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The AOC has identified areas throughout the Capitol that contain historic paint colors or decoration that need restoration. In many of these areas the plaster has cracked under the stress and weight of multiple paint layers, a result of decades of repainting wall and ceiling surfaces. These areas have been marked for paint analysis; a process that allows the AOC to record what finishes were used in the past before repairing the wall. This allows the area to be restored to its original appearance.
Work includes cleaning of the stone and pediment sculpture, replacement of the mortar and sealants at all of the stone joints, treatment of the carved stone and pediment sculpture, replacement of stone where elements are missing or cannot be repaired, and replacement of the bird deterrent systems. The project also includes preserving the metal lampposts, hanging lanterns and railings around the Capitol.
The structural concrete at the two horseshoe entrances of the John Adams Building garage has significant corrosion. For the past few years, interim measures have been put in place to extend its life. Unfortunately, some areas have deteriorated to the point where interim measures are no longer an option, and parking cannot be supported.
During the last 120 years, there has been little maintenance performed on the stone and conditions of the terrace have deteriorated. A materials condition survey found that the marble and granite is stained and damaged and requires maintenance and repairs. Repairs include deconstructing and rebuilding some of the walls, repointing, patching holes, cleaning the stone, and trimming and removing trees and bushes along the terrace walls.
Years of leaking water and melting snow mixed with road salts have caused significant corrosion to the Rayburn House Office Building garage's structural concrete. For the past 15 years, interim measures have been put in place to extend its life. Unfortunately, some areas have deteriorated to the point where interim measures are no longer an option, and parking cannot be supported.
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Resources for House Staff
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.
The Architect of the Capitol constructed scaffolding around the Statue of Freedom to prepare for the tri-annual inspection and preservation efforts of the statue. The conservation of the art included washing the statue, inspecting and documenting the condition of the surfaces, replacing caulking and epoxy fills, sharpening the lightning points and reapplying a protective coating.
Bartholdi Park, a two-acre historic park in the USBG jurisdiction was developed in 1932 and is located south of the USBG Conservatory. For the last 85 years, Bartholdi Park has served as a demonstration garden where visitors can learn the latest horticultural techniques translatable to their home gardens and landscapes.
In 2017 the Architect of the Capitol completed a long-term conservation effort to restore the murals of the Brumidi Corridors on the first floor of the U.S. Capitol's Senate wing.