Washington, D.C.'s newly renovated Union Station

When it comes to having a sense of hometown pride, we consider ourselves to be realists. We love Boston, but we don't let that cloud our judgement. We know when another city has got it better than us. In the category of buildings of mass transit, for instance, we cannot deny that Washington D.C. has us beat fair and square.

In Boston, we count South Station as our main hub for subways and commuter trains and the Acela Express. It's a pretty building, at least from the outside, and it has a lot of history, but it's also small, crowded, and a little worn in.

The inside of South Station in Boston. Image via Wikipedia

Down in D.C., on the other hand, they've got the newly renovated Union Station. It's always been a notable building, designed in 1907 by famous architect Daniel Turnham (who was also behind structures like the Flatiron Building in New York, and many of the skyscrapers in Chicago). But in 2011 when an earthquake struck the Capitol region, causing damage to the structure, the city took the change to restore the Beaux-Arts building to its original beauty.

After four years of remodeling work, the shiny new station was revealed in May of this year. Let's take a look, then start a petition to the city of Boston to give ol' South Station a facelift, shall we?

To say the renovation was meticulous is a bit of an understatement. That's not just any gold paint up on the coffered ceiling. More that 120,000 sheets of real gold leaf were used during the restoration process.

And all 120,000 of them were hand-applied by specialists from The Gilder's Studio, based in Olney, Maryland.

A separate firm, Hayles and Howe, was hired to restore the moldings themselves.

The restoration was, obviously, more than just hand-applied gold leaf and some plaster. The station was restored to its original architectural plan, which required the removal of a number of additions and changes to the space made since the 1940s.

Oh, and the entire space was reinforced to precent future earthquake damage.

Who's going to sign our petition?

All images by Colin Winterbottom, via Architectural Digest

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