The region’s premiere transit system, Metro is of the most recognizable architectures in the nation.
The DC Metro is without a doubt the most recognizable Brutalist structure in the DC region. With over six hundred thousand riders every day, it plays no small part in everything that goes on in the Capitol Area. It also made the list of top 150 architecture in the U.S., the only Brutalist structure to do so. With so much love and notoriety, it’s no small feat the Metro has maintained its signature look through the years. Some stations in particular are worth nothing including L’Enfant plaza, Chinatown, and Dupont Circle.
The original vaulting was developed by Harry Weese, and though variations were made to be more cost-effective, they remain in the spirit of that originally developed. The advantage is using concrete for the majority of the structure has become clear throughout the years: it ages well even if the environment of Metro with infinite sources of dirt and grime, even with the washing, some stains cannot be removed, but concrete is very forgiving when it comes to these, looking good no matter what you throw at it. In spite of this, Metro experimented with painting the concrete in some stations white. The backlash was rapid and merciless, even the critics of Brutalism thought the move was a step backwards.
Through the years the original look laid down has been carried through to the present day. Even the most recent addition on the Silver Line have a visual similarity to the original vaulting despite not explicitly including it. The metal awnings and girders do enough to convey an industrial aesthetic that hearkens back to the original Metro stations they riff on.
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