Transcripts

Designing A New Memorial To Godfather Of Go-Go

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:09
Welcome to "Metro Connection.” I'm Rebecca Sheir and today our show is all about design. Now, design, that's one of those words that can mean a whole lot of things. It can relate to fashion.

MS. LISA KATHLEEN-GRADDY

00:00:19
There are different hoops underneath the skirts. The bell shape is not very full. The pagoda shape is very round.

SHEIR

00:00:28
It can involve urban planning.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1

00:00:31
We have a limited amount of money to spend and we don't want to spend it solving the last problem. We want to spend it solving the next problem.

SHEIR

00:00:39
And it can definitely play a big role in science and technology.

MR. VINCENT LUCIANI

00:00:43
But you can't feel it, but all the air in this room gets changed over about five times a minute.

SHEIR

00:00:48
And we're going to explore all of those design realms over the next hour. But first, let's talk about design as it refers to architecture. In May, of last year, Washington, D.C. lost one of its musical icons, a man who's affectionately been referred to as the godfather of go-go.

SHEIR

00:01:14
This here is the man, the myth, the legend himself, Mr. Chuck Brown, a Washingtonian who was the driving force behind go-go music. Go-go is a kind of sub-genre of funk, with its mish-mash of rhythm and blues and early hip hop.

SHEIR

00:01:31
The District is honoring Chuck Brown's musical legacy with a brand new memorial at Langdon Park in northeast D.C. The hope is to break ground this summer, and complete construction by fall. Marshall Moya Design is the D.C.-based firm that's designing the Chuck Brown Music Memorial. I recently visited the site with the firm's principals, Michael Marshall and Paola Moya. And Michael, it turns out, was born and raised right here in D.C., just around the corner from Langdon Park.

MR. MARSHALL MOYA

00:01:56
So this is a park that I used when I was a kid growing up and attending Langdon Elementary School, a block away. And so this is a great project for our firm to have. It was a design competition. We won the competition. We didn't get it because I grew up in the neighborhood, but still, that's a nice benefit for me personally on this project.

SHEIR

00:02:17
I noticed you're holding plans in your hand.

MOYA

00:02:19
Yes.

SHEIR

00:02:19
Can we take a look and see? Oh, wow. Can you walk us through this?

MOYA

00:02:23
Yeah. So basically we're taking over where the existing music pavilion is here now. Or at least the band shelter, I should say. And so we will have a new state-of-the-art music pavilion. So we want to line the site with cherry trees and with magnolia trees. I like to think of those as local D.C. landscaping trees. So it's going to be shaped similar to, like, a Roman amphitheater in a sense, but really, really small and intimate. It will hold 150 to 200 people.

MS. PAOLA MOYA

00:02:57
It is a space where they will bring just local artists. And at the back of the pavilion they will have images of Chuck Brown from the beginning of his career to the end. And it will also have a tower that it will display, in chronological order, the music that he played and the songs that he composed when you're going through the tower.

MOYA

00:03:17
The history of his recordings, we're going to use. So we also want it to be a learning environment for the kids here in the city when they come here to see that there is a Washingtonian who basically, with other people, but developed a genre of music that became international and known as Washington sound.

SHEIR

00:03:36
I want to hear more about the tower because you mentioned these kids who might not know who he is. So can you give us a more detailed description of what that's going to entail?

MOYA

00:03:45
Well, the tower, when you're facing the pavilion, it's located to the right side of the state. As you enter to the side and you are embraced through magnolia trees and cherry trees. And you can walk underneath the tower. And at each side of the walls, you will have, by chronological order, the list of the music that he composed and that he played. And then on top of the tower you will have an image of Chuck Brown, one of his, you know, most famous photographs that we will actually, you know, work with the photographer that took these images.

SHEIR

00:04:21
How tall is that tower?

MOYA

00:04:22
It will be about 40 feet tall, which is just a little bit taller than some of the houses here. We really want a marker in the neighborhood. We really want to make a sense of place in the neighborhood. And the tower will give us a vertical element, to see it from a distance because this is a very long park. And we're lucky, also, that we're going to add trees, again, to sort of make a sense of place, a sense of enclosure.

SHEIR

00:04:47
And I love that they're cherry trees and magnolia trees, which are, yeah, so iconic to Washington.

MOYA

00:04:51
Yes.

MOYA

00:04:52
Yes, absolutely. Chuck Brown was iconic to Washington, so why not bring the same thing to the landscaping?

SHEIR

00:04:59
That was Michael Marshall and Paola Moya of Marshall Moya Design, the local firm designing the Chuck Brown Music Memorial, which they hope will open up in Langdon Park later this year.

SHEIR

00:05:11
To see design sketches for the Chuck Brown Music Memorial and to find a link to the official Chuck Brown website, visit our website, metroconnection.org.
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