The iconic Friendship Archway at the intersection of H and 7th streets NW in Chinatown will be restored with new ceramic tiles, wood, and paint over the next year. The District recently approved a $424,725 contract for the project with Alfred Liu, the local architect behind the colorful structure, and his firm AEPA Architects Engineers. The archway was built in 1986 under former Mayor Marion Barry and was last renovated in 2009, according to the contract.
The D.C. Commission on Arts and the Humanities will oversee the project, which must be completed by September 30, 2020. The marble signs and concrete posts on the archway, including its “lotus and cantilever design elements,” will be cleaned and reinforced. This structure boasts 7,000 tiles and 272 painted dragons evoking the Ming and Qing dynasties.
“The Contractor shall work with the DC Department of Transportation and will be responsible for the provision of scaffolding and protection of pedestrian and vehicular traffic,” the document says. The archway was constructed after Barry and other District officials visited Beijing for an economic development trip in 1984, according to Greater Greater Washington. It echoes similar traditional arches in Chinatowns across the U.S.