For Immediate Release
September 21, 2009
Media Contact: Rachel Dickerson, DCCAH, 202-724-5613
Dory Peters, OAPIA, 202-727-3120
Restoration of Historic Friendship Arch in Chinatown Unveiled
Washington, DC – Today, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, along with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) Director Gloria Nauden, and Office of Asian & Pacific Islander Affairs (OAPIA) Director Julie Koo unveiled the newly-restored Friendship Arch in Chinatown with a ribbon cutting.
“The District is excited to unveil the results of the restoration project on such an iconic symbol for the city,” said Mayor Fenty. “The necessary work ensures the Friendship Arch, affectionately known as the “Chinatown Arch” will be in top repair to be enjoyed by residents and visitors for years to come.”
As part of the District’s ongoing efforts to improve the streets and advance arts in the city, DCCAH oversaw major restoration to the 23 year-old structure. The Arch was built in 1986 to celebrate DC’s friendship with Beijing The original designer and architects of the arch, Alfred Liu and AEPA Architects and Engineers, P.C., provided the much needed facelift.
"This Arch has been restored to remind us of the bridge to our friendships,” DCAH Director Nauden said. “It is a work of art sewn into the cultural infrastructure of Chinatown to maintain the creative capital of this area."
The Chinatown archway is the largest span of Ming Ching Dynasty style archway in the world, standing about 60 feet high.
Restoration work on the arch included:
- cleaning and repainting all areas,
- replacing the center panel with marble,
- repairing critically worn out gold coating,
- repairing and replacing worn out decorations,
- replacing rotten wood façade encasing the duo gongs and animal heads,
- replacing missing roof tiles and worn-out roof tiles,
- removing and replacing existing broken expansion joint fillers,
- removing existing steel band around column base pedestal, and
- reinstalling lighting as originally designed.
"We are excited to see the restoration of the Chinatown Archway, which will further promote the cultural aspect of Chinatown,” OAPIA Director Koo said. “The Chinese American community of DC is proud of this archway that continues to serve as a symbol of friendship between China and the United States."
DCCAH coordinated efforts with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to provide traffic control and scaffolding for the eight-week long restoration project.
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