Black Lives Matter Plaza

JMT designed the permanent installation of the Black Lives Matter mural, Washington DC's newest landmark.


Washington, DC


District Department of Transportation

The Black Lives Matter mural in Washington, DC originated in June 2020 as a response to incidents of police brutality and as a call for social justice. The mural, consisting of 48-foot-tall, all-capital letters insisting that BLACK LIVES MATTER and the flag of the District of Columbia, was painted on the street surface of a two-block section of 16th Street NW directly north of Lafayette Park and the White House.
To allow the public to experience the impact of the mural, 16th Street NW between H Street and K Street was closed to vehicular traffic, and the area was renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. From its conception, the plaza was popular and became a gathering space and landmark for those wishing to experience the impact of the mural.
In October 2020, Mayor Bowser and the DC City Council announced the plaza would become a permanent installation. Using an existing contract, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) engaged JMT to provide surveying, engineering, and landscape architecture services for the design of this high-profile project.
Working with DDOT and Mayor’s office liaisons, JMT developed a unique design that incorporated ‘curbless’ street elements, allowing more of the street area to be safely dedicated to pedestrians while re-introducing vehicular traffic. The Black Lives Matter graphic was re-established within the existing roadway with durable materials while avoiding complete roadway reconstruction and minimizing the construction schedule.
Black Lives Matter Plaza is new but already an iconic Washington, DC landmark.