Issues & AdvocacyFederal
Capitol Dome to Undergo Complete Renovation
By Shervan Sebastian, Manager, Federal Relations
The U.S. Capitol’s dome has stood as one of the most recognizable symbols of American democracy in the nations’ capital since its construction began in 1855.
After falling into disrepair and suffering visible corrosion, it is finally receiving much needed renovations.
Designed by Philadelphia architect Thomas Ustick Walter, one of the founders and second president of the AIA, the dome houses iconic American treasures such as the Statue of Freedom and The Apotheosis of Washington by Constantio Brumidi.
For the first time since 1959-60, the U.S. Capitol dome will undergo a complete restoration to repair nearly 1,300 cracks and structural defects in the cast-iron structure. This $59.6 million project will begin in November and take approximately two years to complete.
The AIA has strongly advocated to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in favor of the repair project, arguing that if needed maintenance is continuously pushed into the future, the cost of repairs will increase exponentially.
According to Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers, FAIA, "For the next two years, the Capitol dome may not look great aesthetically, but please know that when the scaffold[ing] is removed, the dome will be even more splendid than before. As stewards of the Capitol for the Congress and the American people, we must conduct this critical work to save the Dome.”
In a statement issued Wednesday, October 22, AIA President Mickey Jacob, FAIA, said: “Even in an age of government shutdowns and Congressional gridlock, the Dome still represents the best that democracy has to offer. . . . We are gratified by this announcement, and fully support a focus of resources on the many other government structures also in need of repair and maintenance.”
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