Penrose Square Ribbon Cutting


Arlington County celebrated the completion of Phase I of Penrose Square, located at 2503 Columbia Pike. The County’s newest square is 17,000 square feet and includes features that incorporate elements of Arlington’s vision of sustainability:

  • “Echo,” two-piece sculpture by Richard Deutsch
  • A tree-covered upper terrace with movable tables and chairs
  • An inner plaza with a water feature
  • Small gardens interspersed in the plaza, designed to provide seasonal colors
  • Sustainable USE OF WATER:Bio-filtration system underneath the tree terrace to filter storm water runoff and enhance tree root growth
  • Water recirculation system that allows the water feature to conserve the use of water at the site

The ribbon cutting ceremony was held in front of the square’s public art piece, Echo, a two piece sculpture by Richard Deutsch. As a member of Penrose Square’s landscape design team, Richard Deutsch created the interactive sculpture inspired by the Three Sisters Radio Towers, formerly located near Columbia Pike and Courthouse Road.

Built in 1913 by the Navy as cutting-edge technology, the towers broadcast the first trans-Atlantic radio signal in 1915, connecting Arlington with the Eiffel Tower. They also introduced regular broadcasts of time signals — important navigational aids for ships at sea. When National Airport opened in 1941 the towers posed an aviation hazard and were taken down.

Echo provides a modern interpretation of Arlington’s significant contribution to the history of communication. The concave elliptical parabolas carved into each monolith reflect and project sound, allowing words spoken into one stone to be heard by listeners at the other. California-based artist Deutsch designs sculpture and environments using stone, water, bronze, and stainless steel. Like Echo, much of his work is marked by an understanding of space and environment and an attention to social context and history.