One of benefits of being me is that I have the sort of random thoughts that other people can generally only experience during some kind of medical experiment involving the injection of highly concentrated THC directly into the brain. For example, when drifting off to sleep the other night, it occurred to me to ask: why is the Pentagon pentagonal?
Huh. Why is it? That can’t be the cheapest design for a building in wartime.
A short getting-out-of-bed-instead-of-sleeping later, I was much more knowledgeable about mid-20th-Century civil planning projects than I had been before.
Its unusual shape results from the fact that its originally intended site, Arlington Farms, fronted on Arlington Ridge Road and the Arlington Memorial Bridge approach, which intersected at an angle of approximately 108 degrees (the angle of a regular pentagon). President Franklin D. Roosevelt had it constructed at its current location because he didn’t want the new building to obstruct the view of Washington, D.C. from Arlington Cemetery.
In fact, Arlington Ridge Road no longer exists, its route now mostly replaced by Eisenhower Drive, which winds through an expanded Arlington National Cemetery and terminates near the original site. The Pentagon was constructed as planned, just somewhat south of its intended location.