The Smithsonian's Fantastic Plan to Transform the National Mall

There's no better way to get peoples' attention than by calling a national landmark "a completely overblown toilet." That's how the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels put it last year, describing part of the Smithsonian campus at the southern end of the mall. Today, the architect revealed his plan to fix the area. » 11/13/14 11:40am 11/13/14 11:40am

4 Futuristic Designs for DC's Very Own High Line

Not to be outdone by New York City's beloved High Line (the final, most unwieldy phase of which opens this fall), Washington DC is planning its own elevated park, which will sail over the Anacostia River on a former freeway bridge. Four visions for the park have been released as part of a competition. And they're all… » 9/12/14 9:00am 9/12/14 9:00am

It's Time to Embrace Congestion Pricing

An ambitious new transportation plan for DC announced last week includes a massive public transit expansion, additional subway line, and beefed up network of bike lanes. But the proposal that's getting the most attention is the introduction of congestion pricing. Yes, DC wants to charge cars to enter its downtown. And… » 6/05/14 1:00pm 6/05/14 1:00pm

How a Slave Had to Build the Freedom Statue in Washington DC

The Statue of Freedom sitting atop the dome of the U.S. Capitol building in Washing D.C. has more alternate names than the obscure half of the Wu Tang Clan. Over the years, the names attributed to it have ranged from things like "Freedom Triumphant in War and Peace" to the far simpler, "Armed Freedom". However, the… » 5/29/14 5:40am 5/29/14 5:40am

Did A "Field of Human Excrement" By The White House Kill A President?

If you remember President William Henry Harrison from U.S. history class at all, then you probably remember him as the poor fellow who died from pneumonia a month after delivering his inaugural address in freezing rain. Except was it really pneumonia after all? A New York Times article suggests a different theory, and… » 4/02/14 5:40pm 4/02/14 5:40pm

The Plan to Make DC's Central Library a Home for More Than Just Books

Libraries used to be places for doing bookish things. It's not that simple anymore. Washington DC just announced the winning proposal for renovating its historic central library. The winner? An ambitious plan to turn the building into a place where ideas are born—and things actually made. » 2/20/14 11:00am 2/20/14 11:00am

8 Massive Tunnels Being Built Right Now Under A City Near You

Now that we know it was an eight-inch steel pipe that brought the world's largest-diameter tunneling machine to a halt up in Seattle, we can no longer fantasize about Bertha unearthing a five-story-tall buried locomotive. But we can look at something almost as fascinating: The other giant holes that are currently… » 1/07/14 9:20am 1/07/14 9:20am

Here's What the Tip of the Washington Monument Looks Like Up Close

The 129-year-old Washington Monument is enshrouded in scaffolding this month, as workers repair the structural cracks caused by a a 2011 earthquake. But the scaffolds are giving scientists the chance to carry out other work, too: Like measuring the exact height of the aging monument. » 11/12/13 10:40am 11/12/13 10:40am

A Fleet of Blimps Will Soon Serve as a Missile Shield Over Washington

A still-chilling consequence of post-9/11 America is that we remain all too aware of the fact that we could be attacked at any moment. And so with worst case scenarios in mind, the military is constantly upgrading our defense systems in increasingly creative ways. Washington DC is next in line. It's getting blimps. » 7/24/13 10:35am 7/24/13 10:35am

Lincoln's Pyramid: Failed Proposals For DC's Most Famous Monuments

Retronostalgia is the air. Last week, we looked six New Yorks that could have been. And this week, National Geographic takes a similar look at D.C., for which there are veritable heaps of unbuilt memorials. Ever wondered what the Lincoln Memorial would look like, had it been built by ancient Egyptians? » 7/08/13 10:04am 7/08/13 10:04am