United States Capitol
Historic Dome Restoration
AIA Virginia Honor Award for Excellence in Preservation, AIA|DC Design Award for Excellence in Historic Resources & Preservation, AIA New England Regional Council Design Award, Engineering News-Record MidAtlantic Award of Merit
A symbol of American democracy, the United States Capitol Dome was constructed more than 150 years ago and has become one of the most recognizable architectural landmarks in the world. Designed by then Architect of the Capitol Thomas U. Walter in the 1850s to accommodate the newly expanded Capitol building, the Dome was constructed during the Civil War, with construction proceeding continuously despite there being scarcely a dozen people available to work. Each ornamental element was crafted by hand, with as many as 200 richly detailed individual pieces in just a single column capital.
In the first comprehensive restoration in more than half a century, the Dome underwent a multi-year, ambitious project to repair thousands of cracks, improve water-tightness, restore or replace structural and decorative elements, remove layers of peeling paint, and protect the Dome from corrosion and deterioration. Beginning in the 1990s with an award-winning water penetration study, the final restoration began in 2014 and was completed before the 2017 Presidential Inauguration.
Hoffmann Architects + Engineers served as Architect-of-Record for this historic project, working closely with the Architect of the Capitol to develop a master plan for the restoration of all systems, spaces, and finishes from the floor of the Rotunda to the Statue of Freedom. Pilot tests and field studies helped to refine the restoration strategy and provide the most accurate cost estimates possible. The Dome restoration project stayed within the congressionally authorized budget.