Chevy Chase Center : Commissioned Projects by Richard Deutsch

To develop the concept for the plazas outside of Washington D.C., the artist began by looking into local history and exploring the neighborhoods. He was immediately taken with the many stately old trees and gracious homes with their generous open spaces. These streetscapes were part of an ambitious and thoughtful long-range vision for Chevy Chase at the turn of the 19th century.

At the heart of the Chevy Chase Center is Johnston Park. At 9,000 square feet, the site is long and narrow fronting busy Wisconsin Avenue. Before this plaza, Chevy Chase had no designated city center, and the developers and community members earmarked this site to be just that.

Deutsch’s intention was to create a plaza space that engages the public and serves as a landmark of community pride. The plaza’s central stone sculptures, Against The Day, create an inner dialogue and together symbolize three human characteristics. The large white granite circular form, with a keyhole or window, intends to draw viewers in from the street. This sculptural element symbolizes curiosity. A contrasting form in this composition is a floating red granite curve abstractly referencing the human heart. This element symbolizes motivation, which is at the core of human desire. The third form punctuating the plaza is a large black granite monolith. This element symbolizes strength and wisdom. A dramatic line of water, which speaks of transformation, connects the three granite forms and brings movement and energy to the plaza.

An 84’ curved stone wall architecturally defines the plaza’s edge. Along this wall are five large white granite benches in conversation with one another in the shade of a large white oak tree. These benches face a 45’ sculptural water feature comprised of four forms of granite and bronze. When walking up the stairs from Wisconsin Boulevard, one can look through the sculptural eye with a view to the past and to the future.

Farr Park is a more intimate plaza within center. Twigs, pods, seeds and leaves from the neighborhood’s 130-year old trees provide inspiration for Pod, the park’s sculpture of marble and water.

Architects: William K.Hellmuth, AIA, senior principal & Suzette Goldstein, AICP, Hellmuth, Obata+Kassabaum, P.C.
Landscape Architect: Don Hoover, Principal, Oculus Landscape Architecture.
Art adviser: Francoise Yohalem, Bethesda, Maryland.
Commissioned by the Chevy Chase Land Company.

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