On the Art of Fortification: A New Visitor's Center to Revitalize Fort Washington Park

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Virginia Tech


During the 18th and 19th centuries, the evolution of artillery has commanded the evolution of military architecture. Fortifications physically depict a representation of the history of engineering and architectural principles; including strategic site placement, materiality, construction methodology, principles of weaponry, defense and design layout. Visiting any one of these enigmatic and monumental structures offers a walk into the past, a glimpse into the ideologies, cultures and sentiments of its conception. Fortifications, particularly American fortifications, lay silent waiting for visitors to unlock their contributions to the national and local historic fabric. Fort Washington is one such structure located within Fort Washington Park, Maryland perched above the Bank of the Potomac River where it long protected the Nation's Capital.

Through my research, I propose to answer the following questions: How did the evolution of artillery and its unique site influence the design layout of Fort Washington? How does one begin to revive and restore such an extraordinary site? How can the architecture of today spark the interest of visitors while encompassing the needs of local residents? My proposal for a new, multifunctional visitor center tries to embrace, respect and reflect the existing structures by inspiring wonder among tourists and attracting local residents while also allowing for their restoration and self-sustainment.



Bastion, Fortifications, Visitor Center, Military Architecture, Fort Washington