Each year I get the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. to give a presentation at the Department of Energy for the NEED project. It is always a highlight for me to make this trip which I also combine with a visit to some of the museums and / or monuments. The inspirational architecture in Washington D.C. from the scale to form to meaning brings me so much joy.
My last visit to D.C. I was able to visit the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. What an amazing architectural experience. The path you take through the building takes you through a range of emotion, tells the story of richness and diversity, and highlights some amazing people. It was overwhelming at times. I look forward to returning to spend more time there.
This visit I was a little late getting to town so my time was spent in the shadows of greatness. There is something about scale and perspective in the darkness of night that adds even more to the architecture. Of course I visited the MLK, Jr. Memorial. I wonder what the world would be like if this man was still alive and what we have all missed due to hatred that took him too early.
I also walked the length of the National Mall to visit with Abraham Lincoln. The memorial was alive with young people making one last visit for the day. There was laughter and conversations in this historic structure. In his shadow I am left wondering if there will ever be a true American Statesman that will stand up for what is right instead of what is popular. I wonder what his stance would mean today with so many weapons of mass destruction available. I hope never to have to experience a country that is torn apart by different beliefs putting brother against brother. I hope if we do face such a tragedy we have someone emerge that can lead us to a better future.
Of course the Washington Monument stands as the icon lit at night as a beacon for good. It remains closed for repairs while upgrades are made to improve accessibility. Is this symbolic of the state of our nation currently – well this is not a political blog so I will leave it as a maybe.
It was nice to visit the DOE the following morning to share my thoughts on building science. I so appreciate Mary, Kim, and El for having me back each year and letting me skip the morning traffic. While I could not function in such a densely populated space, it is nice to visit the inspirational architecture in our nations capital once or twice a year.