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International Square

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1974–1981, Vlastimil Koubek. 1850 K St. NW

By the early 1970s, real estate developer Oliver Carr, who contributed substantially to the transformation of the West End, had wearied of critics' charges that his buildings were unfriendly, bare-bones glass boxes. In this building, his architect, Koubek, designer of so many of the earlier glass boxes, gave the District one of its earliest privately developed interior food courts and office building atriums. Covering an entire city block, International Square was constructed in three phases between 1974 and 1981. Its exterior is formed of alternating strips of reinforced concrete and dark ribbon windows. At the northwest and southeast corners of the building are open cuts in the otherwise solid block in order to indicate entrances. Overhead walkways connect two corner entrances of the building, providing a pedestrian shortcut. Below the walkways is a large open area, lined with plants and fastfood establishments, an idea derived from projects such as Boston's Faneuil Hall. Pedestrians pass through the food court on the way to and from the Metro stop underneath International Square.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee


What's Nearby


Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "International Square", [Washington, District of Columbia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of the District of Columbia, Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 228-228.

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