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A Place for Art: The Dulles Metro Station Open Access

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In May 2009 the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority approved the plan recommending completion of Phase II of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project. The project is an 11.5 mile extension of the Silver Line which begins from the metrorail Orange Line at East Falls Church station in Fairfax County and terminates at route 772 in eastern Loudon County. Dulles is a major international airport which is projected to serve 32 million passengers in 2010. The new metro station at Dulles Airport will serve as an important gateway between Northern Virginia and downtown Washington D.C. The Silver Line will provide direct access from Dulles Airport and connect to the existing metrorail system. After research of existing public art throughout the Washington D.C. metro system and the thriving art community that exists throughout Washington D.C. metro area, this thesis proposes to create more awareness of the Washington D.C. Metro's Arts in Transit program, which will lead to increased ridership on Metro and other public transportation systems. This thesis proposes a public art program of both permanent and temporary installation pieces for the Dulles Metro that reflects the history and diversity of the surrounding community while maintaining the integrity of the current architectural and environmental conditions of the Dulles Corridor.The foundation of this proposal is based on three main areas of research: the use of art in public spaces, the historic architectural context of the Dulles metro, and the American urban environment. The history of art and urban planning sets an important precedent for this project. The first main area of research explores the history of public art and its integration with architecture for public spaces. This research focuses on how and why public art has been used in the past and what the underlining implications public art has for communities. The second area of interest will focus on the design theories of Eero Saarinen's original concept for Dulles Airport with Harry Weese, architect of the original 86 metro stations. Finally, this thesis will examine the conditions of American cities and how public transportation and public art can play a role in addressing environmental concerns, relieving traffic congestion, exploring cultural identity and creating a sense of place and purpose for the 21st century commuters.Synthesizing these ideas, the design for the Dulles Metro is brought to life by integration of sculpture, painting, graphic, and multimedia experiences. Temporary installations of graphic, painting, and other print art provides commuters with a preview of current artists residing in Washington D.C. Sculptural pieces integrated into the current landscape giving this Metro a specific sense of place. Finally, residents and visitors will become more familiar with art and culture in the Washington D.C. metro area by the inclusion of an information kiosk where they will have the opportunity to become more aware of Metro Art thru the purchase of a special metro map and booklet that diagrams all instances of public art as well as other artistic attractions throughout the Washington D.C. Metro system.

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