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Western Plaza, Pennsylvania Avenue

Western Plaza consists of a large raised terrace in which part of L'Enfant's original 1791 plan for Washington, D.C. is rendered in black and white stone. At one end of the raised terrace is a pool. At the other is a shaded sitting area around a statue of General Pulaski.

Inscribed on the upper terrace are historic quotations about Washington. Low walls separate the plaza from surrounding traffic. Eleven large urns rest on top of these walls and contain seasonal planting. The upper map terrace has a grass lawn where the Mall occurs and inlaid bronze plans of the White House and the Capitol located at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue. The inlays illustrate L'Enfant's intention to have these two buildings balance each other and symbolize two main branches of government. The siting of the Treasury in the 19th century blocked the view of the White House and obscured this relationship.

L'Enfant's plan of Washington combines two orders of scale. The giant order is the diagonal avenues that sometimes terminate in a building or a monument. This order characterizes the federal scale of the city. The minor order is the rectangular grid pattern of the local structure of the city.

Western Plaza acknowledges both orders since it is shaped by the rectangular grid of the local scale and is an element within the giant order of Pennsylvania Avenue.
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