NATIONAL METRO STATION
Often referred to as our country's front yard, the National Mall in Washington D.C. is perhaps one of the most underwhelming urban green spaces in the world. With the Smithsonian Metro Station acting as its primary threshold to tourists, the metro can easily be thought of as our nation's front door. Presently, however, our nation's front door is a hole in the ground surrounded by a few bushes, completely unmarked or recognizable apart from an eight foot tall kiosk announcing its presence. This project challenges these present conditions, placing the Smithsonian Metro Station at the forefront of D.C.'s monumentality and grandeur, seeking to elaborate upon both the federal nature of the city of Washington and its diversely international culture.
Addressing all scales of building and humanity were pertinent, as the present state of the National Mall presents little to no investment into a human scale of interaction. Blending what could be considered "above ground" and "below ground" was also important, as creating a diverse landscape in both the x and y axes on the National Mall would heighten an awareness of both the nature of the city's metro operations and a sense of how the city itself operates between government, cultural, and ecological influences. Ultimately, the renovations to take place would include a sizable portion of the National Mall itself, creating a new experiential language to journey to the many monuments and museums from this "epicenter" of transportation and commerce.
Within the scope of renovations, preservation of the metro's iconic structure (waffle slab) was pertinent, as well as programming in exhibit space for the museums and spaces of leisure, including a network of commercial spaces. Ultimately, mediating issues of scale in accordance to both the vastness of the National Mall and that of the pedestrian were priorities of the design. Searching for this balance proved to be trying but fruitful, as such a broad scope of design possibilities were addressed.