pavilion) 315 (96) 12 1899 Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1890s.[18][19]
04.03 Washington National Cathedral 301 (92) 7 1990 Tallest building completed in the city in the 1990s.[20][21]
05.04 United States Capitol 289 (88) 3 1863 Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1860s.[22][23]
06.05 One Franklin Square 210 (64) 12 1989 Tallest commercial building in Washington, D.C. Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1980s.[24][25]
07.06= 700 Eleventh Street 200 (61) 13 1992 [26][27]
08.06= Healy Hall 200 (61) 1879 [28]
08.08 Onyx on First 197 (60) 14 2008 Tallest residential building in Washington, D.C. Tallest building completed in the city in the 2000s.[9]
9 Thomas Jefferson Building 195 (59) 7 1897 [29] Originally named the Library of Congress building
10= Renaissance Washington DC Hotel 187 (57) 15 1986 [30][31]
10= 1090 Vermont Avenue 187 (57) 12 1979 Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1970s.[32][33]
11.012 1111 Pennsylvania Avenue 180 (55) 14 1968 Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1960s.[34][35]
12.013= The Tower Building 177 (54) 14 1929 Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1920s.[36][37]
13.013= Avalon at Foxhall 177 (54) 14 1982 Tallest residential building in the city from 1982 until 2008.[38]
14.015= 1900 K Street 171 (52) 13 1996 [39]
15.015= Capitol View 171 (52) 13 2007 [8]
16.017 National Archives Building 167 (51) 8 1935 Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1930s.[40][41]
17.018= The Pennsylvania North 164 (50) 14 1990 [42]
18.018= Cairo Apartment Building 164 (50) 14 1894 [3][4]
20= Capitol Place III 164 (50) 12 1985 [43][44][45]
20= 1101 New York Avenue 164 (50) 12 2007 [44][46]
21.022= 1625 Eye Street 161 (49) 12 2003 [47][48]
22.022= World Bank Headquarters 161 (49) 13 1997 [49][50]
23.024= 1001 Pennsylvania Avenue 161 (49) 14 1987 [51][52]
24.024= 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue 161 (49) 13 1981 [53][54]
25.024= 600 Thirteenth Street 161 (49) 12 1997 [44][55]
26.027= The Watergate Hotel and Office Building 157 (48) 14 1967 [44][56]
27.027= Republic Building 157 (48) 13 1991 [44][57]
28.027= Army and Navy Club Building 157 (48) 12 1987 [44][58]
30.027= 1620 L Street 157 (48) 12 1989 [44][59]
31.027= 1333 H Street 157 (48) 12 1982 [44][60]
32.027= 1111 19th Street 157 (48) 12 1979 [44][61]
33.027= 1010 Mass 157 (48) 15 2007 [44][62]
34.034= 1099 14th Street (Franklin Court) 155.6 (47.4) 11 1992 Tallest tower in the city when built in 1992.[63][64]
34.035= The Investment Building 154 (47) 13 2001 [65][66]
35.035= Capital Hilton 154 (47) 13 1943 Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1940s.[67][68]
36.035= 1875 K Street 154 (47) 12 2001 [44][69]
37.035= 1430 K Street 154 (47) 12 2006 [44][70]
38.035= 1310 G Street 154 (47) 12 1992 [44][71]
39.035= Westin Washington, D.C. City Center 154 (47) 14 1982 [44][72]
40.035= Executive Tower 154 (47) 12 2001 [73]
42.035= 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue 154 (47) 13 1962 [74][75]
43.043= Washington Gas Building 151 (46) 15 1941 [76][77]
44.043= The Watergate South 151 (46) 14 1970 [44][78]
45.043= World Bank Headquarters I 151 (46) 12 2001 [79][80]
46.043= World Bank Headquarters H 151 (46) 12 1983 [81][82]
47.043= William T. Golden Center for Science and Engineering 151 (46) 12 1996 [83][84][85]
49.043= Connecticut Connection 151 (46) 12 1978 [86][87]
50.043= 455 Massachusetts Avenue 151 (46) 12 2007 [88][89]

Tallest demolished

This lists buildings in Washington that have been demolished and at one time stood at least 150 feet (46 m) in height.

Name Height
ft (m)
Floors Year
completed
Year
demolished
Notes
Munsey Trust Building 171 (52) 13 1905 1982 [90][91]
1000 Connecticut Avenue 156 (48) 13 1956 2008 Was replaced with another building carrying the same address.[92]

Timeline of tallest buildings

This lists buildings that once held the title of tallest building in Washington, D.C. This list excludes the 555-foot (169 m) Washington Monument, which has stood as the tallest non-building structure in the city since 1884.[14]

Name Street address Years as tallest Height
ft (m)
Floors Reference
United States Capitol Pennsylvania Avenue, Capitol Hill 1863–1899 289 (88) 3 [23]
Old Post Office 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW 1899–1959 315 (96) 18 [18]
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception 400 Michigan Avenue NE 1959–present 329 (100) 1 [16]

Notes

A. ^ Not a habitable building and is therefore not ranked, but it is included in this list for comparative purposes.

References

General
  • "High-rise Buildings of Washington". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
Specific
  1. ^ "National Cathedral". National Park Service. Retrieved November 28, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "High Rises of Washington". Emporis.com. Archived from the original on May 12, 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "Cairo Hotel Condominiums". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  4. ^ a b "Cairo Hotel Condominiums". Skyscraperpage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  5. ^ a b c Grunwald, Michael (2006-07-02). "D.C.'s Fear of Heights". The Washington Post. pp. B02. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  6. ^ "Zoning in the District of Columbia" (PDF). Office of Zoning. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 October 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Lewis, Roger K. (April 23, 1994). "Testing the Upper Limits of D.C. Building Height Act". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 28, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "Capitol View". Skyscraperpage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  9. ^ a b "Onyx on First". Skyscraperpage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  10. ^ "Square 54 Residential I". Skyscraperpage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  11. ^ "Square 54 Residential I (Southeast Residential)". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  12. ^ "PNC Bank Building". Skyscraperpage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  13. ^ Soaring 761 feet, this radio and TV tower on Georgia Avenue NW is the city’s tallest
  14. ^ a b "Washington Monument". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  15. ^ "Washington Monument". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  16. ^ a b "Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception". National Shrine. Archived from the original on 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  17. ^ "The National Shrine". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  18. ^ a b "Old Post Office". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  19. ^ "Old Post Office". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  20. ^ "Washington National Cathedral". Cathedral.org. Archived from the original on 2008-04-05. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  21. ^ "Washington National Cathedral". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  22. ^ "United States Capitol building". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  23. ^ a b "United States Capitol". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  24. ^ "One Franklin Square". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  25. ^ "One Franklin Square". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  26. ^ "700 Eleventh Street". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  27. ^ "700 Eleventh Street". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  28. ^ Weeks, Christopher (1994). AIA Guide to the Architecture of Washington (Third ed.). Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 223–4. 
  29. ^ Cole, John Young; Reed, Henry Hope (1997-01-01). The Library of Congress: The Art and Architecture of the Thomas Jefferson Building. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 9780393045635. 
  30. ^ "Renaissance Washington DC Hotel". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  31. ^ "Renaissance Washington DC Hotel". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  32. ^ "1090 Vermont Avenue". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  33. ^ "1090 Vermont Avenue". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  34. ^ "1111 Pennsylvania Avenue". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  35. ^ "1111 Pennsylvania Avenue". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  36. ^ "The Tower Building". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  37. ^ "The Tower Building". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  38. ^ "Avalon at Foxhall". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  39. ^ "1900 K Street". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  40. ^ "National Archives Building". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  41. ^ "The Archives Building". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  42. ^ "The Pennsylvania North". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  43. ^ "Capitol Place III". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  44. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "High-rises in Washington". Skyscraperpage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 
  45. ^ Murray, Barbra. "Glenborough Takes Capitol Place III for $70M". Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors. Archived from the original on June 9, 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  46. ^ "1101 New York Avenue". Skyscraperpage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  47. ^ "1625 Eye Water Street". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  48. ^ "1625 I Street". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  49. ^ "World Bank Headquarters". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  50. ^ "World Bank Headquarters". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  51. ^ "1001 Pennsylvania Avenue". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  52. ^ "1001 Pennsylvania Avenue". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  53. ^ "1201 Pennsylvania Avenue". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  54. ^ "1201 Pennsylvania Avenue". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  55. ^ "600 Thirteenth Street". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  56. ^ "The Watergate Hotel and Office Building". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  57. ^ "The Republic Building". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  58. ^ "Army and Navy Club Building". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  59. ^ "1620 L Street". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  60. ^ "1333 H Street". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  61. ^ "1111 19th Street". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  62. ^ "1010 Mass". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  63. ^ Forgey, Benjamin. "The Sky's the Limit." Washington Post. January 26, 1992.
  64. ^ "Franklin Court." Emporis.com. 2012. Accessed 2012-10-05; "Franklin Court." SkyscraperPage.com. 2012. Accessed 2012-10-05.
  65. ^ "The Investment Building". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  66. ^ "The Investment Building". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  67. ^ "Capitol Hilton". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  68. ^ "Capitol Hilton". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  69. ^ "1875 K Street". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  70. ^ "1430 K Street". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  71. ^ "1310 G Street". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  72. ^ "Wyndham Washington DC". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  73. ^ "The Executive Tower". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  74. ^ "1701 Pennsylvania Avenue". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  75. ^ "1701 Pennsylvania Avenue". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  76. ^ "Washington Gas Building". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  77. ^ "Washington Gas Building". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  78. ^ "The Watergate South". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  79. ^ "World Bank Headquarters I". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  80. ^ "World Bank Headquarters I". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  81. ^ "World Bank Headquarters H". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  82. ^ "World Bank Headquarters H". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  83. ^ "William T. Golden Center for Science and Engineering". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  84. ^ "William T. Golden Center for Science and Engineering". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  85. ^ "AAAS National Headquarters". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  86. ^ "Connecticut Connection". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  87. ^ "Connecticut Connection". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  88. ^ "455 Massachusetts Avenue". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  89. ^ "455 Massachusetts Avenue". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  90. ^ "Munsey Trust Building". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  91. ^ "Munsey Trust Building". Skyscraperpage.com. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  92. ^ "(Original) 1000 Connecticut Avenue". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 

External links

  • Diagram of Washington, D.C. skyscrapers on SkyscraperPage
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