Photos by Nick Donner
Dahlgren Chapel - Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Photos by Nick Donner
Dahlgren Chapel - Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

This multiphased project included a complete interior renovation and the structural restoration of the historic 7,500-sq-ft chapel building, originally constructed in 1893 on the campus of Georgetown University.

During the first phase, the structural underpinning of the foundation included 120 micro piles and a 3-ft by 2-ft grade beam to support the structure. Underpinning work was performed on a tight project site located at the center of the campus and surrounded by existing buildings and active roadways.

Crews scoured and cleaned the foundation walls, parged the existing foundation walls and installed waterproofing, drainage board and drain tile on the repaired and finished foundation surface. New brick-paved walkways and granite stairs were installed as well.

For the second phase, crews restored 16 stained glass windows ranging in size from 3 ft by 3 ft to 15 ft by 25 ft. The painted windows were made by Mayer of Munich, Germany, in the early 20th century. In order to maintain the religious appearance of the chapel, replica scrims of each window were made prior to their removal.

Interior renovation during phase three involved the demolition and abatement of structure that had deteriorated due to water damage and termites. Following demolition and abatement, crews installed new structural steel framing with concrete on metal decking. New interior finishes included stone flooring from Portugal and new liturgical millwork, some of which existed but was modified and refinished.

Phase three also included the installation of a new $1-million pipe organ furnished by the owner. The installation was closely coordinated by Manhattan's construction team.

Dahlgren Chapel had to remain fully operational to accommodate wedding parties throughout the renovation.

To help create a more aesthetically pleasing appearance during construction, an ivy scrim was applied to the construction fence that surrounded the entire chapel. Since much of the exterior work was below grade at the foundation level, this allowed for exterior photography to occur without the appearance of a construction site.

Best Renovation/Restoration Project - Dahlgren Chapel, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Key Players

Owner Georgetown University

Lead Design Firm Geier Brown Renfrow Architects

General Contractor Manhattan Construction Co.