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I've always been mildly interested in architecture and city planning, perhaps stemming from my undergraduate classes in art history. One of my favorite museums - and buildings - in DC is the National Building Museum, but this is the first time I've attended a talk in the DC Builds series. DC Architecture: Three Views featured three architects who've worked extensively in DC, who represented three different generations of architects. The first speaker pointed out that DC has a number of distinguishing features for a city, including the fact that the federal government owns a lot of land, and there's an effort to integrate modern updates with historical preservation, such as the theatre where I saw The Taming of the Shrew, and the Salvation Army building in Anacostia where the ground floor functions as space for incubating enterpreneurs. The second speaker showed some of her past and current projects, most of which are located in the Capitol Hill/Eastern Market area. I was a little surprised at how familiar many of the projects were, including the Ben and Jerry's in Eastern Market. I never really thought of them as "designed" per se. The last speaker talked about how growing up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland inspired an appreciation for the fabric of "in-between" spaces, which is what he suggests make a city a great architectural city. He said that DC has plenty of "in-between" spaces because of the monuments and other historical edificies. Too true - our little residential street is definitely an "in-between" place, which makes it all the more cozy and charming.
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On September 17th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
I don't get what is meant by "in-between spaces." But I love classic city architecture, though I know little about it.

Both times I've been to DC, I remember being awed by the immense size of the buildings. The last time, I also got to go inside the House of Reps building (the offices across the street from the Capitol) and was surprised (and appreciative) at how small the offices were. But it made me wonder at the irony of having these enormous buildings stuffed with hundreds of tiny government offices apiece and how many people it takes to fill them. Those thoughts lingered with me on a trip to Chicago a few years later: immense, awesome buildings each populated by a small city's worth of daily migrant workers. (Oddly, I don't get the same sense at all when walking around San Francisco, but I think it's due to the less classic, more modern look of most of the buildings.)

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