Arlington County will be holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony this afternoon for the new park at Penrose Square.
The ceremony for the 17,000 square feet park, located at 2503 Columbia Pike, will be kick off at 4:00 today. The park features a tree-covered upper terrace with movable tables and chairs, an inner plaza with a water feature, small gardens, a sustainable storm water runoff bio-filtration and re-circulation system, and “Echo,” a large two-piece sculpture by Richard Deutsch (more information, below).
The park was designed by the prominent local design firm Oculus. A second phase of the project will include “a transit Super Stop in front of the square along Columbia Pike to support the current Pike Ride buses as well as future generations of transit.”
“With the completion of this first phase of the Penrose Square project, we are really beginning to feel and see the transformation of Columbia Pike,” Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. “A visionary group of residents came together to create this vibrant, public square that will serve as a welcoming place, where neighbors can come together to socialize, dine, relax and have fun.”
In a press release, county officials described in inspiration for the “Echo” sculpture.
As a member of Penrose Square’s landscape design team, Richard Deutsch created the interactive sculpture inspired by the Three Sisters Radio Towers, formerly located near Columbia Pike and Courthouse Road.
Built in 1913 by the Navy as cutting-edge technology, the towers broadcast the first trans-Atlantic radio signal in 1915, connecting Arlington with the Eiffel Tower. They also introduced regular broadcasts of time signals — important navigational aids for ships at sea. When National Airport opened in 1941 the towers posed an aviation hazard and were taken down.
Echo provides a modern interpretation of Arlington’s significant contribution to the history of communication. The concave elliptical parabolas carved into each monolith reflect and project sound, allowing words spoken into one stone to be heard by listeners at the other. California-based artist Deutsch designs sculpture and environments using stone, water, bronze, and stainless steel. Like Echo, much of his work is marked by an understanding of space and environment and an attention to social context and history.