Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and our grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. — Daniel Burnham, 1907
The opening of this quote stared at me on a sign just outside the National Archives of the United States; I recognized it immediately as a friend has this tattooed on her arm. But what, my brain was thinking, was a quote from a noted architect famed for his work in Chicago, Illinois doing here in Washington DC? There was only one thing to do, keep reading. I was in Federal Triangle, the heart of the American government. And as it turned out, Burnham was responsible for many of the buildings I was about to see. So it made sense, and soon it would make even more sense.
Make no little plans, was key, and Washington DC was the symbolic conclusion of it. As a non-American, it made sense to have a single unified big plan, something that would stir the magic. The idea that in America, while the Constitution guarantees that there would be no state religion, the state is the religion, patriotism, and Washington in all its glory is the center of that. While in a Monarchy (Constitutional or otherwise) a higher power gives the monarch the right to rule, in a Republic the people give the right to rule, so a civil religion, the love of country is the result.
And it shows. Throughout Federal Triangle and the National Mall, every building holds a similar style. Influences from the great republics and democracies of history, Rome and Greece. You see it in the White House, the Capitol, Archives, IRS, Agriculture, and some buildings in the Smithsonian. Unity, something lacking this year in the United States with the brutal spectacle that is the Presidential Election. And maybe both sides needs to look at their capital, not as the goal, but their goal to bring the nation back together. Like Burnham said, Make No Little Plans.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 100 @ ASA-100
FA-1027 (1+14) 9:30 @ 20C
Meter: None (Sunny-16)
Scanner: Epson V700
Editor: Adobe Photoshop CC (2015.5)