Capitol dome to be covered in scaffolding

October 22, 2013

A rendering of the scaffolding that will surround the dome. (Architect of the Capitol)

For the next two years, the Capitol dome will be encased by scaffolding, hiding another iconic part of Washington’s skyline from view.

The scaffolding around the dome will be there as part of a restoration project overseen by the Architect of the Capitol. This restoration will begin next month and last for about two years.

“The dome is 150 years old, and it’s an important, iconic image of democracy across the world,” Justin Kieffer, a spokesman for the architect, said Tuesday. “This is to preserve it so we can have it for another 150 years.”

The dome, which hasn’t had a full rehabilitation since 1960, has accrued more than 1,000 cracks and other problems over the years, according to the architect’s office.

Visitors and workers will still be able to access the Capitol during the work, Kieffer said. Most of the construction will be done at night.

The obscured dome will be the second major landmark cloaked in scaffolding this year. Workers are still repairing the Washington Monument, which was damaged in the 2011 earthquake, and scaffolding was needed around that entire structure before the most important work could begin.

At night, the scaffolding around the Washington Monument transforms into something else. An array of lamps dotting this exoskeleton are illuminated, providing a tower of light at the heart of the Mall:

(Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post)
(Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)
Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He anchors Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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