A NEW GUIDE TO BALANCING MOBILITY AND HUMANITY ON MAIN STREET
Case Studies 

Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

*Nominee 

HUD Plaza

Washington

DC

USA

Contributed by 
Project for Public Spaces
 on 
January 7, 2002
December 14, 2017

The old plaza exhibited the worst of Modernism's frosty attitude toward accommodating humans - its late-'90s redesign is no better.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

This desolate 6-acre plaza surrounding Marcel Breuer's 1968 building for the Department of Housing and Urban Development was built without shade, or public amenities. Livability, community and the needs of HUD's 4,800 employees were sacrificed to the high alter of Modernism. The plaza runs up against the base of the solid stone wall of the blocks-long HUD building amply prohibiting any connection between the life within the building and that without.

In 1990 HUD commissioned Martha Schwartz, Inc. to redesign the plaza to help the agency project an its mission of providing habitable spaces for people. The resulting "band-aid" consists of a series of concrete planters containing grass, and white vinyl "Lifesaver" lighting raised up 14 feet on steel poles provide some refuge from the barrenness of the space. For the dark wall at the base of the building, a backlit mural has been planned to reflect the people and faces of HUD and create a backdrop for the plaza.

The plaza however, remains disconnected from the surrounding area, over-designed and unwelcoming.

Access & Linkages

Comfort & Image

Uses & Activities

Sociability

How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

Related Links & Sources

HUD Plaza
okay - maybe people doing fashion shoots
HUD Plaza
all form... little if any function
HUD Plaza
this is a building entrance?
HUD Plaza
note uncomfortable, unmoveable seating
HUD Plaza
note the abstract "dialogue" between canopies and building facade
HUD Plaza
bollards guide cars into parking garage
HUD Plaza
HUD Plaza

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

NOMINATE A PLACE

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A NEW GUIDE TO BALANCING MOBILITY AND HUMANITY ON MAIN STREET