Old City Hall/Old District of Columbia Courthouse
Renovation, Addition, and Adaptive Reuse
Washington, D.C.

As architectural historians on a project team charged with the renovation of the ca. 1820 Old City Hall/Old District of Columbia Courthouse, Robinson & Associates carried out a thorough evaluation of this National Historic Landmark to guide its adaptation and reuse by the District’s Superior Court System. The project’s final report included a floor-by-floor description of the Old Courthouse’s contributing and noncontributing elements, a narrative that placed the building in its historic context, an examination of the building’s construction history, and establishment of zones for restoration, rehabilitation, and redesign. Subsequently, Robinson & Associates participated in the evaluation of a significant new north entrance to the building and helped guide the project through review by the District of Columbia State Historic Preservation Officer, the National Capital Planning Commission, and the Commission of Fine Arts.

GSA Modern-Era Buildings Study

In an unprecedented initiative to create an objective assessment of its modern-era buildings, the U.S. General Services Administration commissioned Robinson & Associates to develop an intensive-level historic context of the agency’s large portfolio of over 600 buildings from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Among the building types studied were office buildings, courthouses, post offices, museums, and border stations, located in cities and towns of all sizes. Marcel Breuer’s sweeping Washington, D.C., headquarters building for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (1963-68), Mies van der Rohe’s sleek Chicago Federal Center (1964), and Victor Lundy’s bold U.S. Tax Court (1969-76) in Washington were among the buildings evaluated. The study, published under the title, Growth, Efficiency, and Modernism, will serve as a framework within which to assess these holdings and make informed decisions as to their future treatment, as many are in need of renovation in order to remain viable.

U.S. Embassy Chancery
Ljubljana, Slovenia

For the new U.S. Embassy Chancery in Slovenia, the Office of Foreign Buildings Operations of the Department of State selected a one-hundred-year-old neo-Gothic villa in the capital city of Ljubljana. Originally designed in 1896 as an apartment building, the structure required extensive strengthening for seismic purposes, a second means of egress and elevator for life safety and code purposes, a new security fence and other protective measures, and handicapped access to meet ADA provisions. Additional considerations for renovation included the building’s place within a garden city historic district declared by the city of Ljubljana, and its historic context as part of the city’s “Ringstrasse.” As part of a multidisciplinary project team, Robinson & Associates assumed principal responsibility for the documentation of significant historical features of the villa, consulting with the city’s Institute for the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage, providing input for the team’s contextual design schemes, and guiding compliance with the city’s Monumental Protection Guidelines for the Renovation of the Villa Tomsiceva for the Requirements of the U.S. Embassy.