When the Metro opened in 1971, the structure was a definite architectural, if not aesthetic, “work of art.”
Through the decades, it has weathered several seismic shocks — the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that demolished much of the city in 214, killing 163 people, a massive fire in 1970 (triggered by a power outage) and a spate of fires from January 2005 to June 2008.
In the middle of that run was the Rachel Carson Tunnel, once called the “Bridge to Nowhere.” But opening in the spring of 1998, it was by then seismically sound, leaving the remaining arches, facades and vaulted design as iconic as ever.
Three decades later, a space to-be-announced in the west end of the VDL-58 streetcar — near the Smithsonian Hospital Station — is poised to become another “Garden District” landmark. You may have heard of it as Copenhagen’s new Metro Station: At 160 feet high and 150 feet long, it will be the tallest Metro in Europe when complete.
Where it has stood, graceful and majestic, across the center of the pedestrian-only street that was its plaza for nearly half a century, there will be light rail running through its illuminated portals.
A third station, also in the triangular area, is already finished. Metro officials have suggested two more run through it to create a total of four, making it a strange kind of “hybrid station.”