The Penn Compact in Action

Critic for the Capitol

Architect and urban designer Witold Rybczynski has explored the development of North American cities and the legacy of landscape designer Fredrick Law Olmstead. Now he’s turning his expertise to Washington D.C.’s public buildings, statues and monuments, as well as U.S. medals and coins. Appointed by President Bush to a four-year term on the Commission of Fine Arts, Rybczynski joins six other members whose main task is to examine all public building design within Washington, D.C. The Commission is charged with assessing the impact of projects on the general public—from coin design to a gymnasium for the U.S. Army—and recommends changes, if necessary.

Rybczynski, a professor of Urbanism and the director of the Real Estate & Design Program, says that the diversity of projects makes the work compelling. “The challenge today is dealing with security. It’s a real struggle—the needs of security and the demands of good design,” he says. “That’s a very big and difficult question, for obvious and good reasons.”

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The Penn Compact

The Penn Compact embodies Penn's vision for making our University both a global leader in teaching, research, and professional practice, as well as a dynamic agent of social, economic, and civic progress.

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