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This Local Artist Transforms DC Metro Stations Into Beautiful Nature Scenes

Allison Friedel started her "Derailed" project while she was bored on, you guessed it, a train.

This Local Artist Transforms DC Metro Stations Into Beautiful Nature Scenes
Metro Center Station with a photoshopped image of the Tidal Basin, by Allison Friedel.

If you’ve never seen the beauty in DC Metro stations, Allison Friedel might be able to change that. Since 2017, she’s blended captivating photos of her travels in the US and abroad with otherwise mundane photos of Metro stations and train cars.

Friedel, a 24-year-old Catholic University grad with a master’s in architecture, has had an appreciation for Metro’s brutalist architecture since she arrived in 2012 from Ossining, New York. The project started out of boredom on a train, Friedel says. She was on an Amtrak train to New York, and when it stopped at New Carrollton she took a photo of one of the nearby Metro cars. With a few hours to kill, she opened Photoshop and made the first image in the “Derailed” series, which she first posted on Instagram. Within a year, friends were requesting prints so they could hang Friedel’s art in their apartments.

“The architecture and the aesthetic of the Metro is so unique to DC,” says Friedel, now an architectural intern at EYP Architecture and Engineering. “It’s just not something you see in every city, this grand, brutalist architecture that’s so far underground. This photo series is meant to be an appreciation of that.”

The scenes are as far-reaching as Japan and as close to home as the Capitol. Friedel’s image “Calella” is currently on display at the District Architecture Center through June 7. Scroll through some of our favorite pieces from the collection below.

Derailed Allison Friedel
Metro Center Station and Corneglia, Cinque Terre, Italy
Derailed Allison Friedel
Metro Center Station and Bear Mountain, New York
Derailed Allison Friedel
Van Ness Station and Nikko, Japan
Derailed Allison Friedel
A blue line train headed to Crystal City and Osaka, Japan
Derailed Allison Friedel
Dupont Circle Station and Big Sur, California
Derailed Allison Friedel
Dupont Circle Station and Aruba
Derailed Allison Friedel
Dupont Circle Station and Calella Beach, Barcelona, Spain
Derailed Allison Friedel
New Carrollton Station and Lake Como, Italy

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Assistant Editor

Elliot joined Washingtonian in January 2018. An alum of Villanova University, he grew up in the Philadelphia area before earning a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University. His work has also appeared in the Washington Post, TheAtlantic.com, and DCist.com, among others. He lives in Bloomingdale.