ACEC/MW honors M Street ‘Rain’ underpass for Engineering Excellence
M.C. Dean was awarded a 2018-2019 Engineering Excellence Honor Award by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Metropolitan Washington (ACEC/MW) for its work on the M Street underpass ‘Rain’ installation. Each year, ACEC/MW recognizes projects that demonstrate a high degree of innovation, technical complexity, engineering value, and social, economic, and environmental benefits.
“This project is an example of our team’s ingenuity, applying M.C. Dean’s design and modular capabilities to engineer a solution that met strict historical preservation constraints,” said Mike Keatley, M.C. Dean’s senior vice president of Electrical Systems. “During the design-build process, the team collaborated with our client, partners, and stakeholders to preserve the historic integrity, maintain structure stability, and address physical installation restrictions.”
Prior to the installation of ‘Rain,’ pedestrians and bicyclists deterred by poorly maintained underpass conditions avoided the area, thus dividing the NoMa neighborhood, a rapidly developing area of Washington, D.C., that takes its name from its location North of Massachusetts Avenue NE. Without a reliable transportation corridor, community and economic development was hindered and public safety was at risk. The NoMa Parks Foundation envisioned the transformation of the M Street underpass into a dynamic and beautiful public attraction and selected M.C. Dean for the electrical design, modular fabrication, LED programming, and installation of the project aligned with our core principles:
Sustainability: Our design features 4,000 sustainable LED lights attached to polycarbonate tubes hung along the underpass. The LEDs provide an eco-friendly alternative to the previous high pressure sodium (HPS) lighting, which has a shorter lifespan, lower color rendering index, and requires more frequent maintenance.
Functionality: We executed the project using prefabrication and modular design and delivery to streamline integration for the 7,500 square-foot installations. The LED lights shift as vehicles and pedestrians move through space and varies in intensity to simulate rainfall, while programmable lighting patterns fluctuate according to the time of day and traffic levels.
Beauty: Our installation of ‘Rain’ transformed the M Street underpass into an artistic, welcoming, and safe passageway, encouraging community engagement and high levels of public traffic and economic activity. Since project completion, passersby have embraced the immersive art experience, stopping to admire and photograph the piece on their way to work and play.
About the NoMa Parks Foundation
The NoMa Parks Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed in 2012 to establish welcoming, sustainable, beautiful spaces where people can play, refresh, and connect in NoMa, now and in the future. Learn more at NoMaParks.org.
About M.C. Dean
M.C. Dean is Building Intelligence®. We design, build, operate, and maintain cyber-physical solutions for the nation’s most recognizable mission critical facilities, secure environments, complex infrastructure, and global enterprises. The company’s capabilities include electrical, electronic security, telecommunications, life safety, automation and controls, audio visual, and IT systems. M.C. Dean is headquartered in Tysons, Virginia, and employs more than 5,200 professionals who engineer and deploy automated, secure, and resilient power and technology systems; and deliver the management platforms essential for long-term system sustainability.
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