Architect of the Capitol addresses buildings’ stone damage

Viewed from a distance, the buildings of Capitol Hill are inspiring and impressive, but as with an impressionist painting, it’s best to focus on the subject and not on the details. Up close, the buildings are more depressing than impressing, as weather, age and deferred maintenance are destroying many of the finer details of these awe-inspiring stone edifices.

Stone preservation across Capitol Hill is a top priority for the Architect of the Capitol as nearly every building is enveloped in stone and all have problems. To address this stone pandemic across the Capitol campus takes a team of historic preservationists, structural engineers and stonemasons, among others. The men and women of AOC are in a race against time as the infrastructure rapidly crumbles and deferred maintenance projects accumulate.

Meanwhile, the potential loss of historic artwork and architectural features and significant safety threats from falling stone are compounded. Instances of cracking and spalling stone grow more serious and more costly to repair. The temporary fixes that the AOC undertakes to prevent catastrophic failures are not enough to prevent conditions from worsening.

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