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ArchDC Winter 2018.qxp_Winter 2018  11/27/18  9:33 AM  Page 5

            A WINDOW ONTO THE HOLIDAYS                                                 Contributors

           Bradley W. Johnson  I used to love going to New York City each December to see the   Steven K. Dickens, AIA, LEED AP
                                                                                      (“Urban Divine” and “Business
                             holiday-season storefront windows, and now that we have our own
                                                                                      Acumen”), is senior associate with
                             60 linear feet of storefront window space at the District Architecture
                             Center, I’m trying to bring a bit of that tradition back to our own
                                                                                      Eric Colbert & Associates.
                             downtown. Since we moved here in 2011, we’ve decorated our window
                             space during the holiday season with snowflakes, a toy train set (I never  Peter James, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
                             want to make another origami tree again as long as I live!), and a stun-  (“Multi-Family Affair”), is an associate
                             ning installation evoking a hearth that was designed by Cooper Jones  with Perkins Eastman DC.
                             and Maureen McGee. More recently, we had a beautifully rendered
                             explanation of the lack of affordable housing in our region, designed  Deane Madsen, Assoc. AIA (“Schools of
            by EL Studio—a topic that connects to the season’s theme of concern for our fellow citizens.  Thought” and “Fine Points”), is a writer
                    This year’s window, which we will install on December 4, is about, well, windows. The  and architectural photographer based in
            exhibition was inspired partly by a short trip I took this past August to Montreal. The McCord  Washington, DC, and founder of the
            Museum—Montreal’s museum of social history—had a number of interesting exhibitions,  informal architectural appreciation
            including one consisting of historic photos of storefront windows. That particular exhibition  society Brutalist DC.
            wasn’t actually in the museum itself—it was outside, on a busy downtown sidewalk, where
            it could not only engage the interest of passersby, but at the same time remind them about  G. Martin Moeller, Jr., Assoc. AIA
            the museum.                                                               (“Bespoke Living” and “Special
                                                                                      Mentions”), is an independent curator
            Welcome!                                                                  the National Building Museum. He is
                                                                                      and writer, as well as senior curator at

                                                                                      the editor of ARCHITECTUREDC.

                                                                                      Ronald O’Rourke (“On Common
                    The photos in that exhibition weren’t all of holiday-season windows, but they were  Ground” and “Little Gems”) is a regular
            interesting all the same, because they showed all manner of goods, and how stores marketed  contributor to ARCHITECTUREDC.  His
            them. Long ago, before you could simply search for it on Amazon, this is how you shopped.  father, Jack O'Rourke, was an architect
            In that sense, the photos encoded a fair amount of social history.        in San Francisco for more than
                     So this year, we will provide a window onto the social history of the holidays by staging  four decades.
            an exhibition of Washington-area holiday-season windows from the early 20th century. The
            exhibit will be viewable from the street, so visitors will be able to see it any time, even when the
            DAC isn’t open. There’s definitely a nostalgic value to the photos, which is quite appropriate,
            as nostalgia is a not-insignificant part of the holiday-season atmosphere. But as with the
            exhibition in Montreal, there’s some social history to be found in the photos, as well. Among
            other things, the photos are a reminder that Washington was once a much smaller town.
            Make sure not to miss the photo of the holiday-season meal for the horses.
                    In their heyday, holiday-season windows were a form of shared public experience—
            moments of clever design that people from all walks of life looked forward to seeing together.
            In this era of fragmented media and self-tailored information bubbles, such shared experiences,
            like holiday-season windows themselves, are now fewer and harder to find. Today, we’re
            more likely to be caught up in our silos, sometimes due to politics, and sometimes due to
            our smartphones. It’s nice to have something that brings us all together for a moment of joy
            that doesn’t involve swiping a screen. And as a bonus, you can learn a little history along
            the way. Wishing you the happiest of holidays,

            Mary Fitch, AICP, Hon. AIA

            P.S. No, I didn’t forget my annual thank you to the great writers who help make this magazine
            possible. Thanks to Steven Dickens, AIA; Peter James, AIA; Deane Madsen, Assoc. AIA; and
            Ronald O’Rourke. And thanks also to our wonderful editor (and frequent writer), Martin
            Moeller. One of our best writers, Denise Liebowitz, decided to retire this year. We wish her
            well, and we’ll really miss her voice in these pages. I also owe big thanks to Jim Hicks, who
            makes this magazine look so beautiful, and the fabulous Jody Cranford, who sells the ads
            that make it possible for us to keep this magazine an entirely free publication. Thanks to
            you all, and best wishes to you for the New Year!
                                                                                    WELCOME                      5
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