A driving force of the century

Critic's choice: Architecture

November 14, 1999|By Edward Gunts

At the National Building Museum in Washington, a new exhibition attempts to show just how much the advent of the automobile and pleasure travel have transformed our surroundings during the 20th century -- for better or worse.

"See the U.S.A.: Automobile Travel and the American Landscape" explores the roadside facilities that made leisure travel by motorcar an accepted and expected part of life, from gas stations and diners to motels and billboards. It's a visual tour of the architecture and culture that once dotted America's highways.

"See the U.S.A." opens Friday and runs until May 7, 2000.

The National Building Museum is at 401 F St. N.W. in Washington. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

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