Arts Desk

Chuck Brown Memorial Design Unveiled

The District's planned Chuck Brown memorial just got an upgrade.

This morning at the Wilson Building, Mayor Vince Gray signed into legislation plans to turn a portion of Ward 5's Langdon Park into Chuck Brown Park and finalized a memorial in honor of the late Godfather of Go-Go. But the renderings released today are dramatically different from the images we saw back in August. The latest plans for Chuck Brown Park turn the site into an outdoor concert destination: "Reminiscent of Roman structures," the proposal says, "the venue will take the shape of an amphitheater with a semi-circular theatre space defined by rows of magnolia and cherry blossom trees." The amphitheater, called the Chuck Brown Music Pavilion, is designed for a capacity of more than 900 seated visitors.

The new memorial design, developed by Cleveland Park design firm Marshall Moya, was submitted to the city last fall, according to principal architect Michael Marshall. (Marshall's firm also oversaw the renovation of the Howard Theatre's interior.) He says he's happy to help the city pay tribute to the Godfather of Go-Go, but this project means a lot to him personally, too: He used to play in Langdon Park. Marshall says he spent part of his childhood in the neighborhood and attended Langdon Elementary in the 1960s.

Also: On the outside of the Chuck Brown Music Pavilion, Marshall Moya has sketched up a design for an arc of photos that curve around the amphitheater's exterior. One of those photos, a portrait of Brown, was shot by City Paper staff photographer Darrow Montgomery. It's not yet clear whether the image will remain in the final design; Marshall and Montgomery are still discussing the idea.

Gray introduced the legislation, the Chuck Brown Park Designation Act of 2012, to the D.C. Council in June. WJLA reports the amphitheater is expected to open this summer. Sounds like a tall order.

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