Constitution Hall Lobby Special Architectural Details

Written by: Greta Wilhelm, Assistant Project Manager, The Christman Company
March 16, 2016

The Constitution Hall Lobby Restoration is well underway and as the finishes are installed the final aesthetics of the space are beginning to be revealed.  The project was sequenced based on five “zones” of the lobby and work began at the northeast corner of the lobby that faces D Street.  Walking through the lobby almost every step in the process can be seen from the areas that are nearing completion to the last sections to be primed and painted. 

The most noticeable transformation is when the patched ceilings are primed. The photos in the slideshow below show the ceiling before and after the primer is applied, as well as the steps in the decorative paint process.  After the priming is complete and cracks or rough areas that were missed are touched up, the flat paint colors are applied to the acoustical plaster panels and then the trim.  Next the rosette border is painted in a two-tone color and finally the angel medallions are painted.   After the ceiling paint is completed a glaze will be applied to both the medallions and the rosette border.  This glaze will further reveal the detail of the decorative plaster.  There are several locations where the rosette border was removed due to water damage.  A mold was made from the border at another location after the paint was stripped and used to cast a new section of the border that was fit in place and the edges blended to match the existing.


Paint & Rosette Border

Paint & Rosette Border

View Photo

Rosette Border Paint – Step 1

Rosette Border Paint – Step 1

View Photo

Rosette Border Paint – Step 2

Rosette Border Paint – Step 2

View Photo

Making Mold of the Rosettes

Making Mold of the Rosettes

View Photo

Where the newly molded rosettes will be placed

Where the newly molded rosettes will be placed

View Photo

Newly created rosettes

Newly created rosettes

View Photo

Sandro Camargo, a craftsman with Hayles & Howe, working on the Rosettes

Sandro Camargo, a craftsman with Hayles & Howe, working on the Rosettes

View Photo

Glazing mock-up at medallion

Glazing mock-up at medallion

View Photo

Glazing mock-ups at Rosette Border

Glazing mock-ups at Rosette Border

View Photo

Venetian Plaster Drying

Venetian Plaster Drying

View Photo

Venetian Plaster

Venetian Plaster

View Photo

Stripped copper clad wood windows in the restoration shop

Stripped copper clad wood windows in the restoration shop

View Photo

Restored windows Reinstalled

Restored windows Reinstalled

View Photo

Application of the Venetian Plaster to the lobby walls began this past week.  Although it is not painted yet, it is beginning to transform the space.  The plaster is a multi-step process including three coats of plaster and two coats of wax, which are then polished smooth.  It is important that this be done continuously across a complete wall, so that there are not any visible seams.

Also in progress is the reinstallation of the lobby windows that had been off-site for restoration for six weeks.  As soon as the windows started going back in, the corners of the lobby were immediately filled with natural light.  The windows are copper clad wood that were stripped and restored by the Craftsmen Group.  We made a visit to the Craftsmen Groups shop to see the restoration in progress and the windows were truly striking when the bare copper was exposed.  The windows have been repainted and the hardware polished.  They will also receive new sheer curtains and drapes.

These are just a few examples of the many architectural features that are being repaired or installed as a part of this project.  The space is changing on a daily basis and we are very excited to see all of the details come together.   Be sure to visit the blog website to see a slideshow off all of these architectural features. Also visit http://www.dar.org/lobbyrestoration to see more photos of the Constitution Hall lobby restoration project.  Learn more about how you can support this project at www.dar.org/guardiantrust.

 

 

Connect with DAR

Stay Up-to-Date

Subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Search, Subscribe, & Send us a comment

Get Involved
 

Historic Preservation,
Education, Patriotism

Through restoring historic properties, funding scholarships and supporting our troops, DAR makes a difference in local communities.