Reflections on the Architectural Design of Washington, DC

The US Capitol is the center of the architectural design of Washington, D.C. because, in a democracy, the political power emanates from the House of the People.

The US Capitol may be visualized as a cubical (six-sided) house. The bottom, west, top, and east sides of the cube unfold westwardly. At the third fold, the two remaining sides unfold north and south. A cross is formed.

Viewed eastward from the original eastern side of the cube, the cross appears inverted because, in a democracy, the view from the top tends to distort the real needs of the people. Only when viewed from the bottom of the cross —the Capitol— are the real needs addressed.  

From the very top of that cross, Abraham Lincoln —a racial Avatar— keeps reminding us that government should be from the people, by the people and for the people. At his feet, the two short arms of the cross point north to the house of the federal President, and south to the restraining force of anti-federalism, the Jefferson Memorial.

These two forces —a strong central government opposing strong state governments— have shaped the political history of the United States. At the heart of this yin-yang polarity is the Washington Obelisk, a reminder that the first President of the United States stood at a neutral stance, preferring a nonpartisan political system.

From the center of the cross, the Federal Triangle is drawn. The longer sides point to the House of the People, as George Washington reminds us that democracy will die if the power grabbing tendency of the White House would ever rule unchecked. The White House would then become a Black Hole dragging the cross into a Dark Cube.  

The octagon inscribing the White House has witnessed good office holders aligned with the needs of the people (5-pointed stars), and those grabbing power for selfish purposes (inverted pentagrams). The federal triangle points to the US Capitol for balance, as it radiates light eastward. Of this Columbia, the Goddess of Liberty solemnly standing on its dome, serves as its eternal symbol.

Eastward from the US Capitol stand two buildings symbolizing forces also counter-balancing the power grabbing tendencies of the White House. These are US Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. The annual path of the Sun as it rises every day on the Eastern horizon can be tracked by this Triangle of Wisdom and Enlightenment.

Architecturally, the All-Seeing Eye —the Capitol Hill— is the capstone of the 13-rung Pyramid built upwards from the west below to the east above. This is the “shining city on a hill” envisioned by the Founding Fathers. And still, the Statue of Freedom at the dome —Columbia—carries no flaming torch.

The Path of Freedom is veiling a further revelation. As hinted by the French people, the majestic Temple designed by L’Enfant has another extension to unfold. The gifted Statue of Liberty at Liberty Island —another Temple— may serve as a timely reminder.   

When will the two Ladies meet? Or are They the same Goddess garbed in different garments? There is a prophecy that New York will become the new center of political power in the United States. An Olympian relay handoff may be in the offing, not just for the United States, but for humanity.

In serene expectancy, we await, and toil, and rest again, until the appointed time.

We shall overcome. Yes, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and John Lewis. We shall overcome, some day.  



2 thoughts on “Reflections on the Architectural Design of Washington, DC

  1. Factoid:
    On September 18, 1793 George Washington laid the cornerstone to the United States Capitol.
    Worth pondering.

    In a way this act symbolically completed the link between 1) the aspirational Ideals of the Constitution, 2) the essential Leadership needed to steer the country in their direction, and 3) the concrete Institutions required to make them manifest. (1st, 2nd, 3rd aspects.)

    On January 6, 2021, sadly, these links were all but broken.


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