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Architect of the Capitol
Hoffman Architects, Inc.
Virtual Design & Construction
The United States Capitol Building Dome serves as a symbol of freedom and democracy to people across the globe. Visited by more than 2 million people each year, the Capitol Building has been the home to the US Congress over the past 230 years. The Dome was constructed more than 150 years ago with nearly 10 million pounds of cast iron. Last restored in 1960, the constant exposure to the elements have begun to cause both structural and cosmetic degradation. This project honored our forefathers by using traditional trade crafts while incorporating modern technology to preserve America’s symbol of democracy and freedom. While heroic efforts were made to carefully preserve historic fabric and to use historic methods of construction and fabrication, at times and in special locations, modern technology was required to be intertwined with the historic. For example, the historic replication of Cupola Glass used similar techniques from the 1860s but with modern equipment and furnaces.
During the entire duration of its restoration, the building remained occupied to the United States’ Congress, staffers, Capitol Police, and the public. To avoid disruption, noise-producing activities were only performed when Congress was not in session and due to the high visibility and notoriety of the building, it also required a robust effort to coordinate work around State of the Union events, Presidential visits, and the Papal visit in 2015.