DC must require the preservation of historic facades because there are places all over where a huge modern building has been built around an older structure. While this does preserve the old facade for future generations, the context is lost.
Still, it is better than just knocking them down. The preserved facades are really tombstones that force us to remember this place has a history – we are not the first in this place, nor will we be the last. Even solid-seeming buildings are ephemeral in the time-span of the universe.
As it turns out, these particular facades have been incorporated into the Keck Center at the National Academy of Science, a building easily identified by the large modern sculpture perched above the entrance.
Unfortunately, we are discovering this spot late in the afternoon – we had planned to try to find it because the gift shop has “stuffed animals” in the shape of various viruses. Brian brought the black death and the common cold back to our office last time he was here. (I’m assuming these are a tie-in to the current infectious disease exhibit.) They were cool, so I was hoping to see what else they have. Oh well. Maybe next time.