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Mayor Bowser Announces Start of Conservation Work on Iconic Friendship Archway in Chinatown

Friday, June 12, 2020

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that the District will begin conservation work on the iconic Friendship Archway, located at 7th and H Streets NW in historic Chinatown, starting on Monday, June 15, 2020.

“The Friendship Archway represents the strength of our Asian American and Pacific Islander community and celebrates their contributions to the District,” said Mayor Bowser. “This project, on the heels of Asian American and Pacific Island Heritage Month, will ensure the Archway remains an iconic landmark in Chinatown for years to come.”

The multi-agency effort is led by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (CAH), working in partnership with the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (MOAPIA), the Department of General Services (DGS), the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), and the Washington Metropolitan Area Regional Transit Authority (WMATA).

“Art has the power to teach all of us,” said Heran Sereke-Brhan, Acting Director for the CAH. “We believe that in conserving the Friendship Archway’s beauty and majesty, all District residents and visitors will be able to come to a greater appreciation of the history and culture it represents.”

For the duration of the project, the curb lane of the 600 block and 700 block of H Street, NW will be closed. For the first two weeks and the last two weeks of the project, H Street NW between 6th Street, NW and 7th Street, NW will be completely closed from 9:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m., with a signed detour in place. All users of the roadway should exercise caution when traveling through the work zone.

“The Department of General Services is honored to have a contributing and collaborative role in the restoration of the historic Chinatown Friendship Archway, visited by many the world over,” said DGS Director Keith A. Anderson. “Through our Capital Construction Services Division, we will assist with the general oversight of the project and ensure that scaffolding surrounding the structure is sound so that artists can safely perform this important work.”

Designed by local architect Alfred Liu, the Friendship Archway was dedicated in 1986 to commemorate the newly-established sister cities relationship between the District of Columbia and Beijing, China. Since that time, only one restoration of the structure occurred in 2009 and the archway is now in need of repair to restore cracking, loose tiles, non-functioning light sources, peeled paint, and overall cleaning. Liu and his company will be the primary contractor for this summer’s conservation work.

“The Friendship Archway remains an enduring and unforgettable symbol of our District's ever-evolving Asian American and Pacific Islander community, and today's announcement is a testament to our DC values of embracing and cherishing such diversity,” said MOAPIA Executive Director Ben de Guzman.

Throughout the summer conservation process, the partner agencies will use the opportunity to engage with the public on the artistic techniques involved in creating the archway, as well as the history of the Chinatown neighborhood and the District’s Asian American population.

“The DDOT team is proud to support the restoration of the iconic Friendship Archway, which inspired the city’s first in-street public art installation at one of the District’s most visited intersections, 7th and H Streets NW,” said DDOT Director Jeff Marootian. “This has been a collaborative effort both within DDOT and with our partners to ensure that all users of the roadway remain safe during the restoration of the Friendship Archway.”

The conservation project is expected to be completed by October 2020.