Here are some buildings that are very governmental.

The Washington Governor’s Mansion – by Russell and Babcock
US Capitol, Benjamine Latrobe image from
Washington State Capitol Building by Wilder and White

Apparently, Governmental, up until very recently, meant “neo-colonial” or “Greek revival”.

So what makes a building civic, or “democratic” in a more modern vernacular? Here are some newer examples:

Seattle City Hall by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson – image from BUILDblog
US Courthouse and Federal Building, Las Vegas by Mehrdad Yazdani. Image by Peter Aaron
Bronx county Hall of Justice, Rafael vinoly Architects image from






What do these newer examples have in common? A “civic” scale, a prominent front porch or plaza element, and an urban presence that is welcoming – like a front door to the government.

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