The dome of the great hall, with a faux-painted, gilded mural by Hildreth Meiere.

Preserving History

The National Academy of Sciences is restored

The stately, neoclassical National Academy of Sciences building in DC has been revitalized. Designed in 1922 by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, it was added onto in 1965 and 1970 but had remained untouched since.

Tapped to renovate this landmark, Quinn Evans Architects restored its historic envelope, overhauled outdated mechanical systems and implemented sustainable technologies. “We reconfigured it to create more public spaces,” says project manager Thomas Jester. “We made courtyards into atriums and restored gallery space for the Academy’s art collection.”

In the great hall (left), decades of dirt and smoke  were removed from the dome, which was originally faux-painted and gilded in the 1920s by muralist Hildreth Meiere. LED lights now illuminate the space and wood surfaces have been rejuvenated.

The restoration received an award of excellence from the AIA’s Northern Virginia chapter and a 2013 District of Columbia award for Excellence in Historic Preservation. 

RENOVATION ARCHITECTURE: Larry Barr, AIA, principal in charge; Thomas Jester, AIA, FAPT, LEED AP, project manager, Quinn Evans Architects, Washington, DC. CONSERVATION: The Gilders’ Studio, Inc., Olney, Maryland & F.C. Vogt Company, Richmond, Virginia. CONTRACTORS: Gilbane Inc., Washington, DC & The Christman Company, Reston, Virginia. PHOTOGRAPHY: Maxwell MacKenzie.