Walking Tour of Van Ness and the International Chancery Center
Best known as site of the University of the District of Columbia campus, a model of the concrete design popular in the 1970s, the Van Ness neighborhood also features a surprising amount of green space, from Soapstone Park to landscaping around the modern architecture that defines the area's commercial corridor. One of the most distinctive structures is the former Intelsat Headquarters, said to resemble "a flotilla of spacecraft." Beyond is a hillside where the National Bureau of Standards laboratory complex once stood. In the 1960s, the U.S. State Department, seeking to address the pressing real estate needs of foreign governments, redeveloped the land as the International Chancery Center, the largest collection of specially built embassy buildings in the city. Singapore, China, Kuwait, Nigeria and tiny Brunei Darussalam are countries whose embassies most successfully reflect the architectural character of their home countries. Van Ness is also where you'll find "Sir Isaac Newton's Tree," one of the quirkiest sites in the city! See and learn about all this and more on this pleasant two-hour guided stroll.
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