Your Chance To Tell The Union Station Redevelopment Corp. What You Think Of The Planned Main Hall Remodel

How the Main Hall with Center Cafe Looks Now. Photo Courtesy of the Union Station Redevelopment Corp.

We recently learned that Union Station’s Main Hall is undergoing a redesign and that the general public is invited to comment on the design before it is finalized. While we try to stick to stories about the Brookland area; if there is one thing I know about us Brooklanders, it is that we love to share our opinions about how things should be designed, LOL. There are some renderings of the redesign below, and you can download a pdf with details and concept diagrams here. I know Union Station well. I worked next door to it for over 4 years and I love that building. The redesign of the hall will eliminate the Center Cafe, something I am not thrilled about. This will create a vast area for what purpose, I am not sure. I assume that most people would still rather wait for their train in the waiting areas near the Amtrak gates. (Speaking of which, if anything at Union Station needs a makeover, it is those cramped, dark  waiting areas, but I digress.) The cafe has been a nice meeting point, a unique little place for a meal, and breaks up the hall visually in a good way. The hall has such high ceilings, that removing the cafe – and not replacing it with something visually interesting and very vertical, will render the room  a big boring carven with a pretty ceiling. So if the cafe has to go, how about a statue in keeping with Downtown DC’s “monument theme”? Next, the design calls for creating  escalators to the lower level food court, which will require creating holes in the floor. I’m not exactly thrilled about this idea,  but am open to it because I think the flow of foot traffic in Union Station is a bit clunky now, so maybe it will work. From what I understand, the now defunct movie theatre will be transformed into a high-end mall area and the escalators will lead to that. Which is why the tall “shops” signs are placed there. This is a head scratcher for me. As the lone modern element, they look very out-of-place in context of the rest of the architecture. The hall is a beautiful space, I would hate to see it ruined by unnecessary changes. So, in this case, less is more. The deadline for comments is Thursday, November 15 at this comment page. The Main Hall redesign is part of a larger overhaul of Union Station and Columbus Circle, for more information on the larger project, check out the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation website.

Birds eye view of proposed main hall design. Rendering Courtesy of the Union Station Redevelopment Corp
View Looking Northwest. Rendering Courtesy of the Union Station Redevelopment Corp.
View looking northeast. Rendering Courtesy of the Union Station Redevelopment Corp.
View from entry. Rendering Courtesy of the Union Station Redevelopment Corp.

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