D.C. Subway Makeover Plans Court Controversy

For the first time since the system was opened in 1976, Washington D.C.'s iconic subway stations are getting a substantial redesign. Preservationists and historians are questioning the appropriateness of the changes.

The dark and cold design language deployed across the system by principal architect Harry Weese is due to get a 21st century update in a plan announced this week by Washington's transit agency. "Stainless steel, bright lights and clear glass would supplant the soft lighting and dark colors that were defining elements of the subway system when it was designed and built in the 1960s and 1970s," reports Dana Hedgpeth.

"The proposed changes, which would be most noticeable in some of the system’s underground stations, mark a striking departure for Metro. And just as the system’s original design was the subject of great debate, the transit agency’s announcement is already eliciting pointed critiques from some quarters."

"The announcement is sure to stir some of the transit agency’s critics, who are likely to say the rail system’s performance, not its aesthetics, should be the focus. But historic preservationists and transit historians have their own critiques, saying the new design will compromise the distinctive design that emerged from years of debate over what a subway system for the nation’s capital should look like."

Full Story: Metrorail plans to renovate stations

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