Originally designed and built in 1895 by Alexander Graham Bell with Peabody and Stearns Architects, Boston, the Volta Bureau was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974 both for its architectural significance and the historic significance of its founder whose house and laboratory were across the street. The building, located in the Georgetown Historic District, has served as the home of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for the last 105 years.
The project consists of a complete renovation of- and a rooftop addition to- the Landmark building, including architectural changes to the interior layout, new HVAC and lighting systems, and the design of an office partitioning system. Renovations ensure compliance with building codes and ADA standards. Additionally, on the south facade terra cotta surrounds were added and steel casements were replaced with custom wood windows to more closely approximate the original Peabody and Stearns fenestration that had been removed in the comprehensive renovation carried out in 1940.
In addition to obtaining approval for the rooftop addition and driveway modifications from the Old Georgetown Board of the Commission of Fine Arts, we secured from the D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment two zoning variances for the project (alteration to a building devoted to a non-conforming use in R-3 Zone, and fourth story addition to a building in the R-3 Zone). Additionally, we received a construction code variance for a single exit building from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.