« Transit Church at Clarendon Metro | Main | What's 'New' in New Urbanism - Part One: Squeaky Clean »
Sunday
Jun172007

Palaces in the Park


Famed architect Le Corbusier suggested modern "towers in the park" as the ideal form of contemporary human habitation.  Since Corbu's time, his idea was tried, and found severely wanting, particularly when used for low income housing. 

In the United States, many of the buildings resulting from Corbusier's vision have been built, and demolished.  Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., there are what I call "Palaces on the Parkway" that stand the test of time with magnificence. 

In northwest Washington, along Connecticut Ave, magnificent apartment houses pierce the tree-lined skyline.  In today's market, none are affordable housing, but they do offer a level of elegance and civility unknown to apartment dwellers in most places.  Rock Creek Park, the National Zoo, and gilded bridges accessorize the neighborhood.  Cafes abound, as do elegant restaurants. 

Unlike Corbusier's vision, the ground plane here is a multimodal street system, rather than a vast green lawn.  Rather than elevated superhighways, cars must compete with pedestrians, and each enhances the perceived safety of the other. And the "towers" are not skyscrapers, but rather majestic 10-story buildings.

Omni Hotel overlooking Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.