With the installation of a sample block of new streetscape elements near the corner of Wilson Blvd. and N. Oak St., residents and workers have the chance to familiarize themselves with a set of modern street furnishings that will one day be installed throughout the neighborhood.
The block includes benches, planters, a bike rack, a newsbox corral, an informational marker and litter bins. A custom, laser-cut pattern that runs throughout these elements emulates the nighttime Rosslyn skyline.
"The streetscape is like a welcome mat to the neighborhood for anyone walking or driving through," says Lucia deCordré, the Rosslyn BID's urban design director. "We want to create a distinct contemporary identity for Rosslyn in addition to encouraging pedestrian activity, connectivity and enjoyment.”
deCordré adds that, besides providing aesthetic improvements, the streetscape elements extend the benefits of current redevelopment projects and the long-term vision of Realize Rosslyn.
"This isn't just design for aesthetics' sake," she says. "This is a deliberate, functional approach toward supporting retail, walkability, and an active public realm."
Over the past several months, deCordré has worked closely with New York-based industrial designer Ignacio Ciocchini, who developed these custom elements. Ciocchini says creating a cohesive group of streetscape furnishings can have a big impact on a neighborhood.
"When you create street furnishings as a group, instead of just changing out a trash can here or there, you're changing perceptions of a neighborhood," he says. "People may not notice right away that something is different, but they slow down because the neighborhood is someplace they want to be. The Rosslyn streetscape sets a standard for the design of public spaces and helps create an identity for the BID."
Be sure to visit and use the elements of the demonstration block: You can try out the benches, enjoy the flowers, lock up your bike and check out the informational marker on Cupid's Garden and Fort Corcoran!
For details about Rosslyn's Streetscape Elements Master Plan, click here.