“goes against my moral compass”: the great architecture of Marion Barry in Federal City
In May of last year Marion Barry (yes, the DC politician) voted against a bill that would recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. He said, and we quote, it (the bill) “goes against my moral compass.” We decided that despite his history—the trial of 1990, his failure to file tax returns and actually pay his fair share, his numerous traffic violations, and the alleged personal benefit from contracting his girlfriend (despite his obvious personal bias and political position), we would like to honor Barry with a series on our blog—“goes against my moral compass”: the great architecture of Marion Barry. This series will deal specifically with the buildings constructed during his political tenure that have added so much aesthetic quality, beauty, and grandeur to the Federal City.
Whether Mayor or Councilman we know that his spirit evades whatever office he holds and directly influences the local taste in building!
So in honor of this great Washingtonian-poltiician, we launch this series and first honor him with this wondrous selection:
In the midst of what one might call the historic U Street corridor, Mayor Barry added this charming edifice to improve U (you) Street, NW with a morsel of civic grandeur. The Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center is a great representation of beautiful office buildings that were constructed in the 1980s. The Frank D. Reeves Center for Municipal Affairs was opened on September 27, 1986, during a period of a great revival in the District of Columbia (no doubt spark by Barry’s moral influence). Named in honor the great lawyer and civil rights activist, we enjoy Reeves as a great American even though he was probably not remotely comparable to Barry’s moral stature!
Most importantly, to our discussion, we thought we might recognize the great deal of charm this building adds to the U Street Cooridor and the high artistic values and materials used in its construction that have allow it to age so well. Another interesting fact is that the “marble” walls are actually textured concrete, which I’m sure will come as a great suprise. We launch this series in honor of a man who stands as a great pillar of morality in Federal City. He is an example for all Americans and we want to share the influence of his morality on local architecture.