What is the Role of the National Mall?

The cancellation of the Hirshhorn Museum's bubble project has Dan Malouff pondering the role of the National Mall. Should it be an urban room whose buildings define its open space, or the setting for risk-taking architecture?

"Should the Mall be a singular urban space, defined by consistent neoclassical style, or an architectural sculpture garden for individual masterpiece buildings?" asks Malouff. "Either vision could be great, but with no agreement on what the Mall should be, neither is happening."

"The question is not really about artist preference for classical or modern styles," he continues. "That's a distraction. Rather, the question is whether the focus of the National Mall should be its open public spaces, or its buildings."

"It would be nice to have a great public space and a variety of architecture, but unfortunately the two visions are mutually exclusive," he argues. "Urban walls need consistency, and sculpture gardens need variety. The more we push in one direction, the worse the Mall will function as the other. So which is it?"

Full Story: Is the National Mall the place for risk-taking architecture?

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