Washington National Cathedral

Location: Washington, DC

Washington National Cathedral, officially known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, was built over a span of 83 years from 1907 to 1990. It is the sixth largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the second largest in the United States. The Cathedral is the official seat of both the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and the Diocese of Washington.

JMA Preservation and conservators climbed and crawled in, on, and under all spaces and elements of this amazing structure in order to see and photograph all materials and elements. From this extensive review, they were able to evaluate the current condition. When interior assemblies could not be viewed they were then further researched by reviewing original drawings and talking with the masons and other maintenance staff who have long tenure in the care of this building and its grounds. JMA Preservation also reviewed code issues pertaining to handicap accessibility and emergency egress.

The final report made prioritized recommendations for the immediate and longer term care of the buildings with budgetary estimates of probable cost. One of the critical findings of the investigation was the discovery that because the Cathedral had been built in many different phases, there were no comprehensive, accurate as-built plans or other drawings of the existing building. This made it more difficult to maintain such a large and complex structure because there was no clear road map to follow. One of JMA Preservation's highest priority recommendations was for the Cathedral to commission a set of documentation drawings to record the building and serve as a basis for its on-going maintenance.