Ernesto Santalla, AIA LEED AP, visits the modern-art-filled apartment of Renaissance man Xavier Equihua
Photography Nick Strocchia
Pennsylvania Avenue’s importance to Washington’s history is unquestioned. Known as the “Avenue of Presidents,” it has been the site of lively street festivals, countless parades, and numerous protests. Penn Quarter, one of Washington’s most desirable neighborhoods and arguably its most cosmopolitan, is halfway between the White House and the U.S. Capitol, due in no small part to the foresight of urbanists, developers, and architects. This is where the Parisian influence on Pierre-Charles L’Enfant’s city planning is most evident: to live among monuments, walk to the movies, and dine at dozen s of restaurants; it’s a life that runs the gamut from the very formal to the most casual.
In 1980, the U.S. Navy received approval from Congress to construct a Navy Memorial on Market Square, across the street from the National Archives. Later, the site was redeveloped as a mixed-use building, which, when completed in the early ’90s, had already been included in James Goode’s Best Addresses. Xavier Equihua, managing partner of Federal Strategies Group, Inc., and executive director and CEO of the Chilean Avocado Association, selected an apartment in Market Square that combines generous indoor and outdoor spaces perfect for entertaining. The sweeping view up and down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Archives and the National Mall is one of the best in Washington, and the understated living space he has fashioned with interior and product designer Robert Cox is equally spectacular.