Lake Anne

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Lake Anne plaza, Reston

Cafe on the plaza

In its country look and abundance of trees, Reston felt far from the big city. The Lake Anne Village Center was very appealing, with its European touches, its apartments over the stores. The stores faced the plaza and the lake, rather than the parking lot, and the plaza was used by people happy to linger there.

It was also good to see two Hispanic food stores in the village center, which seemed to verify what the lady at the Reston cultural center told me about a mixed population.

The center showed how design could help place making: its built rhythm and punctuation helped stage activities by defining spaces and suggesting uses by deft historical references -- which were nonetheless executed in a modernist idiom. I could imagine walking there in the morning for a paper, as I saw people doing. Or sitting in a cafe or on a bench by the lake, getting to know people like the regulars at the cafe where I had lunch.