Column: National Mall endures centuries of architectural change

01/18/2009 | NYTimes.com

For centuries, architects have debated how the National Mall in Washington should shape the identity of the U.S. The Mall, originally part of an imperial vision transplanted from France, later saw rows of utilitarian federal buildings built along its edge. Nevertheless, the Mall's design continues to demonstrate the conflict between democracy and the desire for national unity, according to columnist Nicolai Ouroussoff.

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