The Washington, DC region is great >> and it can be greater.


Brunch links: Saved

The word on texting: Georgia has a new anti-texting law. Police say they can pretty easily tell who's texting; sadly, that's because few drivers except those texting drive 20 mph under the speed limit. And if necessary, they can now subpoena phone records. (Decatur Metro) ... Image from Fail Blog via @theoverheadwire.

Plannin' for McMillan: DC will fund planning and traffic studies to give a boost to the McMillan sand filtration site, stalled of late. (Michael Neibauer/WBJ)

"Most important" new buildings: 52 experts named the 21 most important buildings built after 1980, which to them meant Modernist buildings. DC got one, but it's a wall instead of a building: the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Also note how many of these buildings require large, empty space around them to look good. (Vanity Fair, David C.)

Auto-centrism in New York development: New York City is approving a new building in Williamsburg that contains far more parking spaces than most others in the city. The development renderings, however, magically don't show all the cars that these spaces will bring in. (Streetsblog)

Auto-centrism in Brooklyn notables: There's a new cycle track on Prospect Park West in Brooklyn. Many people love it, except for former Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall, wife of Senator Chuck Schumer, who lives nearby. Just before leaving office, Weinshall tried to convert more avenues in the neighborhood to the one-way traffic sewers that PPW was before this change. (Daily News, Streetsblog)

Healthier in the Charm City: Baltimore becomes launches a serious effort to address the lack of access to healthy food and obesity by appointing a Food Czar. (GOOD, Lynda) ... Zipcar also launched service in Baltimore. (Gavin)

How transit mode share has changed: Brookings uses census data to chart the change in transit mode share across metro areas from 2000-2008. The DC area is one of the big increases. (TNR, charlie)

We need bicycle infrastructure: Tom Vanderbilt discusses the need for "bicycle highways," roads optimized for bike travel. (Slate, Geoff H.) ... Prince George's will build a 2-mile trail from Bladensburg to the DC line, connecting to DC's trails. (WTOP, C.R.)

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David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


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To be fair, the article asked for the "most important works of architecture," not buildings.

by Andy on Jul 3, 2010 10:26 am • linkreport

Love Zumthor's baths.

by spookiness on Jul 3, 2010 10:33 am • linkreport

GGW: "Also note how many of these buildings require large, empty space around them to look good."

This is nonsense architectural criticism at its worst.

Nine of the buildings are urban, both in their location and treatment of the site. Four buildings (Millau Viaduct, Thermal Vals, Yokohama Terminal, and Nelson Atkins Museum) are either located in rural areas, or are expansions of existing buildings.

The remaining nine are set back, or otherwise use open space to frame the structure in space. Many (but not all) do so to the benefit of both building and the surrounding area. This is not a modernist concept. You need only look around DC to see that. If GGW takes issue with this, then they must also reassess the amount of space the Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, and Jefferson Memorial require to "look good."

No architectural "style" (these buildings actually fall under a number of stylistic categories) is without its faults. But GGWs outright dismissal of modern architecture is an example of stubborn, close-mindedness that is otherwise uncharacteristic of this site.

by tuppenceforthebirds on Jul 3, 2010 12:01 pm • linkreport

This work is all predictable, the same predictable names, the same predictable projects, the same predictable "experts", the outright exclusion of postmodernist or traditional work and the inclusion of only modernist work.

Gotta love how the Le Corbusier (a guy dead since the 1960s) building got 4 votes for “most significant work of architecture created so far in the 21st century”.

by poncho on Jul 3, 2010 1:28 pm • linkreport

With any list you can argue whether certain projects deserve to be included. What I find more concerning is the "conventional wisdom" that modern architecture is inherently bad, or that the compositional principles of buildings new and old are inherently different.

As for predictability, well yeah... when you're compiling a 20-year retrospective of buildings deemed to be important, you're not likely to be hear of too many projects for the first time.

by tuppenceforthebirds on Jul 3, 2010 1:52 pm • linkreport

I would assume a look back at 30 years of architecture would uncover relatively unnoticed buildings of greater importance than initially given credit or works that embody "their time" perhaps better than the most publicized works. This list is heavily skewed to the last few years showing a bias for the current taste and ideologies of the day, an objective list would value exemplary works from the various styles and ideologies of the last 30 years. This list seems more like pretending that postmodernism never existed which has been the goal of many in the architecture profession for all 30 of these years. Not surprising when you ask the usual acclaimed starchitects of 2005-2010 what their favorite buildings are that they choose their own buildings from 2005-2010 or the building that put them on the map.

by poncho on Jul 3, 2010 4:21 pm • linkreport

Hmm...That's like building a trail between Tijuana and San Diego

by SFCDad on Jul 4, 2010 3:59 am • linkreport

Why give bicyclists all the love? We need motorcycle lanes.

by Redline SOS on Jul 6, 2010 8:16 am • linkreport

Poncho: "outright exclusion of postmodernist..."

Um, what about Stirling's Neue Staatsgallerie? Isn't that like an ur-post-modernist building?

by wdcab on Jul 8, 2010 5:22 pm • linkreport

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