J. Edgar’s Mask

South Elevation

by Yifan Wang (MLA I AP ’21)

When the hyperplastic organ of the Federal Bureau of Investigation started to grow outward/northward from the body of Department of Justice, crossing the diagonal Pennsylvania Avenue, our story began. Responding to the iterative reviews from various committees to establish a national profile flanking the procession marching all the way up to Capital Hill, the façade of this brutal building was constructed into an infinite wrap of concrete grating as part of D.C.’s national identity. What has been mysteriously masked behind as well is the titular institutional body of J. Edgar Hoover.

In the proposed future, a reopened D Street is peeled off of the pivotal front of the site along Pennsylvania Avenue, and the triangular residue will be re-sculpted into an exhibiting space. The original complex, from D to E, will be hollowed and lifted to restore the very first ideal of the modernism scheme: to involve and consolidate the public. Detached from its bygone face, the new block is in need of a fresh masking project. Taking advantage of the capacious setbacks designated to the dreary bunker, a new mask will be fabricated around in the geometry of Mickey Mouse’s anatomy (Read about Walt Disney’s link to the F.B.I. and J. Edgar Hoover in the New York Times). Its four elevations are no longer homogeneous, in order to genuinely reestablish the dialogue with its dynamic surroundings. The FBI rumor goes on with this project, and people will recognize the masqueraded character through the exposed concrete grids. But they will definitely be perplexed by the semi-pervious vizard, the camouflaged plaza, and the enigmatic persona beneath the mask.