Built Environment: Exterior

The site that I chose to analyze as a built environment is the Dupont Circle Club, a non-profit organization that aids those struggling with addiction with their recovery. It is located at 1623 Connecticut Avenue NW, which is just one block north of Dupont Circle. While they have been in existence since 1989, the Dupont Circle Club has only been operating from its present location since the early 90s. However, the building itself has been around since 1911, and it most definitely shows its age. As seen above, the design of the building, but particularly the engravings above the largest windows, are quite dated styles. Furthermore, the fact that the bricks of the building are no longer red and show signs of having required repairs in the past also indicates that the building is fairly old. I believe that it is due to the building’s antiquated design and its overall ashen brown color scheme that I did not get a particularly welcoming or warm aura from the building, despite the possibility that such an environment exists within the organization as a result of the nature of their work.

Additionally, I found it a little difficult to actually locate the Dupont Circle Club. Aside from the Club using the space to conduct their recovery meetings, the building is also used by a psychic reading business. Furthermore, there is a vacant space on the ground level currently up for lease, a space that was formerly used by Lou Lou, a popular boutique store. However, because the Dupont Circle Club does not occupy the only street-level space in the building, the door leading upstairs to the Club is the only thing that can clue people in on their existence. But because they only have a fairly small poster on the door that says “Dupont Circle Club” and lists their phone number and website address, it is quite easy to miss. The fact that a tree covers part of the front of the building also does not really help. If anything, people will be alerted to the existence of the psychic reading business because they not only have a light up sign above the door stating, “Psychic Readings,” but they also have an A-frame sign on the sidewalk near the entrance that advertises their business. The Dupont Circle Club simply seems to lack such noticeable advertising.

However, I must emphasize again that the difficulty in finding the Club stems from a lack of clear physical markers of the organization rather than a lack of easy access to the site itself. In fact, it is actually quite easy to navigate to the building itself. The sidewalks and the streets were fairly well maintained, and it is not in a very obscure place but is rather quite centrally located. The Dupont Circle Club is located on a street that is lined with various businesses, including a lot of popular ones such as Subway, Starbucks, Loft, and Chipotle. As a result, there is quite a lot of foot-traffic in front of its building, even on a weekday when this photo was taken. But because the Club is located in such a busy place, it is quite noisy there.

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