Washington’s decades-old rail system received the prestigious 25 Year AIA award, which is given to structures that demonstrate excellent performance over the course of at least 25 years. The system of 86 unique stations scattered across 106 miles was designed by architect Harry Weese over 40 years ago and first opened in 1976.
The metro reaches out to the city outskirts and is based on the principle of navigability and easily understood organization. The stations, including the new addition on the Siler Line march towards the Virginia suburbs, were designed as combinations of common design elements and unique detailing that make them recognizable and easy to use.
The architect, as well as the city, wanted to avoid building a subway which would remind of the one in New York. Instead, they envisioned a network of spacious, airy stations that would vary in size and scale. This attitude, and the subtle referencing of the city’s monumental aboveground architecture, facilitated a dynamic daily commuting experience.
During the drastic increase in urban population-from 1960 to 1970- there was a strong need for investing in the Metro. Since then the system has seen various renovation works and received several additions.