Would You McMillan II?

Nir Buras is looking to redouble work on his McMillan II plan.  He asked me to post this little ad, so of course I obliged.

Recent construction in DC dilutes the character of the City’s built environment and it is on the verge of loosing its identity.  Obviously the City and its citizens deserve better.  The order and principles of the L’enfant Plan provided the “DNA” of the City. The McMillan Commission (1902) invented the National Mall and created many if not most of the beautiful buildings and landscapes of DC including the Lincoln Memorial, Federal Triangle, Rock Creek Park, the GW Parkway and more. The McMillan II Initiative proposes architecture and City Building principles commensurate with DC’s legacy and its world role. It will enable healthy “green” growth for DC, provide longevity and promote timeless beauty into the 22nd Century and make DC a WorldClass City.

The first round of McMillan II recognized the mile-wide no-man’s land of freeways and underused parks existing along the Anacostia River, much of it on Federal land. This disconnection is the City’s urban, social and political nightmare. DC needs a healing act, both literally and figuratively, stitching together this urban gash for the social, economic and civic benefit of all. The first round of McMillan II was recently made public on the Kojo Nnamdi show and numerous blogs. In the second round we seek participants to assist in further detailing the plan and ground it in the best sustainable, economic, hydrological, financial, urban planning and design practices. Skills sought include collegiality, reading, writing, drafting and computer graphics, modeling and animation, video, sketching and water coloring to further develop and repackage the project.

For participation, please contact Dr. Nir Buras at info@buras-classical.com and state your relevant interests, skills and experience.

Additionally, he and I are intending to hold a salon to discuss the plan, its underpinnings, and its consequences at some point in the future. If you’re not interested in working on the project, or if you’re like me and enjoy a good debate about architecture, that might be more your thing. Stay posted.

McMillan Two gets some feedback

Last week, I published the McMillan Two concept, after hearing about it on the Kojo Nnamdi show and interviewing the designer, Nir Buras. I’ve been pretty excited by the dialogue – the post of GGW received 88 comments and several thousand views. Others have jumped in.

First was the excellent constructive criticism by Alex Block. But he outdid himself with another article arguing for an ecologically balanced solution, which built on a post by…

…Mammoth, who delivered a strident critique of the more Eurocentric and anti-wetland flaws in the proposal. I commented on the article, and the exchanges between me, J.D. Hammond, and Rob Holmes are all good dialogue. The example of the Port Lands project in Toronto is worth examining in depth.

Straßgefühl, the only other blog whose name rivals mine, offers a counter-proposal based on the Sumidagawa river in Tokyo. The post opens up a new direction of thought, but it’s marred by insisting that Buras would be building a pseudo-historical development,  since the proposal has no pretensions of history.

Obviously there was the news coverage too. BDC offered his thoughts, Ryan Avent jumped in with a skeptical but enthusiastic reception, JDLand noted that the plan exists, and DCist had its usual commentary.

If you’re still thirsty for information, you can look at the earlier reactions: City Block’s initial thoughts and then a look at precedents.  Straßgefühl kinda-sorta liked it before; and Spencer Lepler was generally ok as well.

But it is great to see this kind of dialogue happening. The issues of nature, tradition, environment, autonomy, and culture have a lot of intersections not yet explored. The only thing everyone agreed on: tear down the highways. Interesting, no?

Bonus: Here’s an in depth article about Buras from Las Vegas Weekly. Read it!