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Design

Keep Metro Bleak!

The raw concrete vaults of Washington, D.C.’s subway system are landmarks of Brutalist design. That hasn’t stopped transit officials from messing with them.  
A whiter shade of gray: Painting Metro's iconic vaulted ceiling is asking for trouble, say the system's original designers.
A whiter shade of gray: Painting Metro's iconic vaulted ceiling is asking for trouble, say the system's original designers. Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Bill Gallagher’s first job out of college was designing Metro stations.

He started work the month that Washington, D.C.’s Metrorail opened in 1976. Beyond the system’s five inaugural stations downtown, everything else was either under construction or on the boards in the offices of Metro’s late architect, Harry Weese, Gallagher’s first boss.