American Red Cross 17th Street Renovation

A National Historic Landmark
Clark and Shalom Baranes worked diligently to intelligently develop and carefully execute a series of procedures to successfully protect and preserve the building's exterior and interior finishes and historical elements.
Karen LaFave, Senior Director - Facility Engineering & Construction, American Red Cross
Location: 
Washington, D.C.
Client: 
American Red Cross
Architect: 
Shalom Baranes Associates
Additional collaborations with Shalom Baranes Associates:
Contract Value: 
$8,500,000
Size: 
60,000 Square Feet
Year Completed: 
2005

Originally constructed in 1915, the American Red Cross National Headquarters at 430 17th Street in Washington, D.C. is a national historic landmark. The restoration and modernization of the 60,000 square-foot building required exceptional craftsmanship in order to restore the facility to its original grandeur. Clark led the award-winning reconstruction effort, and developed a unique management plan to overcome potential delays from unforeseen conditions.

This plan not only ensured the on-time delivery of the project, but the quality of the work perfromed.

The National Headquarter's exterior walls are composed of white Imperial Danby marble and brick with an inner layer of terra cotta and plaster. All four façades were carefully cleaned of organic and metal stains, restored, and patched. The interior walls of the building are terra cotta covered with plaster, stone and wood paneling finishes. The plaster restoration was a difficult task. In the Central Committee Room, it required taking profile templates of the dentil and floral moldings for accurate replications. In the Board of Governors Ballroom, the entire load of the ornamental plaster ceiling was transferred piece by piece via the attic above.

Historic light fixtures and building hardware are featured prominently througout the facility. All of the fixtures and much of the door hardware were carefully removed, cleaned, refinished, and reinstalled. Missing fixtures were reproduced from records of the original fixtures obtained from the Cooper Hewitt Museum. 

A new stair was constructed, using an existing stair as a model, and a new elevator was installed in a widened shaft to bring the building into ADA compliance. To maintain historical accuracy, the ornate emblem from the original elevator was excised and installed on the new doors.

This project also required careful protection of three rare Tiffany windows, which are the largest secular suite of any Tiffany windows remaining in their original location. These priceless gems were covered in bullet-resistant glass to protect them during construction. The team also replaced 116 windows throughout the building, using a custom window that replicated the original historic profile details.

In addition, all mechanical, electrical, plumbing, security and life-safety systems were replaced or upgraded, and new water and sanitary sewer systems were installed. 

Due to the age of the building and the amount of materials being removed, Clark took a flexible approach. When encountering an unforeseen condition, the project team would propose a solution to the owner rather than requiring the architect to redesign elements. This team approach resulted in significant time savings and allowed the project to be delivered on schedule. 

The American Red Cross 17th Street Renovation was Clark's second project with the team of the American Red Cross and architect Shalom Baranes Associates. Clark also constructed the American Red Cross National Headquarters, which was completed in 2003.

Awards: 
ABC Metro Washington - Excellence in Construction Award, Historic Restoration
NAIOP Maryland/D.C. - Award of Excellence, Best Urban Renovation Project
WBC Craftsmanship Award - Historic Preservation