Skip to main content
Washington DC Metro
check mark14 votes

Washington DC, USA

Washington DC Metro

Descending into the cool depth of this concrete masterpiece feels like an interplanetary travel from a Space Age sci-fi movie.

Yana Gorbacheva

Designed in 1969 by Harry Weese, the coffered, exposed concrete vaulted ceiling of Washington Metro astonished commuters when it first opened in 1976 with its sleek and futuristic appearance. Exposed concrete is a signature of not only Weese’s design, but is perhaps most emblematic of all the rules of Brutalist architecture. In March of this year, the vault at Union Station (pictured) was painted with a gleaming and inappropriate white, an attempt to brighten the station’s appearance. Bill Gallagher—whose first job out of college was working for Weese, and who still designs Metro stations today—is dismayed by the local transportation authority’s recent decision to paint the vault. Aside from negatively affecting the design, Gallagher points out that the painted surfaces will become soiled almost immediately and will be even more difficult to maintain. The recent painting of the exposed concrete vaulted ceilings is one more attack on modern architecture, a reminder that this young and often misunderstood style is at an ever-present risk of destruction and modifications.

Submitted by @modernist_heaven

Photo Credit: 
© Yana Gorbacheva