Institute of Peace to move to new Foggy Bottom building

New buildings and ones under construction have been a common sight in Foggy Bottom over the past decade. Now, one project promises to add peace to the neighborhood.

Currently, the United States Institute of Peace – a national organization designed to prevent international violence and promote post-conflict stability – operates out of a rented office space on 17th Street. But by spring 2011, it plans to move into a new location and a new building that is being built with the institute’s purpose in mind.

The new location, just off campus at 23rd Street and Constitution Avenue, neighbors the memorials and monuments – but the new structure will diverge wildly from the typical structures in the area, with sweeping architecture and open glass spaces.

Funded by a Congressional grant and a few private donors, the new building will comprise three “distinct sections, linked together by atriums covered by a series of wing-like roof elements constructed of steel frames and white translucent glass to represent the wings of a dove, symbolizing the greater peace effort,” USIP Director of Public Affairs Lauren Sucher said.

The planning committees for the new USIP intend to dedicate a huge public space to tourists, exhibitions and interactive tools, Sucher said.

“Our building is something people are going to enter into and immediately interact with and do these simulations, therefore the new building is more than a monument, it’s a statement saying we as Americans think peace is so important, we are putting it in this place of honor,” Sucher said.

Irene Oh, the director of GW’s Peace Studies Program, said the building’s structure represents its mission.

Elliott School senior Netaly Elmalem said he thinks the new building will help centralize students from different political poles.

“This will add a lot to D.C. because it does not advocate one thing or another, but rather, peace. In terms of conflict, everyone is very opinionated, and this structure tries to neutralize that and get around the bigger picture about peace, and its good for students to learn,” Elmalem said.

Gabrielle Bluestone contributed to this report.

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