The renovation required exceptional effort and cross-jurisdictional teamwork to transform the space into a state-of-the art hearing room while simultaneously restoring its original architectural intent. This effort, which furthers the Architect of the Capitol's (AOC) strategic goals of creating awe-inspiring facilities and providing extraordinary service, has resulted in major improvements to a key room in the Senate buildings. The project is also serving as a pilot for an extensive hearing room renovation program planned in the Senate buildings over the next 15 years.

The renovation project prioritized historic preservation and revitalized the Beaux Arts interior envisioned by Carrère and Hastings, the renowned architectural firm who designed the building in the early 20th century. The project team completed a comprehensive historic paint analysis and researched primary archival sources to restore the room to its period of significance, which was determined to be when the fourth wing was added to the Russell Building.

The initial stage of the hearing room renovation, which shows the previous color scheme and the new custom wood dais that has been expanded and rotated 90 degrees to accommodate a larger number of committee members.
Matt Flechner, woodcrafter leader with the Senate Woodcrafting Branch, installs a 14-inch monitor, microphone and touchscreen control panel for each senator into the dais, making sure the equipment doesn't impair the sight line of committee members during hearings.
Initial stage of the renovation showing previous color scheme and new custom dais; Matt Flechner, woodcrafter leader with the Senate Woodcrafting Branch, installs a monitor, microphone and touchscreen control panel for each senator into the dais.
Quincy Biggs, painting worker with the Senate Painting Branch, paints the anteroom’s new wall, which was added to conceal upgraded lighting controls and audiovisual equipment.
Scott Johnson, an electrician with the Senate Electrical Branch, installs new cabling in the in-floor raceway, the trough for essential electrical, IT and audiovisual infrastructure running below the hearing room floor.
Warren Campbell, a mason with the Senate Masonry Branch, sets marble tile in the renovated ADA-compliant restroom, with the tile selected to match the standard of the Russell Building restrooms.

Top Left: Quincy Biggs, painting worker with the Senate Painting Branch, paints the anteroom’s new wall, which was added to conceal upgraded lighting controls and audiovisual equipment. Right: Scott Johnson, an electrician with the Senate Electrical Branch, installs new cabling in the in-floor raceway, the trough for essential electrical, IT and audiovisual infrastructure running below the hearing room floor. Bottom Left: Warren Campbell, a mason with the Senate Masonry Branch, sets marble tile in the renovated ADA-compliant restroom, with the tile selected to match the standard of the Russell Building restrooms. 

The hearing room renovation also features several other important upgrades:

  • An expanded, custom-made wood rostrum and dais rotated 90 degrees to accommodate the larger number of committee members 
  • Advanced multimedia technology, including 14-inch monitors, touch-screen control panels and microphones integrated directly into the dais for each member, and camera equipment concealed by wooden bookcases when not in use
  • State-of-the-art lighting, with advanced LED technology designed to reduce glare, improve recorded image quality, require far less manipulation for hearings and other special events, and generate less heat 
  • Advanced HVAC systems, with rerouted ductwork for optimized temperature control and air flow 
  • Improved ADA-accessibility, bringing the hearing room into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and providing critical accommodations for senators, congressional staff and visitors with special needs
  • Custom furnishings, including a 14-foot witness table, a faux fireplace hearth and a wooden door with split-top rail to maintain the room’s historic appearance while incorporating needed infrastructure upgrades
  • Custom carpeting, drapery treatments and bronze handrails, with the carpet design inspired by the diamond pattern in the historic marble flooring underneath and ornate draperies paired with blackout roller shades to better control incoming light
  • Reduced energy use and substantial cost savings from key lighting and HVAC system upgrades
  • Exceptional craftsmanship, teamwork and collaboration throughout the project 
Image
The finished hearing room features a three-legged custom wooden witness table (center), which was specially designed without legs on one side to provide an extended span to accommodate several witnesses. The custom carpeting was also inspired by the diamond pattern in the room’s historic marble flooring.
Finished room featuring a three-legged custom wooden witness table (center), specially designed without legs on one side to accommodate several witnesses. Custom carpeting was inspired by the diamond pattern in the room’s historic marble flooring.

Comments

THANK YOU again for showing us the room renovations, a dedicated group of craftsman to complete this task.

Great restoration project...

Awesome! Beautiful...

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