WASHINGTON DC AND THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA.
In the week 5 lecture, Mirko mentioned Washington DC and The University of Virginia as two planned urban spaces. As i have mentioned din previous posts, i was fortunate enough to visit the United States in January last year, and in fact visited both of these places and as a result i found the discussion of the particularly engaging.
I was able to relate the lecture content to my own personal perceptions of the two spaces. Both districts are located reasonably close to one another, with the UV campus being about an hour and half away from DC when travelling by car. My initial thoughts about DC was that the cityscape was very rigid and something that i was not accustomed to. The restrictions on the height of buildings within the city centre for example, gave the space a very planned and regulated feel. The grid like pattern on streets and the naming system, numbers and letters, only enhanced this perception of the space. The city is dominated by landmarks, monuments and memorials and as a result the city planning was key to appropriately connecting these elements together.
The University of Virginia’s campus surprised me because of its size and the nature of the area. The campus itself almost represents a small city and is equipped with all the necessary services that anyone living there would require. There was a definite central space in the original university buildings and even though the campus had sprawled outwards to the extent where you need a car to travel from one side to the other, many of the key facilities were located in the central area. I found it very interesting to explore the campus and note the different uses, when compared to our own QUT campus. The original campus buildings were still fully functioning and rooms within these buildings were prized by the students and only awarded to those with exceptional results, something i thought payed homage to the history of the university and the respect the students have for it. These rooms didn’t have any heating!