List of tallest buildings in Washington, D.C. facts for kids
This list of tallest buildings in Washington, D.C. ranks high-rises in the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C. The tallest structure in the city, excluding radio towers, is the Washington Monument, which rises 555 feet (169 m) and was completed in 1884. The structure, however, is not generally considered a high-rise building as it does not have successive floors that can be occupied. The tallest habitable building in the city is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which rises 329 feet (100 m). The second-tallest building in Washington is the Old Post Office Building, which is 315 feet (96 m) high. The third-tallest building in the city is the Washington National Cathedral, which rises 301 feet (92 m) above grade. The cathedral is built on high ground known as Mount St. Alban, 400 feet (120 m) above sea level, which makes the central tower the "highest" point in the District. As of November 2011, there are 410 completed high-rises in the city.
Washington's history of high-rises began with the completion in 1894 of The Cairo, an apartment building, which is considered to be the city's first high-rise. The building rises 164 feet (50 m) and 14 floors. Washington went through an early high-rise construction boom from the late 1890s to the mid-1930s, during which time the Old Post Office Building and the Federal Triangle were built. The city then experienced a major building boom from the early 1940s to the late 1990s, during which the city saw the completion of 31 of its 48 tallest buildings, including One Franklin Square and 700 Eleventh Street. However, although the city is home to several high-rises, none are considered to be genuine "skyscrapers"; only two completed buildings surpass 200 feet (61 m).
The height of buildings in Washington is limited by the Height of Buildings Act. The original Act was passed by Congress in 1899 in response to the 1894 construction of the Cairo Hotel, which is much taller than the majority of buildings in the city. The original act restricted the heights of any type of building in the city to be no higher than 110 feet (34 m), 90 feet (27 m) for residential buildings. In 1910, the 61st United States Congress enacted a new law which raised the overall building height limit to 130 feet (40 m), but restricted building heights to the width of the adjacent street or avenue plus 20 feet (6.1 m); thus, a building facing a 90-foot (27 m)-wide street could be only 110 feet (34 m) tall. However, building heights are measured from the sidewalk or curb to the edge of the roof. Architectural embellishments, mechanical rooms, and common rooftop structures may be exempted from the overall height limit, provided they are set back from the roof line. The heights of buildings listed here may therefore exceed the general height limit as measured for the purpose of the city's zoning laws.
In modern times the skyline remains low and sprawling, keeping with Thomas Jefferson's wishes to make Washington an "American Paris" with "low and convenient" buildings on "light and airy" streets. Washington's height restriction, however, has been assailed as one of the primary reasons why the city has inflated rents, limited affordable housing, and traffic problems as a result of urban sprawl. Much like La Defense near Paris, the region's tallest buildings near the central business district are located in Rosslyn, Virginia, directly across the Potomac River from Georgetown.
One of the most recently completed buildings in Washington, D.C. is Capitol View, which is 171 feet (52 m) high. As of July 2008, there is one high-rise under construction in the city that is expected to rise at least 150 feet (46 m), with one more proposed and one approved for construction. Onyx on First was the first high-rise built in Washington; upon completion, it was the 14th-tallest building in the city. Two other large developments taking place are Square 54 Residential I, which is proposed for construction, and the PNC Bank Building, which is approved. The Square Residential I building at George Washington University is expected to rise to a height of 160 feet (49 m) and 14 stories, while the PNC Bank Building is expected to rise to a height of 151 feet (46 m) and 12 stories. As of July 2008, there is a total of four high-rise buildings under construction, approved for construction and proposed for construction in Washington.
This lists ranks Washington high-rises that stand at least 150 feet (46 m), based on standard height measurement. This includes spires and architectural details but does not include antenna masts. The "Year" column indicates the year in which a building was completed. Freestanding towers, while not habitable buildings, are included for comparison purposes; however, they are not ranked. The majority of the tallest structures in the city are tall broadcasting towers located in the northern and western sections of the district.
|Hughes Memorial Tower||761 (232)||0||1989||Tallest free-standing structure in the District of Columbia and second tallest in the wider Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area after the River Rd. tower in Bethesda. The radio tower's height allows for broadcasts to reach as far west as West Virginia.|
|WTTG TV Tower||705 (215)||0||1963|
|WJLA TV Tower||692 (211)||0||1972|
|WRC TV Tower||662 (202)||0||1989|
|Washington Monument||555 (169)||3||1884||Tallest non-communication structure in the District. Was the tallest structure in the world from 1884 until 1889, and the tallest monument in the U.S. until the completion of the San Jacinto Monument in 1939.|
|Washington Police Department Tower||506 (154)||0|
|WAVA-FM Tower||457 (139)||0||1992|
|Old WRC TV Tower||443 (135)||0||1957|
|American University Tower||428 (129)||0||2011|
|Old WJLA TV Tower||375 (114)||0||1947|
|1||Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception||329 (100)||1||1959||Tallest building in Washington, D.C. since 1959. Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1950s.|
|2||Trump International Hotel (Old Post Office Pavilion)||315 (96)||12||1899||Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1890s.|
|3||Washington National Cathedral||301 (92)||7||1910–1990||Tallest building completed in the city in the 1990s.|
|4||United States Capitol||289 (88)||3||1863||Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1860s.|
|5||One Franklin Square||210 (64)||12||1989||Tallest commercial building in Washington, D.C. Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1980s. Home to the headquarters of The Washington Post since 2015.|
|6||700 Eleventh Street||200 (61)||13||1992|
|Healy Hall||200 (61)||4½||1879|
|8||Onyx on First||197 (60)||14||2008||Tallest residential building in Washington, D.C. Tallest building completed in the city in the 2000s.|
|9||Thomas Jefferson Building||195 (59)||7||1897||Originally named the Library of Congress building|
|10||Renaissance Washington DC Hotel||187 (57)||15||1986|
|1090 Vermont Avenue||187 (57)||12||1979||Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1970s.|
|12||1111 Pennsylvania Avenue||180 (55)||14||1968||Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1960s.|
|13||The Tower Building||177 (54)||14||1929||Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1920s.|
|Avalon at Foxhall||177 (54)||14||1982||Tallest residential building in the city from 1982 until 2008.|
|15||1900 K Street||171 (52)||13||1996|
|Capitol View||171 (52)||13||2007|
|17||National Archives Building||167 (51)||8||1935||Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1930s.|
|1150 K Street||167 (51)||14||2005|
|19||The Pennsylvania North||164 (50)||14||1990|
|The Cairo||164 (50)||14||1894|
|21||Capitol Place III||164 (50)||12||1985|
|1101 New York Avenue||164 (50)||12||2007|
|23||1625 Eye Street||161 (49)||12||2003|
|World Bank Headquarters||161 (49)||13||1997|
|25||1001 Pennsylvania Avenue||161 (49)||14||1987|
|1201 Pennsylvania Avenue||161 (49)||13||1981|
|600 Thirteenth Street||161 (49)||12||1997|
|28||The Watergate Hotel and Office Building||157 (48)||14||1967|
|Republic Building||157 (48)||13||1991|
|Army and Navy Club Building||157 (48)||12||1987|
|1620 L Street||157 (48)||12||1989|
|1333 H Street||157 (48)||12||1982|
|1111 19th Street||157 (48)||12||1979|
|1010 Mass||157 (48)||15||2007|
|35||1099 14th Street (Franklin Court)||155.6 (47.4)||11||1992||Tallest tower in the city when built in 1992.|
|36||The Investment Building||154 (47)||13||2001|
|Capital Hilton||154 (47)||13||1943||Tallest building constructed in the city in the 1940s.|
|1875 K Street||154 (47)||12||2001|
|1430 K Street||154 (47)||12||2006|
|1310 G Street||154 (47)||12||1992|
|Westin Washington, D.C. City Center||154 (47)||14||1982|
|Executive Tower||154 (47)||12||2001|
|1701 Pennsylvania Avenue||154 (47)||13||1962|
|44||Washington Gas Building||151 (46)||15||1941|
|The Watergate South||151 (46)||14||1970|
|World Bank Headquarters I||151 (46)||12||2001|
|World Bank Headquarters H||151 (46)||12||1983|
|William T. Golden Center for Science and Engineering||151 (46)||12||1996|
|Connecticut Connection||151 (46)||12||1978|
|455 Massachusetts Avenue||151 (46)||12||2007|
This lists buildings in Washington that have been demolished and at one time stood at least 150 feet (46 m) in height.
|Munsey Trust Building||171 (52)||13||1905||1982|
|1000 Connecticut Avenue||156 (48)||13||1956||2008||Was replaced with another building carrying the same address.|
Timeline of tallest buildings
This lists buildings that once held the title of tallest building in Washington, D.C. This list excludes the 555-foot (169 m) Washington Monument, which has stood as the tallest non-building structure in the city since 1884.
|Name||Street address||Years as tallest||Height
|United States Capitol||Pennsylvania Avenue, Capitol Hill||1863–1899||289 (88)||3|
|Old Post Office||1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW||1899–1959||315 (96)||18|
|Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception||400 Michigan Avenue NE||1959–present||329 (100)||1|
A. Not a habitable building and is therefore not ranked, but it is included in this list for comparative purposes.
List of tallest buildings in Washington, D.C. Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.