July 31, 2010 at 10:58 pm #168394
My wife and I are going to be going out to DC for a few days and I’m wondering if there are any suggestions that anyone would have for projects to go visit and see while we are out there. We are already planning on visiting the Washington Mall, National Zoo, and the Museums.ZachJuly 31, 2010 at 11:14 pm #168407
Also if anyone knows of a New Urbanism development or good Urban area in the Fairfax to DC region please let me know I would like to go spec it out.
ZachAugust 1, 2010 at 3:36 am #168406Kevin J. GaughanParticipant
I would highly suggest trying to stop by Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown, its one of my favorite places in DC. Also, high on the list would be Arlington Cemetery and the FDR Memorial. As far as New Urbanism goes, I think the best example in the area is the Kentlands up in Gaithersburg (about 20-25 minutes north of DC up 270). Let me know if you have any specific questions, I have lived in the area for a while now. Hope you guys have a great time, there is certainly plenty to see!August 1, 2010 at 3:55 am #168405Jason T. RadiceParticipant
As far as New Urbanist, there is Kentlands, Maryland…designed by Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. It is located in Gaithersburg, MD…a trip up 270 from Fairfax. It’s an okay development, while cutting edge at the time, has been far surpassed. It also is not very aesthetically pleasing and is not ageing well. Its just a dense glorified suburb now.
The ORIGINAL planned development is also located in Maryland on the other side of DC from Fairfax. Greenbelt was built during the Great Depression (no, not the one we are in now) and is designed as a concentrically walkable community so all the outermost points are equidistant to the commercial center of the community. It is still in pretty good shape despite its age and is the model on which this type of development was based.
As far as what to see, you have most of it on your list. If you are into building and architecture, you must stop in the National Building Museum. Right now they are featuring an exhibit on Lego architecture. They also have one of the best book stores/gift shops in DC, and it is a really impressive building. Up the street is the National Portrait Gallery/ American Art Museum. Besides housing some great art and historic paintings, it also has the Kogod Courtyard with a roof designed by Foster+ Partners with the landscape by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol. If you visit, hopefully the water scrims on the floor are operational.
Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown is another great place for LAs. As is Roosevelt Island, Meridian Hill, and the National Botanic Garden on the US Capitol grounds. Outside of DC on NY Ave is the National Arboretum, which has excellent collections of Bonsai, demonstration gardens, the old Capitol Columns, as vast plant collections and breeding programs.August 1, 2010 at 5:10 am #168404Brett LordParticipant
Check out the US Capital Visitors Center attached the the Capital Bldg designed by RTKL Associates. New Urbanism examples would be Reston Town Center and Pentagon Row. You may also try to google new urbanism/DC to see what comes up.August 1, 2010 at 11:40 am #168403
I second Jason with the Dumbarton Oaks suggestion – it’s really beautiful, although NOT the best time of year, of course..Disagree about the National Botanic Gardens..did nothing for me, we have so many incredible Botanic Gardens in america..
I love the Hirshhorn sculpture garden, and the Freer, on the mall, and if you’ve never seen it, of course, Maya Lins Viet Nam memorial is still incredible, despite efforts by groups to ruin it..
Monticello is two hours away, and also incredible, I love it. – the gardens are the best part…Maybe too far..
Alexandria, ,just across the river, is a good example of new urbanist infill, I think, The Torpedo Factory was pretty exciting…Mostly there is not good new urbanist..it just ends up looking like the burbs,IMHO….Reston, Virginia..etc..August 1, 2010 at 5:14 pm #168402Roland BeinertParticipant
Reston, Virginia is another New Urbanist community in the area. I’m not sure how far away it is. I just know it’s on one of the tours (Vanguards of New Urbanism) for this year’s ASLA meeting.August 2, 2010 at 2:49 pm #168401
Thanks for the suggestions everyone, my only other question would, are there any good parks to visit out in the area?
ZachAugust 2, 2010 at 2:57 pm #168400
I meant to mention it before, but wasn’t sure you were interested in the natural – Great Falls Park is a really incredibly geological event – it’s a ‘great fall’ in the Potomac – really dramatic – I love it..
Have fun! I used to live in the nasty suburbs of Mclean Virginia for much of my life, when not posted abroad..I always think that is why I am an LA – the shock of the anonymous suburbs, no sidewalks, no where to go without a CAR, drove me to study landscape design..
: )August 2, 2010 at 3:28 pm #168399Mark SanfordParticipant
There is a long articla in the most recent LA mag, about great places to visit in and out of d.c.August 2, 2010 at 6:43 pm #168398Pat S. RosendParticipant
Reston has an urban town center, but it is not new urbanist by definition. It is still a nice visit though.August 2, 2010 at 6:44 pm #168397Pat S. RosendParticipant
Ditto on the National Building Museum. a great visit and you can see the National Police Memorial located just across the street.August 3, 2010 at 1:22 am #168396Jason T. RadiceParticipant
Yes…there are. Like Great Falls mentioned below. There are also the Civil War Battlefield parks, especially dense in NoVA. There is also many landmarks such as Mount Vernon (which has a great new visitors center), the Pope-Leighey House (One of Wrights Usonian Homes), Old Town Alexandria, and Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway (highway along the Blue Ridge Mountains) and hiking on Old Rag in Shenandoah National Forest.August 3, 2010 at 9:45 am #168395
You’re right, Jason – Manassas! One of my favorites – where Stonewall Jackson got his name..Used to take my dogs there..But the traffic!!!(to get there..)..And Skyline drive , CCC or WPA or whatever, LA’s on the gov dole in the thirties – still a gorgeous road..!! Gorgeous drawings for it’s construction..Thanks for reminding me of this stuff, Jason..Old stomping grounds, for me..
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