Posts Tagged ‘Lawrence Halprin’

Snow at Panera

Yeah, it’s still snowing.

“It has been said that Americans are not a ‘plaza people’ as are the Italians or the French – the implication is that plazas do not fit our lifestyle and therefore we should not build them.  This is demonstrably not true.  The problem has arisen only when plazas did not relate to any activity, when they were simply vast or sterile places designed only as foregrounds for buildings or with no functional reason for their being.  We do not accumulate any longer vast throngs of people to pray or to hear presidential announcements.  The radio and television have taken care of that.  What we do need are small-scaled plazas as outdoor living rooms, places to see and be seen.  Our plazas need to be lived in.”  – – Lawrence Halprin, as quoted in Landscape Architecture Magazine and New York New York. 

Lawrence Halprin, one of America’s most revered landscape architects, passed away last year.  His concepts and designs changed the way we think about our outdoor spaces.

The quote is from 1968.  You can add the internet and smart phones to his comment about radio and television.  The more cyber-connected we become, the less physically connected we are.  (Yesterday in Panera’s I observed a family of four at a table, three of the four heads were bowed, as if in prayer.  As I walked by I saw that they were all thumb typing on their phones.)

What do you think?  Are we a plaza people?  Can you give me an example of a good plaza and why you like it?  Because this is a regional blog, you get bonus points if you can give me an example in or around West Virginia.