Madison Building Atrium Fountain

Library of Congress, Washington, DC

The main atrium fountain at the James Madison Memorial Library of the Library of Congress, Washington, DC, consists of three abstract bronze arched forms within a pool: short, medium, and tall. They stand approximately 3, 7, and 12’ tall, respectively. Each arc is four-sided; two parallel faces have a pebbled hammered finish, while the other two sides are smooth and un-textured. Water was pumped through up through the arcs and spilled out of the top of each, running down the pebbled faces back into the pool. The fountain was installed circa 1975 but was drained and taken out of service in the late 1980s.

We studied the conditions and historical documentation to make preliminary recommendations for the restoration and maintenance of the bronze fountain. The study encompassed an evaluation of the current condition of the sculptures, investigation into the original finishes or coatings, investigation into the fountain’s performance history and display.

Recommendations were developed for how to conserve these sculptures to meet the overall project goals. This included a discussion and evaluation of the display. The report will be integrated into the restoration plans for the fountain in the next phase.