Urban Fold

Our Capitol's Lack: A Great Public Square

Critic Philip Kennicott attends a lecture by architect Robert Gatje on great public squares and bemoans the fact that Washington, D.C. has a serious lack of them.

Kennicott writes:

"Washington is a city of avenues and streets, coming together in circles that do not function well as public spaces. Our grand ceremonial spaces, such as the Mall, are too large to be great public squares. Few if any of our downtown parks demonstrate any of the liveliness of a public square. And the pieties of Washington urban design thinking, entrenched and seemingly inviolable, are all about views, vistas and open sight lines."

In his lecture, Gatje explains that great public squares work because they create a sense of containment.

Thanks to ArchNewsNow

Full Story: Where is Washington's great public square?



Washington DOES Have Some Great Squares

Washington does have some great squares, as illustrated in this piece by Dan Reed:


They just aren't all inside the District of Columbia.

A few examples: Dupont Circle, Plaza in Columbia Heights, Market Common in Clarendon, Reston Town Center, Rockville Town Square, Washingtonian Center in Gaithersburg, Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring, and the fountain outside of Barnes and Noble in downtown Bethesda.

Yes many of them are new, and show it, but so were the examples given by Robert Gatje when they were built, many years ago.

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