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Lewis Goetz's Vision: Celebrate Other Visionaries

Washington DC

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Lewis Goetz's Vision: Celebrate Other Visionaries

Several months ago, Group Goetz Architects [a Bisnow sponsor] approached us with an idea, which we thought was terrific: hold an event to celebrate community leaders who have helped create the spirit, diversity, and vibrancy of today's D.C. We have been delighted to help out in the planning, and this Wednesday, May 16, GGA will host at its offices a reception to honor an illustrious cadre of Washington visionaries who are enhancing the urban environment here in many different ways.

Among them: Deputy Mayor Neil Albert; departing GW president Steve Trachtenberg; major developers Jim Abdo, Jair Lynch, and Monty Hoffman; remarkable business people like Radio One founder Cathy Hughes, banker Doyle Mitchell, Equis EVP Theo Bell, and Ben's Chili Bowl founder Virginia Ali; contracting queen Linda Rabbitt;superlawyers Maureen Dwyer and Rick Weiss, superbroker Audrey Cramer, and BOT president Jim Dinegar.

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Why GGA founder Lewis Goetz wanted to bring these people together is itself inspiring: A kid from New Jersey by way of Ohio State, Goetz came to DC in 1970 for marches on Washington. He liked the city, one of the greenest he'd ever seen. He also saw problems: riot corridors, neglected waterfront, flagging spirit. He became an architect, and in 1978 created his own firm, Greenwell Goetz. Seven years ago it became GGA, today with 63 architects. Now he sees DC as having become a "phenomenal international city," and he knows why. He's a big believer in the theories ofRichard Florida's "Rise of the Creative Class," which argues that what makes a thriving metropolis is the diversity and creativity of its people, whose dynamic lives foster economic development.

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We poked our head in a room recently at GGA and took this picture of a typical scene of workers and clients poring over drawings of places where real people in the city work and play. GGA does designs for law firms like Bingham McCutchen and Foley & Lardner, associations, corporations, restaurants like Michel Richard?s new Central, and government—for the next 12 years they'll be overseeing the complete renovation of the whole Department of Commerce headquarters in Federal Triangle.

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And they practice what they preach: A vibrant, diverse staff, and office space designed to show different kinds of floors, lighting, ceilings, and moods; even a cappucino bar. They do believe in their motto of enhancing life through design. And we'll join them in celebrating Visions of DC this Wednesday. You should consider coming, too. More info.