Steel and glass canopy structure covering the entrance to a subway station.

WMATA Dupont Circle Subway Canopy Project

Our Client’s Challenge

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) is investing $14.4 billion in its capital improvement program to enhance system safety, dependability, and the regional economy.

Metro’s Comprehensive Escalator Canopies Program involves the construction of canopies to cover open-air escalator wellway entrances to the subway system, ensure conformance with current building codes, shield Metro riders from the elements, and increase the service life of the stations’ escalators. The escalator canopies’ design also provides residents and visitors to the nation’s capital with a distinct indication of Metrorail system entrances.

Our Solution

Gannett Fleming was the prime consultant for several installed canopies during Phase 3, which included the stainless steel and glass canopy covering the escalators at the Dupont Circle Metro Station’s north entrance in Washington, D.C. The Red Line station features the system’s sixth-longest escalators, which are 190 feet long and rise 95 vertical feet from the station mezzanine to street level.

The design team effectively solved the complex problem of designing a canopy to span a circular wellway opening 70 feet in diameter at the station entry by adapting the torus form of the prototypical canopy design to Dupont Circle’s unique geometry. The canopy structure features a ring girder above the parapet wall with radially aligned struts. The roof frame perimeter cuts into an elliptical profile, which provides coverage at the front escalator opening and maintains the building code-mandated weather protection of the wellway escalators. Thirteen prefabricated steel frame modules join bolted connections, supported by seven base brackets that rest on the parapet wall to form the canopy structure. More than 200 individually framed custom glass panels comprise a 97-foot-long by 82-foot-wide elliptical superstructure. Integrating multiple light fixtures into the canopy creates ambient lighting, accentuating the structure and illuminating the renowned Walt Whitman inscription on the parapet wall below.

The canopy design is both functional, providing enhanced protection of the passengers and stations from the elements, and beautiful, reflecting the iconic architecture of the Metro stations themselves with compound curves, forming a vaulted elliptical shape with crisscrossing stainless-steel elements suggestive of Metro’s renowned coffered vaulted ceilings. While the escalators and Metro riders need to be protected from the weather, the canopy’s design creates a bright, enjoyable passenger experience.

Key Features

  • New canopy at the Dupont Circle Metro Station’s north entrance.
  • 200 individually framed custom glass panels.
  • 97-foot-long by 82-foot-wide elliptical superstructure.


  • New canopy shields Metro riders from rain, ice, and snow.
  • Adds resiliency to the Metro system escalators and elevators.
  • Ensures conformance with current building codes.

Awards & Recognition

  • American Council of Engineering Companies of Metropolitan Washington, 2023, Engineering Excellence Merit Award


Washington Metro Area Transit Authority


Washington, D.C.


Design and Engineering Services During Construction

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