Conservation Solutions, Inc: Art + Architecture + Artifacts

Assessment and Treatment Plans for Bronze Clad Doors at the Corcoran Gallery

Site
Corcoran School, Washington, District of Columbia
Client
Corcoran Gallery of Art

The Corcoran Gallery was the first art gallery in Washington DC. It was Located in the building that now houses the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute before moving to the white marble building by Ernest Flagg on 17th St NW, opposite the White House elipse. Flagg was one of the graduates of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris who built American buildings under the influence of the school. This style dictated the development of the Federal Triangle under the McMillan Commission Plan and this building fits its context perfectly.

The building has major entrances on 17th St and New York Avenue. Each has monumental classical bronze doors that are built in an unusual hybrid way. The exteriors of the massive doors are faced in cast and fabricated bronze. However, the doors are actually of wood, with the metal facing on the exterior only.  The wood structures hold the hinges and hardware and are the interior faces are finished in oak.

These doors has not resisted a century of wear without suffering losses and damages. The owner asked CSI to assess first the 17th St set and then also the New York Avenue doors to develop restoration plans. After study and analysis, including structural engineering reviews, the causes of the damage were determined and a restoration plan developed to address them for each set of doors. Phases and budgets were developed and the owner is currently raising funds to implement the recommendations.

Images

Architect's original drawing for 17th St Doors