Grounds Bronze Hardscapes

U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC

The United States Capitol Grounds is located on a 58-acre park that was landscaped by Frederick Law Olmsted during the period of 1874-1892. Olmsted is best known for designing a comprehensive landscape scheme for the Capitol Grounds but he is also credited for coining the term “hardscape.” These architectural elements or “hardscapes” include the low walls bordering the walks, lamps, and fountains that you see throughout the grounds.

We were contacted by the Architect of the Capitol to perform conservation maintenance on three bronze plaques, three geodetic markers, six Olmsted designed pier-mounted light fixtures, two Olmsted designed decorative fountains, and one bronze drinking fountain located on the United States Capitol Grounds.

Our conservators had the opportunity to access and treat the Olmsted designed bronze pier-mounted lamps and two bronze fountains located on the East plaza. The previous coatings were removed through a process of using chemical solvent-based strippers and mechanically with bronze detail brushes and nylon abrasive pads. The surfaces were prepped for patination, patinated a medium statuary brown color through the use of cold patina chemicals, and coated with a high-performance grade outdoor lacquer.