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Penn Theatre

Original Name: Penn Theatre
Year Of Construction: 1935
Address: 650 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20003
Architect(s): John Eberson
Current Status: Office Building
Original Use: Movie Theatre

Built in 1935 by architect John Eberson for Warner Brothers, the building functioned as a movie theater until its closure in 1982. The original limestone-clad façade contains some nice carved detailing, including pillowed fluting and semicircular motifs. The most dramatic feature, however, is the sweeping canopy that cantilevers over the sidewalk—a good example of later Deco streamlining. Below the canopy the theater entrance is clad in travertine stone tile.Shortly after closing the façade and lobby were adaptively reused as part of a complex that houses several retail shops and offices. Part of this project included adding flanking hyphens and end pavilions plus a 5-part tile-clad façade beyond that complement the original structure. This renovation garnered one of the Art Deco Society’s first preservation awards.