At the end of July the new metro station opened in Reston so that it is now possible to catch a train at 'Wiehle - Reston East' into the centre of Washington - previously it was a 30 minute bus ride to the metro station at West Falls Church. As can be seen from the rather poor pic, above, the station is in the middle of the main road and accessed by pedestrian bridges from either side.
Apparently on the day that the new station opened, 25,000 people turned up (it has been promised for a long time..). But today it was much quieter.
We changed lines at Metro Center and got off at Chinatown/Gallery Place, by the rather colourful 'Friendship Gate' into the small historic Chinatown area. Here there are a number of Chinese and Asian restaurants and most of the businesses have their names and signs in both English and Chinese. Even the road signs are in both languages..
Having walked through Chinatown we arrived at the 'National Building Museum'. It was quite an imposing building in itself, modelled on an Italian Renaissance building but actually built in the 1880's to house the Office of Pensions (after the Civil War) and major public gatherings.
Inside it was clear that it would be a great place to hold large gatherings, the Great Hall lived up to its name..
The eight Corinthian columns in this huge hall are 75ft tall and there are galleries right around on each level. In some areas it did have the look of a rather well decorated Victorian prison. Some areas also reminded me of those black and white Max Escher drawings with arches and impossible stairs.
At one end of the hall there was a summer installation - 'The Big Maze' made entirely of plywood..
If you look closely you might recognise someone in the maze..
Here is a clue.. No, unfortunately the maze is not covered by Google Maps.
We enjoyed the maze, exploring the galleries and the various exhibitions including 'House and Home' - American home and household design through the centuries; 'Designing for Disaster' - covering building techniques for flood prevention and for safety from hurricanes and earthquakes and an exhibition of designs and maquettes of some of Washington's most famous monuments.