Client, Year

STUDIOS Architecture & WMATA, 2022

Services

Branded Environments
Murals & Supergraphics

Awards / Press

AIA DC, Chapter Design Award in Architecture, 2023
NAIOP DC/MD, Award of Excellence for Best Renovation, 2023
Engineering News-Record MidAtlantic, Best Renovation/Restoration, 2022

Photography

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Headquarters

Celebrating D.C.’s Metro and its riders

People’s well-being is what’s most important to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the agency better known as D.C.’s Metro. This singular core value drove Ashton’s design for their new headquarters, where a successful mix of graphics, textures, and high-visibility features help WMATA increase visitor accessibility, build employee pride, and embrace its future growth. 

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The striking lobby installation, made in collaboration with Giles Miller, depicts WMATA users in motion. Their custom-made silhouettes are built from thousands of hexagonal tiles, matching those found in many WMATA stations. The tiles’ various colors, finishes, and angles give the mural movement and nod to the diversity of riders WMATA serves.

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Throughout the space, everyday data is elevated to the level of art. Stripes of bus routes make for interesting distraction graphics on glass walls in the elevator lobbies.

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A single, bus-schedule supergraphic unifies the building’s seven-story stairwell. The stacking pattern, created from WMATA’s ubiquitous timetables, does more than carry the eye up the open space—it integrates timestamps on each floor that correspond to that floor’s level.

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WMATA’s extensive archive served as a rich design resource. Diverse materials were combed through and categorized to create a unique wall graphic on every floor. For instance, the “capital idea” mural is composed of hundreds of photo slides taken during the original construction of multiple Metro stations.

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Additional guiding principles are highlighted across the other floors. Each wall comprises archival photos, hand drawings, and illustrations, ranging from the initial ideas for WMATA’s stations to current-day events.

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The murals’ visual collages feel inclusive and allow for new moments of discovery every time they’re walked past.

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On level 3, a timeline of WMATA’s history from inception to the present spans a 100-foot-long corridor. The dynamic composition unites text, imagery, quotes, data, and archival objects to create an engaging story of WMATA’s regional impact. Organizing the information by theme and neighborhood helps readers approach the expansive, seamless installation.

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