Reconstruction Awards: The Renwick Gallery of The Smithsonian American Art Museum

The renovation restored two long-concealed vaulted ceilings in the second-floor galleries and recreated the original 19th-century window configuration.

November 16, 2016 |

Two long-concealed vaulted ceilings in the second-floor galleries were restored. The project had to obtain with numerous regulatory approvals. Courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The Renwick Gallery (1859) was designed by architect James Renwick, Jr., as the original Corcoran Gallery of Art. The National Historic Landmark is on the National Register of Historic Places and sits in the Lafayette Square Historic District. The Building Team, led by Westlake Reed Leskosky (lead architect) and Consigli Construction Co. (GC/CM), had to surmount numerous hurdles to gain approvals from the National Capital Planning Commission, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the District of Columbia Historic Preservation Office, and even the Secret Service.

The renovation restored two long-concealed vaulted ceilings in the second-floor galleries and recreated the original 19th-century window configuration. 

The most difficult task involved the installation of an innovative rolling aluminum frame roof system. The retractable roof (from manufacturer HAKI) gave the team relatively efficient access to the cramped attic so that a new mechanical level could be constructed in that space. The new roof further protected the irreplaceable historic ceilings from the weather. The new mechanical system will keep the Renwick at the prescribed temperature and relative humidity to preserve the gallery’s artwork.

Consigli Construction laser scanned the structure to create a 3D BIM model that informed the rebuild of the attic and structural upgrades in the confined roof structure. The highly detailed model enabled the team to work within the building’s own structural system to add structural steel in the attic above the second-floor galleries, thus allowing for the installation of a robust art environment.

 

PROJECT SUMMARY 

 

Bronze Award Winner | Washington, D.C.

Building Team: Westlake Reed Leskosky (submitting firm, lead architect, MEP, sustainable design, lighting/technology, historic preservation); Consigli Construction Co. (submitting firm, GC/CM); The Smithsonian Institution (owner); Woods Peacock Engineering Consultants (SE); Wiles Mensch Corp. (CE); ATS Studios (historic restoration); Applied Environmental (hazmat); GHD/Protection Engineering Group (FP); MAS Building and Bridge (structural steel erector); Welsh and Rushe (mechanical contractor).

Details: 46,598 gsf, 34,000 nsf. Construction cost: $30 million. Construction time: January 2014 to November 2015. Delivery method: Design-bid-build.

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