Photo by Albert Vecerka
William H. Gross Stamp Gallery, Washington, D.C.

A former restaurant and brewery inside the National Post Office Museum was fit out to house the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery, home to the world's largest stamp collection. The 6,000-sq-ft gallery required substantial mechanical and electrical additions to maintain precise temperature and humidity levels.

The space was demolished back to bare bones. The team installed steel to construct curved walls and added a mezzanine, a stone-clad stair and an elevator shaft. Crews also installed high-end finishes, including window glass infused with images of historic and famous stamps. Original finishes on plaster were restored, and woodwork restoration was completed on some wood species that now are extinct.

Located adjacent to Union Station and close to Capitol Hill, the project required just-in-time deliveries for all materials and required that fixtures be coordinated around traffic because of limited laydown and receivable space. The project team also was responsible for managing the logistics of continuing pedestrian traffic into the neighboring train station.

The project required significant planning to work around existing stakeholders, including the Postal Museum, an operating U.S. post office, Smithsonian Collections storage and occupied government offices.

Due to daytime work schedules of Smithsonian personnel, noise constraints and full-time facility security, the project required varying work shifts. The team had to navigate work through many sensitive areas—including artifact vaults, public museum display areas, offices and research spaces.

During the day, crews could only work within the new gallery space. When the building vacated in the evening, off-hour crews could work in ceilings, crawl spaces and around cubicles.

Interior Design/Tenant Improvement: Award of Merit - William H. Gross Stamp Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Key Players

OWNER The Smithsonian Institution

Lead Design Firm Cho-Benn Holback and Associates

General Contractor Clark Construction Group

Structural Engineer Spiegel Zamecnik & Shah

MEP Engineer Mueller Associates

Security Consultant SAKO & Associates

Exhibit Designer Gallagher and Associates

Electrical Ennis

Mechanical PowerMax

Concrete CEI Concrete