“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.”
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: