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Posted at 7:35 PM ET, 07/22/2010

The wrong spot for the National Latino Museum

By editors

By Charles A. Birnbaum

Philip Kennicott’s article about proposed sites for a new museum rightly defends not locating it on Washington’s already congested Mall [“In siting a National Latino museum, the best view is the long view,” July 18]. However, his preferred alternative, the 10th Street Overlook, labeled “a forgotten spur of 10th Street SW,” gets short shrift. Not mentioned was the park’s designer, landscape architect Dan Kiley, a Presidential Medal of Arts recipient who is second only to Frederick Law Olmsted in creating works of landscape architecture now designated as National Historic Landmarks. Kiley’s other landscape projects in the region include Hollin Hills (1949), Capitol Parks Apartments (1956), the approach gardens for Dulles International Airport (1963), the pilot block for the Pennsylvania Avenue redevelopment (1968) and the National Gallery of Art East Building (1978).

Of all these projects, nothing equals the power and simplicity of the Overlook’s central, low-slung, cone-shape fountain, which sends water more than 30 feet in the air. Since this site is the work of a master landscape architect, why should it be demolished to make way for the new museum? Is this the best alternative to keep new construction off the Mall?

The writer is founder and president of the Cultural Landscape Foundation.

By editors  | July 22, 2010; 7:35 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, National Mall  
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