2008 Preservation Awards

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Old Patent Office Building

Washington, DC

AWARD for the state-of-the-art renovation of this national historic landmark, one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in America, and its transformation into the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture with enhanced facilities to serve the visiting public.

This National Historic Landmark, constructed between 1836 and 1868, is considered one of the finest Greek Revival structures in the United States.  Prominent American architects Robert Mills and Thomas U. Walter were its supervising architects.  The enormous galleries on the top floor were designed for the display of some 200,000 patent models.  In 1958 the building was transferred to the Smithsonian Institution to house its National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum, which opened in 1968.

A badly needed renovation of the building was begun in 2000 and completed seven years later at a cost of $283 million in federal and private funding. All systems were replaced, marble and wood flooring installed to match originals, and 550 wood windows replicated with hand-blown glass panes. A state-of-the-art auditorium was added, and the central open courtyard enclosed with a glass canopy designed by Norman Foster & Partners of London.

The two museums, with expanded exhibition space and enhanced facilities, are now equipped to accommodate the building’s increased visitation.

Website:  National Park Service (listing)


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Camron-Stanford House

Oakland, CA

COMMENDATION for the stewardship and restoration over many years of this surviving 1876 Italianate house, which is appropriately furnished to its period of significance and open to the public as a house museum.

When constructed in 1876 this Italianate mansion was one of many along Lake Merritt but is now the sole survivor.  Over the years five prominent families lived in the house until its purchase in 1907 by the City of Oakland, when it became the Oakland City Museum.  After a new museum was constructed in 1967, the house was marked for demolition but was saved by the Camron-Stanford House Preservation Association.

During a 35-year period the Association at its expense has restored and opened the building as a house museum, which it leases from the City.  Removal of later additions, re-roofing, and complete restoration of the exterior and interior were accomplished by thousands of volunteers and support from private, city, state and federal sources.  Appropriate historic furnishings were procured, and interior rooms painted in documented colors.  The house has also been seismically retrofitted.

Website: Camron-Stanford House

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