A close-up of the refurbished lay light in Washington's DAR Library.
The DAR Library.

Encore: Glass Ceiling

Many DC-area residents will recall DAR Constitution Hall, the site of countless high-school graduation ceremonies. But the Daughters of the American Revolution headquarters on 17th Street actually comprises three landmark buildings. The oldest, Memorial Continental Hall, was designed in the Beaux-Arts Classical Revival style by architect Edward Pearce Casey in 1905. Recently, it underwent a facelift when Quinn Evans Architects restored the vast lay light 50 feet above the DAR Library. Lit from above by a skylight, the leaded-glass structure had sustained cracks, stains and warping over the years. Quinn Evans removed its 25 panels—each measuring eight-by-nine feet—and collaborated with stained- and leaded-glass conservator Femenella & Associates on the job, which entailed preserving 90 percent of the original glass; replicating the slender bars of milled lead, called cames, that hold the decorative glass panes together; and creating stronger structural support. Today, this rejuvenated glass ceiling can be admired in its original splendor above a space full of natural light.

Restoration Architecture: Quinn Evans Architects, Washington, DC. Contractor: The Christman Company, Arlington, Virginia.