New Lighting on Helmut Jahn Building at Reston Station Part of Architect’s Signature Design

Gratuitous use of LEDs. What is this imitating, Vegas? #reston #wmata #shiny #purple

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Festive? Or garish?

Depending on your point of view, new lighting at the 1900 Metro Plaza building at Reston Station may have caught your eye for a different reason. The color-changing edge lighting that went into place recently on the 16-story structure caused a reader to contact Reston Now with one distinct type of reaction.

It is shocking; [it] looks like Las Vegas in Reston,” the reader wrote. “[I] almost drove off [the] road [the] other night. [I] had to go back another night to be sure I was not hallucinating … that’s how bizarre it looks in Reston.”

Maggie Parker, vice president of communications for property owner Comstock Partners, said the lighting is a signature part of any Helmut Jahn-designed property. For more, Parker shared the preface of the catalogue for a 2012-13 exhibit of Jahn’s work at the Neues Museum in Berlin.

“[His] buildings possess qualities for every time of day,” reads the preface, written by museum director Angelika Nollert. “At dark, they are illuminated and are thus usually given a festive shroud. Helmut Jahn makes use of light as a building material.”

The reader who contacted Reston Now, as well as an Instagram user who posted a photo of the lighting, compared the design to something one would see in Las Vegas. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), Jahn also designed twin 37-story residential towers in Las Vegas that feature similar lighting.

Parker said that when working toward rezoning of the Reston Station property in 2009, Reston citizens “encouraged, even demanded” world-class architecture. She said those calls were echoed by Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Reston founder Bob Simon, which led to the worldwide competition for an architectural firm that resulted in Jahn’s firm being tasked with the project.

She said Jahn’s design for the building was “intended to focus on creating a strong, recognizable sign visible at high speeds.”

“Indeed, at Reston Station the signature buildings emulate the movement and speed of the adjacent trains and cars on the highway — your 70-mph experience,” Parker quoted Jahn.

So, what’s your opinion of the lighting on the 1900 Metro Plaza building?

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