Will Skyscrapers Ruin D.C.? These Artists Think So

skylineslidePhoto: Courtesy of Matt Chase/Fast Co.Design.
Our nation's capital has a height problem. No, not the population — the buildings. In 1899, Congress put a limit on how tall District buildings could be, and since then, the city has upheld stringent regulations on structure height. But, lawmakers, urban planners, and architects have recently launched a campaign to raise the roofs. So, in the spirit of artistic experimentation, Fast Company asked four artists to imagine what D.C. would look like if the Height Act was abolished.

Currently, D.C. builders are limited to between 90 and 160 feet of vertical space, depending on the location. (Can you imagine if that was the case in other major cities?) Perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing part of the Beltway is the fact that the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument are the tallest building, so they're easy to spot along the skyline. Losing these iconic silhouettes amid newer, taller additions seems to be the biggest worry for all four artists. Proponents of overturning the Height Act hope it will allow the city to grow, while bringing down the high cost of living. But, there's a good chance that we could lose Washington's uniquely open, accessible feel, and these artists confirm that notion with images of large skyscrapers engulfing the famous monuments. Check out their artistic renderings of a futuristic D.C. skyline, and ask yourself: Is the extra height worth it?
(Fast Company)

More from Washington, D.C.

R29 Original Series