Neptune Fountain

Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress, Washington, DC

The Neptune Fountain consists of heroic scaled bronze figures of the sea god surrounded by nereids, nymphs and a menagerie of real and mythical sea creatures, set on rough granite boulders within a pool at the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress.

As part of a team under the direction of Wisnewski Blair Architects, we studied the conditions and made preliminary recommendations for the protection and treatment of the bronzes during planned waterproofing and fountain improvement work. The study encompassed a survey of existing conditions, review of documents relevant to the fountain’s historic and renovated design and operation, and coordination with structural and waterproofing consultants to determine the best means of establishing a waterproof re-circulating fountain that would minimize water loss, maintain the appropriate historic appearance of the display, and protect the bronze and stone components.

Recommendations were studied for modifications to all of the individual features identified as necessary to ensure that work can occur without causing damage to the bronzes while meeting all the needs of the complete assembly. This included appropriate water treatment equipment, materials, location of the sculptural components within the pool, water display and depth, and maintenance programming. The report will be integrated into the restoration plans for the fountain in the following phase.