House Of The Temple Earthquake Damage Assessment

Washington, DC

The rare earthquake that roiled Washington, DC on August 23, 2011 caused damage to the historic limestone temple on 16th Street. This icon of DC architecture is the work of John Russell Pope, designer of the Jefferson Memorial.

In a strange twist of fate, construction of the House of the Temple had commenced nearly 100 years to the day of the quake. Stained glass panes broke when the repoussé copperwork came loose on the façade. Cracks formed in the Nero Oro marble panels and tooled leather transom facings tore loose at the entrance of the Great Hall.

Our conservators assessed the damage immediately after the event and developed treatment plans. Custom-colored stained glass panes were fired to match the delicately varied glass. These were inserted within the bronze window wall and the copperwork was carefully remounted over it. The desiccated leather panels were carefully freed, re-backed, and remounted to the frames. Torn fringe was re-attached and losses filled with reversible bulked adhesives. The bronze moldings and escutcheon were remounted with new bronze hardware. Cracks in the marble were filled with custom colored synthetic gelled adhesive and polished. Other work included careful cleaning of limestone panels near the damage site. Work was completed expediently and to the satisfaction of the client.