The recently published book “Washington Drawings: Abe to Zoo” by architect, author and urban designer Dhiru Thadani is a delightful pen and ink treasure of 26 drawings depicting favorite D.C. moments.
The book begins prominently with The Lincoln Memorial, midway through you’ll gaze upon the Library of Congress and ends (naturally) with The Smithsonian National Zoo. Thadani didn’t disappoint with his G feature — you’ll see Georgetown in all its majestic glory.
An award-winning architect, Thadani has published many books on urbanism. Each drawing in his alphabet book includes some history and context of the selected site, showing how it factored into Pierre Le’Enfant’s original plan for capital city. (Thadani is a big fan of L’Enfant’s proposal).
“I started drawing more to get out of the house during Covid,” Thadani said. “I had a revelation again about how beautiful D.C. was — it really is a beautiful city, especially at night.”
Thadani’s rediscovery of the city often took place from his car, where he’d be inspired to compose drawings. Cops were occasionally lenient about him parking at an angle while others would chase him away mid-sketch.
Pretty soon, Thadani realized he had a decent collection of around 15 drawings. “I thought, ‘how can I tie this all together?’” Thadani said. “It was random and completely opportunistic, but quite convenient, how the alphabet idea came up.”
The G drawing for Georgetown is a mysterious yet peaceful, intriguing sketch of the canal. “I’ve always found the idea of the canal really compelling,” Thadani said. He liked how the District’s city planners brought the canal into town and did so in a pleasing way without disturbing the fabric of the city. “They didn’t tear up things to increase the city’s value, adding the canal and footpath,” he added.
Thadani wanted to add a part of Georgetown that many tourists don’t even realize is there, since many seem to stick to the Wisconsin Ave. and M Street areas.
If you’re looking to purchase “Washington Drawings: Abe to Zoo,” the book is available at the National Building Museum and Politics & Prose. An exhibit of Thadani’s drawings found in the book will be at Politics & Prose through July 30 in their den café, with prints available for sale.
In case you’re wondering, the two most popular drawings have been Rock Creek Park and Georgetown!