Dumbarton Oaks Museum and Library


MCA provided forensic investigations and design services for multiple buildings at Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections Gallery in Old Georgetown, Washington, DC. Utilizing 3D point cloud laser technologies and working with world-renowned, Australian lighting designer, Emrah Baki Ulas, the project involved forensic investigations and design for the Main House including:

  • Analysis and upgrades to multiple HVAC systems
  • Improvements to the exterior envelope
  • Restoration of interior finishes
  • Gallery lighting for the 1928 Music Room, Byzantine Gallery, and Byzantine Courtyard
  • Audio-visual enhancements to the Music Room and trustee’s Study Room
  • Analysis, and elimination of moisture infiltration
  • Restoration of exterior stone cladding on Philip Johnson’s iconic 1963 Pre-Columbian Wing.

Project Highlights

  • Replacement of gallery lighting systems providing latest LED devices and controls to illuminate the collections with minimal impact on light sensitive materials
  • Byzantine Courtyard skylight and daylight were replaced with high efficiency framing and UV limiting glass, as well as automated light shading system providing multiple levels of daylighting control from totally opaque to full sunlight.
  • Forensic assessment of air and moisture infiltration at the curved glass walls of the historic Pre-Columbian Wing, without altering the original appearance of the building.
  • HVAC modifications within the Music Room to reduce air noise during performances without altering the original appearance of the 1928 reconstruction.

Have a question about this project?

Contact Richard Barton, AIA at rbarton@mca.design

Project Details

Professional Expertise

Cultural + Civic | Historic + Adaptive Reuse | Higher Education

Professional Services

Architecture | Interior Design

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