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Charlottesville Mall

Historic Name: East Main St.
Charlottesville, VA

Designed by Lawrence Halprin & Associates in the mid 1970s to revitalize the downtown community, the Charlottesville Mall is significant not only for its subtle and innovative design solutions, but also for its incorporation of community workshops with all of the city’s citizens into the design process. Opening in 1976, the project is located along the city’s historic Main Street and just two blocks from its 1780s Courthouse square. This eight block long by 60-foot wide street has become Charlottesville’s public living room. Theaters, restaurants, shops, and apartments line a lively space characterized by willow oak bosques, a brick floor, and significant outdoor seating with moveable chairs and tables. Several small scale fountains also punctuate the sequence. In 2002, it received the accolades of the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, acknowledging it as one of three programs that brought a “downtown back to life” (Solutions for America. What’s Already Out There, 2002). Along with the sculpture garden at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (demolished in 2006), this is one of two important Virginia projects for Halprin.

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