Stewards of the iconic buildings and grounds of Capitol Hill since 1793.


This painting by Allyn Cox depicts the cornerstone laying ceremony and is currently on display in the House Wing of the U.S. Capitol Building.
The cornerstone was laid on Wednesday, September 18, 1793, during the first...


Prohibited Items at the U.S. Capitol Building
In order to ensure the safety of visitors and staff and to preserve the...


Dr. William Thornton
 The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is the builder and steward of America’s...


Masons work on Olmsted Terrace Steps
AOC is undertaking a project to repair, clean and preserve the Olmsted Terrace...

Foundations & Perspectives

Foundations & Perspectives

Spring 2014 Cover Image

The Architect of the Capitol magazine, Foundations & Perspectives, highlights the talents of AOC employees that are working behind-the-scenes to ensure the Capitol Campus operates efficiently and effectively.


Letter from the Architect

Spring is a time for new beginnings and this season promises to bring many exciting projects for the AOC. In each new project we serve both history and our customers, who need modern, sustainable solutions to do the work of our democracy today and into the future. Often, we hide the modern technology that our customers need in plain sight, while preserving the historic value and fabric of the buildings under our care. I think you'll be surprised at what is hiding before your eyes in National Statuary Hall (page 6).

There's no better example of sustainability than our National Garden (page 10), which is a living museum, a classroom and an inspiration for gardeners across the country. During the summer, visitors of all ages can be found strolling the paths of the garden, enjoying its many varieties of roses. Traditionally, gardeners believed it impossible to cultivate roses sustainably, but the U.S. Botanic Garden gardeners developed innovative techniques to do just that, managing pests and maintaining this peaceful oasis in the midst of the U.S. Capitol Grounds.

As the flowers and trees begin to blossom anew, it's also a time of renewal for us, as the Dome Restoration Project (page 20) gets underway this spring. The U.S. Capitol Dome, an important symbol of American democracy, was constructed of cast iron more than 150 years ago. The Dome has not undergone a complete restoration since 1960 and, due to age and weather, is now plagued by more than 1,000 cracks and deficiencies. We recently began a multi-year project that will restore the Dome to its original, inspiring splendor.

And while Congress entrusts us with maintaining the buildings on Capitol Hill, we're also charged with caring for the statues on Capitol Grounds, including the Robert A. Taft Memorial and Carillon (page 16). The memorial was dedicated to the late senator in 1959, and we have been caring for it ever since. Today, maintaining the memorial is a joint effort as the Senate Office Buildings and Capitol Grounds jurisdictions work together to preserve the memorial and surrounding landscape.

As we usher in a new season, I appreciate your continued support as we work to serve Congress, the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. Let's continue to operate as one team to preserve the national treasures entrusted to our care that inspire the many visitors to Capitol Hill.

Stephen T. Ayers, FAIA, LEED AP
Architect of the Capitol

Foundations & Perspectives Archives:

Volume 12 . . .
Spring 2014

Volume 12, Spring 2014, Cover Volume 11, Spring 2013, Cover Volume 10, Winter 2013, Cover Volume 9, Summer 2012, Cover Volume 8, Spring 2012, Cover Volume 7, Fall 2011, Cover

Volume 6, Summer 2011, Cover Volume 5, Spring 2011, Cover Volume 4, Winter 2010, Cover Volume 3, Summer 2010, Cover Volume 2, Spring 2010, Cover Volume 1, Winter 2009, Cover

. . . Volume 1
Winter 2009