U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Washington, DC

Market: Office




2021 Craftsmanship Award, Special Construction, Washington Building Congress
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Designed by Cass Gilbert and constructed in the 1920s, the Chamber of Commerce is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The street-facing elevations feature a story-high, granite-clad water table with three stories of limestone cladding and recessed colonnades with Corinthian pilasters. SGH conducted a condition assessment of the building enclosure to help the Chamber plan for repairs.

Scope | Solutions

SGH assessed the condition of the mass-masonry walls, the masonry porte cochere connecting the east elevation to the historic Hay-Adams hotel, the original windows, and the building’s several levels of roofs. Our investigation included visual surveys from the ground, roofs, and an aerial lift; water testing to document leakage paths; observations at exploratory openings to document concealed conditions; and a three-dimensional laser survey to evaluate facade plumbness/planeness.

We concluded the exterior walls exhibited movement and damage from unanticipated loading and long-term exposure due to deficient building enclosure assemblies. We recommended and prioritized repairs, including immediate stabilization of loose masonry components and a long-term rehabilitation approach for the building’s facade and roofs.

To extend the useful life of the building, SGH designed a facade rehabilitation and roof replacement project. Highlights of our design include the following:

  • Repointing and repairing damaged masonry

  • Installing new metal flashings to protect the masonry components

  • Permanently stabilizing masonry parapets to mitigate displacement

  • Refurbishing existing windows and adding storm windows to improve energy performance and sound attenuation

  • Replacing built-up membrane roofs over the main building, upper penthouse, and porte cochere and integrating the new roofing with the wall assemblies

Project Contact(s)