Terminating vista

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The Presidential Office Building in Taipei serves as the terminating vista for Ketagalan Boulevard.
The Ontario Legislative Building in Toronto completes the terminating vista of University Avenue.

In urban design, a terminating vista is a building or monument that stands at the end or in the middle of a road, so that when one is looking up the street the view ends with the site.

Terminating vistas are considered an important method of adding aesthetic appeal to a city, and to emphasize important structures or monuments. Common terminating vistas include government buildings, war memorials, courthouses and other important structures. Standing at the end of a street adds grandeur to a structure, and legislature and palaces are thus often placed in such a locale.

A city particularly known for its terminating vistas is Paris, where many of the largest streets end in monuments and structures such as the Arc de Triomphe, Palais Garnier or the Panthéon. Another well-known example is Washington, D.C. [1]

The important disadvantage of terminating vistas is that they make traffic more complicated and prevent a simple grid system of city blocks. To accommodate them, large traffic circles or other techniques have to be employed to get traffic around the monument. Cities on a grid system such as New York City thus have few terminating vistas. A prominent NYC exception is the controversial MetLife Building, which was built on top of Park Avenue.

Philadelphia's City Hall is another example,[2] situated on Penn Square where Broad and Market Streets intersect. The two streets form the north-south and east-west axes of the city's core grid, leaving the large masonry structure visible from all sections of the city.


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