Central Heating Plant (Washington, D.C.)

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Central Heating Plant
Central Heating Plant, 325 13th St. SW SW.JPG
Central Heating Plant (Washington, D.C.) is located in Washington, D.C.
Central Heating Plant (Washington, D.C.)
Location 325 13th Street, SW Washington, D.C.
Coordinates 38°53′08.07″N 77°01′44.1″W / 38.8855750°N 77.028917°W / 38.8855750; -77.028917Coordinates: 38°53′08.07″N 77°01′44.1″W / 38.8855750°N 77.028917°W / 38.8855750; -77.028917
Built 1933
Architect Paul Philippe Cret
Architectural style Art Deco, Industrial
Governing body General Services Administration
NRHP Reference # 07000637
Added to NRHP July 06, 2007[1]

The Central Heating Plant is a power station located at 325 13th Street, SW in the Southwest Federal Center neighborhood of Washington, D.C. which serves most of the United States federal government buildings near the National Mall. Operated by the General Services Administration, it was designed by architect Paul Philippe Cret in 1933. At the time of its construction it was the largest such heating facility in the United States and served 22 federal buildings. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.[1]

Cret used Art Deco styling for the essentially industrial building, a departure from the prevailing Washington classicism, but was able to integrate it with its surroundings through careful massing and detailing. Pilasters and vertical ribbons of windows stand in for classical colonnades. Cret designed the roof profile so that the plant's smokestacks did not project above the equipment screen, satisfying the concerns of the District of Columbia Commission on Fine Arts, which had jurisdiction over the design.[2] The three octagonal smokestacks rise only 42 feet (13 m). Limestone relief panels illustrate the building's purpose with depictions of a boiler, safety valve, generator, fan and heat exchanger. The building is noteworthy as an early example of Modernism-influenced architecture, and as a notably attractive building in its own right.[3]

Originally designed to burn coal, the Central Heating Plant has been converted to use coal, oil, or natural gas. A central refrigeration plant constructed in 1957 obscures the east elevation.[2]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ a b "Central Heating Plant". U.S. General Services Administration. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  3. ^ Scott, Pamela; Lee, Antoinette J. (1993). "Southwest Quadrant". Buildings of the District of Columbia. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 239. ISBN 0-19-509389-5. 

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