Conservation Solutions, Inc: Art + Architecture + Artifacts

Interior Finishes Protection Study - US Capitol

Site
US Capitol, Washington, District of Columbia

In 2010 Conservation Solutions, Inc. (CSI) worked with HGA Architects for the Architect of the Capitol to conduct a feasibility study of the upgrading of infrastructure of the US Capitol building in Washington DC.

CSI was the preservation consultant on a large multidisciplinary team of building professionals tasked with conceptualizing and designing a full plumbing upgrade for the building. The US Capitol is one of the most historically well-documented buildings in the country, but its age and constant high use have by necessity forced its internal systems to grow in an accretive manner that does not lend itself to comprehensive recordation. Aside from its obvious iconic significance and history, the building houses artwork, artifacts and highly decorative interior finishes that are all considered sacrosanct. The building itself is an artifact, but a highly used one that needs to meet symbolic, esthetic as well as practical demands.

The feasibility study consisted of night-time surveys of every square inch of the building to document interior finishes, artwork, statuary, and architectural features in order to establish a hierarchy of internal spaces. This data was then cross-referenced with the location of interior systems to determine strategies for completing the necessary work while protecting and maintaining the fabric of the building. Once the data was gathered and collated, the team conducted a series of brain-storming meetings that resulted in an illustrated feasibility report with recommendations and schematic budget estimates for use by AOC staff in their preliminary planning and discussions for projected work on the Capitol.