Tower Building (Washington, DC)
The Tower Building is one of the tallest high-rises in Washington, DC. Located in downtown Washington, DC, the Tower Building was built as a project of famed architect Robert Beresford, who sought to design a building in the Art Deco style that was becoming popular in the United States during the early 1920s. The building was largely praised for its use of the style and was influential in helping the architectural movement grow during the 1920s and 1930s. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.
Backstory and Context
In the 1920s, the Art Deco architectural style of buildings was coming into fashion in the United States. While it was, of course, practical, the Art Deco style aimed to make buildings look exciting and popular, giving cities a bit of flair. Though he was not fully invested in the style, one architectural giant in the Washington, DC, area at the time was Robert Beresford, who had worked his way to opening his own architectural office in 1919. In 1928, Beresford drew up the designs for the Tower Building, which was to hold largely office space. Though it was uncommon at the time to do so, Beresford decided to draw on the Art Deco style for the architecture of the building. Construction on the Tower Building began that same year, and by the end of the year, it was completed. AT the time, the Tower Building was the tallest office building in Washington, DC, and it was praised so highly that it was featured in the November 1929 issue of American Architect.
The Tower Building was immediately a hit, with other supporters of the Art Deco style praising it not only for incorporating the style itself, but for adding elements of architecture popular in countries around the world into the design work. Within a year of the Tower Building’s completion, it occupied nearly all of the office space available in the building, attracting numerous businesses. As of the Tower Building’s nomination into the National Register of Historic Places in 1995, however, the only business residing in the building was a McDonald’s on the ground level of the building. Today, the building is host to a number of diverse businesses.